Announcement: potato crusher in the ROPA Keiler 2 potato harvester
The ROPA potato crusher is the new sustainable, herbicide-free and resource-saving process for preventing potato residues from sprouting in the successor crop. The potato crusher crushes and pulverises the tubers sorted out from the discharge chutes and trash conveyor. This promotes rotting and prevents germination of potatoes in the following year. ROPA receives a silver medal for innovation at Agritechnica in Hanover. Agritechnica, from 10 to 16 November in Hanover, is the world's leading trade fair for agriculture and agricultural technology.
Preventing regrowth of potatoes
Unwanted regrowth of potatoes in successor crops has become a major problem in many growing regions. Regrowth of potato residues undermines the successor crop and involves a wide range
- it is an uncontrolled source of diseases and pests such as rhizoctonia, viruses, phytophthora, nematodes, wireworm
- Direct competition for light, water and nutrients, particularly for crops with a slow juvenile development
- More difficulty harvesting the successor crop
- Reduction of marketing capability (potato as ancillary plant, e.g. in vegetables)
- Increased danger of mixing varieties in all areas of processing
A significant reason for the increased occurrence of potatoes regrowing is the increasingly milder winters. This situation is exacerbated by the current climate change, even in regions that were formerly certain of freezing conditions. For tubers to be damaged by freezing they must be subjected to a maximum temperature -2 °C over a period of 25 h (generally 50 hours of freezing: 25 h*-2 °C or 17 h*-3 °C).
Source: Union der deutschen Kartoffelwirtschaft e.V. [Union of the German Potato Industry], flyer "Prevent regrowth"
Mechanical shredding to prevent regrowth of potatoes
Small potatoes are mostly sorted out by the trash conveyor. The sorters also throw rotten, green or misshapen tubers into the rubbish chutes or the trash conveyor. The rejected tubers are all transported to the potato crusher.
The potato crusher crushes and shreds the tubers sorted out from the discharge chutes and trash conveyor. Crushed potatoes have a significantly smaller volume with a much greater surface area, which greatly promotes the decomposition process and prevents germination in the following year.
Functioning of the potato crusher
The potato crusher consists of two pneumatic tyres rotating at different speeds
1 Hardox shredding knife on one crusher wheel
- Small pieces are shredded from large potatoes, until they are caught by the crusher wheels, crushed and pressed through the gap
- Large tubers are shredded to small pieces, caught and also crushed
2 Hydraulic drive for rubber wheels
- The different rotary speeds of the wheels reinforce the shredding effect by grinding during crushing
- The rotary speeds can be adjusted by a volume regulator
3 Mechanical stone and foreign object guard pre-tensioned by spiral springs - for uninterrupted harvesting
Functioning and advantages of the ROPA potato crusher
The rubber tyres rotating in opposite directions shred and grind rejected potatoes
1. Volume regulator for adjusting the speed
2. Very quiet operation
- Crusher wheels not in direct contact
- The distance between the crusher rollers can be adjusted by a spindle
Rubber tyres as crusher rollers
- Low wear and tear
- Low force required
- Quiet operation with low vibration, even with high proportion of stones in the soil
- Air pressure in wheels can be adjusted
Advantages of the potato crusher
- Eliminates or greatly reduces the requirement for herbicides for prevention of germination of potato residues
- Improved field hygiene by interruption of infection chains
- Does not interfere with local crop succession
- Mechanical process also suitable for organic farming
- System for prevention of mixing varieties
- Yield of succession crop not reduced by competition for light, water and nutrients by residues
- Succession crop not reduced by side effects of the use of herbicides
- Time saved by reduced requirements for control of unwanted growth
- Reduces requirements for additional travel over the field for additional control work
- Can be used in all potato-growing regions
- Does not affect the performance of the harvester
- Does not affect or endanger sorters
- Reliable rugged system with low wear and low operating costs
The ROPA potato crusher prevents growth of potato residues, thereby reducing requirements for chemical and mechanical weed control.
The ROPA potato crusher has been thoroughly tested in the field and will be presented to the public for the first time at Agritechnica. This innovation will be available as an option for the ROPA Keiler from spring 2020.