Published online: Oct 05, 2012 Potato Harvesting, Potato Equipment
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It used to be hand picking and barrels were the only way to do it, but today you're lucky if you can find someone who still does it the old fashioned way.

Today growers have turned to more modern technology to harvest their potato crop.

Self-run harvesters require just a driver to operate them, as opposed to the older machines that need four workers on them at a time to remove rocks and weeds from the potatoes making their way to the truck.

On site farm manager for County Super Spuds, Darrell McCrum, is able to harvest his 7,500 acres of fields with the self run harvester in a third of the time it would have taken him before.
"The traditional machines would typically harvest 25 to 30 acres a day. We can do upwards of 100 acres a day with this machine with less labor," says McCrum.

The way these self-run harvesters work, is that they use a vacuum system to suck the potatoes up while they are on conveyer belts to separate them from the weeds and rock, that are then blown out the side and back out onto the ground. These air harvesters are also able to pick more rows of potatoes up at a time. Older mechanical harvesters typically harvest about four rows, where as these new modern designs are able to harvest 16 rows at a time.