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18. Positive Potato Plot Planter Performance

The North Central Research Station has a number of potato experiments this year, so we were especially happy to have a new 2-row plot planter.  It came to us all the way from Italy, via Iowa.  Quite the route to Michigan for sure. 

It is from the Checchi and Magli company, and requires loading of the planter cells by hand, as seen in the picture of interns Carolina and Natalie hard at work.  As such, maximum planter speed is only 1 mph or the cell tray spins too fast.  We thought of implementing hand speed training, but decided that the current set-up was adequate.  But that’s good for plots. 

Since the plot work involved fertilizers and crop protection, the application equipment was custom built by our equipment technician Jeff.  It enables in-furrow flat fan application on the seed pieces as well as additional fertilizer band applications three inches off to both sides of the of the seed.  We apply the different treatments with the different pressurized bottles and canisters.  It all worked great.  We planted both Russet Burbank and chipping potatoes.  Planting is only step 1, and lots more steps to follow.