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Potato Harvesting (Mechanical Aids)

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what research is now being carried on for the purpose of producing an efficient mechanical potato harvester.

In addition to research and experimental work being carried out by commercial firms, research is being undertaken by the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering and its substation in Scotland to find efficient methods of digging potatoes out of the ground and of separating potatoes from extraneous matter.

Is the Minister aware of the dissatisfaction expressed recently by farmers in Scotland about the lack of an efficient potato harvester, and also of the suggestion that the big potato merchants should be levied in order to get money for this research?

This is a very complicated question of the separation of earth and stones from the potatoes. One machine has been produced, but it was found to be faulty in one respect, and the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering has devised a different principle. At this moment, consideration is being given to putting it into production.