A ‘golden plot’ is expected to be one of the stars of the final open day for the strategic potato farm trials, hosted by Bruce Farms, at Meigle.

The final year trial plots, which focused on cultivation depths, nutrition and seed spacing, will be on show at the event held at Strathisla Farms on July 9, for the industry to see.

As the project is now in its final year, the team created the ‘golden plot’ to pull together all the most effective treatments, which should have the highest yield, with the lowest input costs, said the organisers, AHDB Potatoes.

Potato farm manager for Bruce Farms, Kerr Howatson, said: “When we got involved in this project in 2016 we wanted to trial ways to reduce costs and improve yields and then to share those golden nuggets with the wider industry. I believe we have achieved that and our ‘golden plot’ brings all those things together in what should be our best performing trial.”

At the event there will also be expert speakers covering irrigation planning, new blight strains and crop markets, while in the field, as while as checking out the golden plot, attendees will hear more about irrigation and details of the precision monitoring work which has been led by Soil Essentials this season.

Claire Hodge, AHDB’s senior knowledge exchange manager, said: “One of the big areas of focus in terms of precision has been measuring soil moisture for irrigation planning. Bruce farms currently have two systems, one which takes weekly readings and another which continuously updates the levels. However, Soil essentials have also been trialling a system which can measure the moisture via a satellite, which could be a cheaper and simpler system for growers to use, if it proves effective.”

Mr Howatson added: “The industry needs to feel confident that the data is accurate, and that it can then be used to improve your management on farms. For some tools, like those measuring soil moisture, that is the case, but in other areas, variable rate planting for instance, I would argue that much of the industry remains to be convinced that it is worthwhile.”