Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sorting Potatoes Until Done (anyone?)

So we have had a lot of rain lately dating back to last week.  We pretty much sailed through soybean harvest, but haven't been able to get started yet on corn. The last of the production soybeans were harvested yesterday for the only field day this week.  It rained nearly all day today.  Another field activity yesterday was the first digging of potato plots. It is an interesting process.   This is one of those times where a picture would have been better than my words, but alas, no pictures were taken by the crew.  Can you believe it?  That's like not breathing to me, but people are different.  (Thank goodness).  They have lots more to do, and that won't happen again.  But what I want to show today is the new potato sorting table that was used for the first time today.  It was an "experienced" table and needed some work, and is being tried out today.  Below we see Brian and Tim B dumping a potato plot sample on to the "staging area".  Here any misshapen or rotten potato culls are hand sorted out. 
Then the switch is flipped and the belt starts carrying the potatoes up to be sorted.  Note the improvements that were made and held in place with duct tape.  (The handyman's secret weapon, right Red?)   These are Snowden chipping potatoes.  Michigan is a large chipping potato growing state.  They need to be sized as that affects payment to the grower, and we want to see if fertilizer affects size.
They roll across a series of bars and the small ones fall out first followed by bigger and then biggest.  Each size basket will be weighed.  This is great at how quick the operation is.  It used to be done by hand one potato at a time and it would take weeks.  Or so I was told.
And any new equipment brings watchers out of the woodwork.  Me included.
During a break in the rain I stepped out to take this pic of the wheat plots on Farm 3.  It seems to be off to a good start.
More rain is forecast for tomorrow.  So the only fun thing to do will be to go watch the potatos roll some more.