This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
Thomas Buttar, Corston, Coupar Angus, Scotland, is a very successful breeder of Shropshire sheep and Shorthorn cattle.
Mr. Buttar grows forty acres of potatoes for seed annually for the southern England trade and sells to seed dealers. He fertilizes heavily and grows 370 bushels of seed stock and 110 bushels of large potatoes and waste per acre. He plants large sized seed whole. This gives more tubers per hill and per acre and they are smaller and more uniform in size. It is another corroboration of Mt. Sopris Farm methods and results of planting perfect large tubers for growing seed stocks.
Corston is a large seed-growing section. I met six other large and successful growers. Every one feeds livestock. They grow a very large tonnage of yellow Aberdeen turnips and Swedes, which they feed with oil cake. Each and every one declares they could not farm profitably without grazing, cake feeding for making muck, and the use of artificial manures. Their main reliance is cake made manures and crop rotation, potatoes one year in three, sometimes two years in seven, two years in grass for hay or pasture, usually hay first year and pasture second, then fall plowing after a coat of ten or twelve tons of well-rotted muck or manure has been applied. They have no disease, require no spraying with this system, and it keeps the soil healthy and free from injurious germs. The soil is in splendid physical condition, notwithstanding the fact that there is both drought and excessive rains. It is in such condition that it holds sufficient moisture for plants in dry times and drains well to the tiles if there is excessive moisture. All the lands are tiled to a depth of thirty inches with lines of tile twenty-four to thirty feet.
Mr. Leyburn of Kunochtry, Coupar Augus, is another successful grower.
He feeds his land like his bullocks, giving the soil all the barnyard muck and artificial fertilizer it can use. His oats and barley make sixty-four to eighty bushels per acre every year - he has no bad years. He feeds no grain to bullocks or sheep, just roots, chaff, cake, and potatoes. No small potatoes are wasted in Scotland. They are fed to hogs or cattle.
Mr. Leyburn grows the Epicure for early market, and follows with British Queen for second early. King Edward, Ever Good, and Langworthy are the late varieties. Langworthy is not a heavy cropper, but of such quality that it brings $5 more a ton for its table quality. There are 300 acres annually in potatoes on a 1,000-acre farm. Mr. Leyburn is a tenant farmer and pays $13 an acre rent.
I am sure he feeds his soil all it can utilize from the solid look of the tops. I could not tell the direction of the rows without going into the field. When a hill was lifted eight to fifteen great potatoes would be found. They were not nearly grown and would continue to increase in size for another four weeks.
The Epicure is his favorite for early market. It is not of as good quality as some, but is a strong grower and will stand dry or wet weather well. It is round, of even size, and there are few small ones. They were planted April 1st and harvested July 15th to August 1st. The British Queen is two weeks later in marketing. I believe it would be a desirable type for the United States.
A party of leading British farmers at the experimental grounds of Sutton & Sons, Reading, England. They are inspecting the results of a part of the year's experimental work with potatoes.
Sutton's Windsor Castle - A popular potato in Great Britain. Illustration from Sutton & Sons.
Irish women and girls do the digging with forks. Eight women take sixteen rows. They walk backward and fork them out deftly and other women pick them up, two rows at a time. A man empties them into barrels. They are sorted to market size and refuse as picked up. The land is left as smooth and level as if it had been harrowed. The tops from the sixteen rows are put in four winrows. They dig and pick up seventy-five bushels a day at a cost of $1.20. They get a cabin, firewood, and what potatoes they can eat. Women work better and sort better than men.