© (Photo: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada)
Steve Watts uses PEI’s smallest potato harvester on test plots.
Objective to increase yield and reduce input costs
Agronomy consultant Steve Watts is trying to improve the potato business on Prince Edward Island one row at a time. His creation of the province’s smallest potato harvester has added new speed to his mission.
Watts is now harvesting single-row, 10-yard-long test plots with the miniature harvester he designed himself and had built by Bernard’s Welding of Bedeque.
The plots are used to evaluate custom mixes of fertilizer, crop protection products, potato varieties and seeding techniques to see if they can increase yields.
Watts, the founder of Genesis Crop Systems, developed the machinery with funding help from the Agriculture Research and Innovation Program under the Canada-PEI Growing Forward 2 agreement.
Watts says he was looking for a way to free up time to expand his business when he came up with the idea of a single row harvester.
`What it has allowed me to do is take on more work than if I had to dig everything by hand,” he explains.
The agronomy consultant currently does custom research for 10 potato growers who are some of the biggest names in the business. His objective is to increase the potato yield per acre and reduce input costs.