Potato Review

18 POTATO REVIEW MAY/JUNE 2020 TECHNOLOGY Paul, adding: “As a potato grower, I am not interested in the gross yield, I am interested in the saleable yield. I cannot do that in my brain – I need something to do that for me, and that is the principal behind what we have decided to do.” Benchmarking and milestones Potato crop performance is benchmarked using variety speci c milestones from planting onwards, allowing forecasts of likely outcomes throughout the season. ese insights support informed crop management decisions required to optimise saleable yields. Crop4Sight aims to make users become the most e cient and pro table potato growers in their sector. “Optimising inputs and maximising the saleable crop output is at the heart of what the system does,” Paul said. Analysis of historic data shows there is potential to increase saleable yields by up to 10% in many crops. e company estimates that on 60 hectares of potato production, this could deliver additional returns in excess of £21,000. Robert, who developed Crop4Sight, said: “Research has de ned the fundamentals of potato crop physiology. With relevant variety-speci c information, potato crops are predictable. is knowledge can be used by growers to improve crop performance, e ciency and overall yields.” e key to using these agronomic principles in commercial production is integration of crop data across the season into a single time series. is creates tailored crop- speci c benchmarks that put crop growth into context. Currently the majority of data collected by growers are not combined in this ROBERT ALLEN Dr Robert Allen N.Sch. is Technical Director of Crop4Sight. He has responsibility for product delivery and technical strategy. Robert said he believes in exploiting principles of crop physiology and agronomic data to support and improve commercial crop production. Prior to Crop4Sight, Robert was Research Manager at Greenvale AP which covered the eld trials program of new variety development and commercial product testing. PAUL COLEMAN Paul Coleman is Managing Director of Crop4Sight. He has 36 years’ experience as a potato agronomist and spent the past 16 years as Technical Director of Greenvale AP, responsible for variety breeding, eld agronomy research through to the technical demands of a fresh potato operations supplying the major retailers. Paul was also responsible for the development of the Restrain ethylene business and remains a non-exec director. Paul’s is passionate about providing potato insight and forecasting to help all agronomists and professional potato growers be more e cient. way, so much of what could be learnt is lost. Crop4Sight is o ered as an annual subscription based on the number of elds. Users collect data on planting, emergence, canopy growth and sample yield digs. e data can be using the website or the Crop4Sight app, which can be downloaded from app store or Google Play. For each observation, a target milestone is created. For example, date of emergence de nes an expected canopy growth curve, target yield development and nal yield potential for the crop. All yield samples are sized in 5 mm size fractions providing users a full break down on the size pro le. Crop4Sight then predicts the yield required to optimise the commercial size fractions for the tuber population, or the yield within commercial size fractions for a target nal yield. Likely crop outcomes When combined, the observed crop data and reference data gives users an objective picture of how the crop is growing and what the likely crop outcomes will be. is provides practical indications on how to maximise the value of their crop. e system was beta tested by 80 growers last season and launched last November. e company is pleased with feedback from early users, who include Produce Solutions agronomist Fiona Law-Eadie. Fiona, who was involved in the trial, said: “Having live crop data compared to bespoke benchmarks allowed me to have objective discussions with my growers about their crops. Using the Crop4Sight tools we were able to revise crop targets and management strategies in-season based on reliable evidence.” “For every piece of data recorded, there should be some insight or forecast.” Paul Coleman, Agronomist and MD

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mzg1Mw==