Potato harvester performance on tuber damage at the eastern of Saudi Arabia
Keywords:Hermes potatoes, mechanical harvesting, tuber damage, lifted tubers, potato damage index
In this study, a potato harvesting machine performance by studying the effect of the potato harvester operating variables on tuber damage was investigated. All field experiments were conducted at the premises of the National Agricultural Development Company (NADEC) located east of the city of Riyadh, in sandy loam soil by using long oval tubers in shape specifications (Hermes), along with one type of potato harvester (i.e., two-row potato harvester with two riddle chains). Therefore, three operating variables pertaining to the potato harvester were utilized: potato harvester forward speed (chain speed) at 1.5 km/h (with the primary chain speed of 2.8 and the secondary chain speed of 1.8 km/h), 1.7 km/h (primary and secondary chain speed of 3.4 and 2.2 km/h), and 2 km/h (with 4 and 2.5 km/h as primary and secondary riddle chain speed); digging depth of 12, 17, and 22 cm; and the primary riddle chain oscillation amplitude of 17 and 25 mm. The optimum operating variables pertaining to the potato harvester, which achieved the highest lifted tuber percentage (97.02%), the lowest damaged tuber percentage (0.04%), and the lowest damaged potato index (0.04), was obtained by utilizing the forward speed (chain speed) of 2 km/h (primary riddle chain speed of 4 and the secondary riddle chain speed of 2.5 km/h), the best digging depth of 22, and 25 mm as the optimum primary riddle chain amplitude.