So much for laborious and slow harvesting methods. Sweet potato farmers in the country can now look forward to a more productive enterprise with the development of a tractor drawn harvester.
Alan Loreto and Manolo Loreto Jr. Researchers of the Philippine Rootcrop Research Training Center (PRCRTC) in Leyte State University (LSU) came up with this harvester featuring a single-row vine cutter and digger after a uear of research in their Bureau of Agricultural Research funded project.
Initial on-station trials revealed that at 1,300 rp the vine cutter could effectively eliminate unwanted vines, leaving only the stalk close to the sweet potato roots to facilitate easier digging. The researchers computed the vine cutter capacity at 1.33 hectares per day at a speed of 2 km per hour.
Morever, the single-row sweet potato digger, another feature of this tractor-drawn harvester, could harvest 1.08 hectares per day at 2 km per hour. The researchers likewise noted that this digger could harvest sweet potato roots with minimal damage on them.
Researchers estimated that this harvester could effectively reduce harvesting cost, which is about 13-25 percent of the total production cost.
This technology is for further research and trials until its expected date of completion in March 2003. Once computed , this technology will benefit emerging sweet potato commercial farms, mostly in Central Luzon, Pangasinan and Eastern Visayas. Growers in Cagayan and Bukidnon could also benefit from this technology with the foreseen demand increase once a factory that manufactures biodegrable plastics using sweet potato starch is established. Cotabato and Davao del Norte farmers supplying an agua feeds processing plant in Marvel Cotabato are also potential end users of this technology.
Source: : BAR TODAY January – March 2002 Volume 3 no 1, Laarni C. Anenias
“Development of a tractor-drawn sweet potato harvester’ by Alan B. Loreto and Manolo B. Loreto, Jr., PRCRTC , LSU Baybay Leyte