Root Crops

Root crops like potatoes, cassava, and sweet potatoes, wliich form their fruits under the soil, are usually grown in small acreages; so the high cost of specialised harvesting equipment is not justified by the amount of labor saved or the increase in output. However, a number of universal root-harvesting machines have been developed which can be used for a number of similar crops with only minor modifications to some of the parts. This way, the capital cost of the harvesting machine can be distributed over a number of crops, a particular advantage for the diversified organic farm.

The simplest and oldest implement for harvesting potatoes, still in use for small-scale work, is ilie potato-raising plow, A mollified mold board digger raises the potatoes from the ground onto prongs which sift the tubers from the soil.

The elevator-digger for potatoes carries a metal elevator chain composed of parallel links, which run 011 agitator sprockets behind the lifting share. The soil is shaken through the links of the chain web, and the potatoes are delivered partially clean at the rear of the machine in a narrow row ready to be gathered by hand. Taking the process one step further, some harvesters have another set of chains working either behind or at right angles to the first one to deliver the potatoes to an accompanying cart.

The most difficult operation in potato harvesting is the separation of stones and clods wliich are about the same size as the potatoes. It is necessary to follow harvesting with a step for separating the potatoes from the debris by hand. At this time, the potatoes are usually graded for size and quality.

This horse-drawn digger has a ¡pound-driven conveyor to lift potatoes onto the shaking sifters behind the operator's seat. The Implement Age, 1894

This horse-drawn digger has a ¡pound-driven conveyor to lift potatoes onto the shaking sifters behind the operator's seat. The Implement Age, 1894

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25 of Grandpas Top Tips

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