Scientists of the Federal Scientific Agroengineering Center (FNAC) VIM have created a line of agricultural machinery and equipment for farms specializing in growing seed potatoes.
Among the new products is a module for the accelerated reproduction of mini-potato tubers. The machine consists of a lighting panel, an irrigation system with a reservoir for a nutrient solution, a set of sensors for monitoring the growing regime, as well as an electronic control panel with the ability to select radiation spectra for different phases of plant vegetation. Laboratory studies show that with the help of the module, the yield of mini-tubers per plant increases by 4–6 times, which reduces the existing five-year schemes for the production of potato elite to four- and even three-year ones.
The second development is a device for assessing the suitability of potato tubers for mechanized harvesting. The unit evaluates the force impact of the working bodies of the harvesting machine on the tubers, and also rejects hybrids unsuitable for mechanized harvesting. In addition, the technology allows laboratory to establish the optimal timing of the start of harvesting.
As for the sorting of potatoes, a line with an automatic control system has been created for this purpose. It determines infections, micro- and macro-damages of tubers, and also divides potatoes into fractions. According to the authors, the development reduces the labor intensity of work up to 70% and increases the sorting accuracy up to 95%.
The range also includes an automatic planter. With its help, it is possible to evenly plant tubers along the width and depth of the opened furrow. This practice ensures a smoother and maximum emergence of potato seedlings, a uniform fractional composition of tubers, saves land resources and increases the profitability of products. And competently planting tubers is obtained due to the configuration of the shape of the surface of the spoon of the planting device and its location on the traction element, made in the form of a long-link roller chain.
Small-scale production of the developed machines and equipment is planned for the pilot production of the FNAC VIM.
The study was supported by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science within the framework of the subprogram "Development of selection and seed production of potatoes in the Russian Federation" of the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the Development of Agriculture for 2017–2025. Its results are published in one of the international publications.