Test digs to assess tuber size are taken for granted as a tried-and-tested part of the crop season. However, technology is about to give growers an option to streamline the process thanks to the launch of a new PotatoSize™ app.

PotatoSize™, the result of a joint project between James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited and Agrovista, aims to replace laborious riddling and counting to estimate tuber sizes with automated analysis of an image of tubers obtained from the test dig.

“This type of analysis is a vital component to allow growers to manage burn down/haulm destruction strategies to ensure market requirements are achieved,” says Lewis McKerrow, Agrovista’s head of precision technology.

The mobile app allows quick and easy assessment of crop statistics, including crop weight in 5mm size bands (t/unit), current estimated crop weight per area (e.g. t/ha) and an easy-to-read bar graph of size bands.

“This level of detail provides growers with the information they need to achieve accurate, consistent across crops and sites,” he adds.

“Growers can now forget about using cumbersome riddles and size grids and for larger organisations, the app will enable them to obtain consistent results from different staff across multiple locations, as well as the ability to export results back to a central point.”

Using PotatoSize™, growers can assess crops in just a few minutes. Commenting on ease of use, Mr McKerrow says that it is important users follow the guidelines in the app. “Image analysis is a complex piece of software, when you add in different soil colours, tuber colours, and ambient light conditions, it has certainly proved challenging to develop. We have spent the last year refining the algorithms and as long as users follow the detailed instructions then good, consistent results are achieved.”

PotatoSize™ is available for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play store. Once downloaded and registered, users will get five free image processes to try the app, thereafter it is priced at £1 per image process (discounts for volume credit purchases). Existing users of Agrovista’s Axis system can download the app and use their existing login to use the app.