A potato modelling system, which forecasts yield and tuber size, has won the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) Practice with Science Award.
Developed by NIAB CUF, the tool can supply valuable data to the entire potato supply chain, to aid both in-field and processing practices as well as reporting. Sponsored by AB Agri, the award prize money totals £10,000 which, according to the project’s leader David Firman, will be used to further enhance data automation and simulation modelling.
Commenting on NIAB’s win, John Giles, an Oxford Farming Conference Director, said: “The judges were impressed by this technically pioneering project and by its established uptake by some of the major players in the potato chain.”
At an agronomic level, the system’s modelling allows growers to calculate seed rates and a crop’s irrigation needs; whilst for businesses closer to the retailer, the data can be used to determine total yields as well as the impact of delayed harvests on tuber size. “The marketing data, in particular, is hugely valuable for communicating expected harvest quantities, tuber size and delivery dates through to end customers. The value of the service for the whole potato supply chain is really what secured this as the winning entry.”
The Practice with Science Award was set up in 2010 to recognise applied scientific work that has resulted in valuable benefits to the agricultural industry, particularly in relation to on-farm practices.