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.
Dalmeny Farm, Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the most famous livestock and plant breeding institutions in the world. It is the home place of of the Earl of Rosebery. A large number of specialists are employed and they have accomplished wonderful results with grains, grasses, vegetables and livestock. The intricate details of breeding have been carefully worked out and the products of the farm go all over the world.
The Earl of Rosebery has bred and raced three Derby winners (thoroughbred running horses), and a great many famous prize winning Clydesdale horses, Aberdeen-Angus and Shorthorn cattle, large Yorkshire and Berkshire hogs and Shropshire sheep.
The place is visited annually by many delegations of agriculturists and students from all over the world.
Everything is made to pay. The Earl instructs his factor or manager that unless he makes every branch of the business pay he will be replaced by a man who can.
The crop rotation on the potato lands is: Potatoes, one year; grain, one year; grass, two years. The grass consists of a heavy seeding of rye grass or red clover, alone, or rye grass with wheat, oats, or barley as a nurse crop. I saw red clover seeded with wheat. The grain was a very heavy crop, (forty-eight to fifty-six bushels) and the red clover was thick and fully eighteen inches high.
The rye grass meadows are fed off with sheep. Cottonseed and linseed cake and some grain are fed in addition. Then twenty tons of well rotted manure are spread and plowed in during the winter when potatoes are to be grown the following year. Potatoes always follow grass. This system combined with the northern latitude, has always kept the potatoes free from blight and disease. Mr. George Sinclair, the farm manager says: "There is no potato disease in Scotland if the crop is grown only every fourth year, and on turf or sod ground. This keeps the soil open, loose and porous, and full of decayed vegetable matter." The condition of the soil was ideal for potatoes. "A special artificial fertilizer mixture that has been adapted to conditions after many years of experimenting by their soil experts and specialists is sown at the time of planting at the rate of six to seven hundred pounds per acre.
Whole seed is always used and increasing the size has given satisfactory results in increased yields. They are now using about 3,300 pounds of seed to the acre. Formerly 2,000 pounds was the rate. I saw as much as 5,000 pounds per acre planted - seed up to three inches in diameter.
In some series of experiments for three years successively with three varieties, 3,500 to 4,500 pounds of seed to the acre gave an average of seven tons per acre greater production than a 2,000-pound seeding.
Late varieties are planted in rows twenty-seven inches apart, twelve inches apart in the row. Early varieties are planted twenty six by eight inches. This increases the number of hills per acre, consequently the yields.
Sir Matthew Wallace - knighted by George V for his work in the interests of the potato industry.
Potato digging in Scotland.
A potato field on the farm of Matthew G. Wallace, Terregleston, Dumfries, Scotland.
Deep cultivation is practised. George Sinclair is the only farmer I have found who advocates extra deep stirring of the soil between the ridges to keep the soil loose, open and porous.
All potatoes for seed are stored in pits. He advises growing as large a crop as possible, rather than digging green, as frost always cuts off the growth sufficiently early to secure strong growing, vigorous seed. There is no special boxing or storing in cellar or houses. Seed is never cut, no matter how high the price. He cannot afford to weaken the plants by dividing the tuber.
Land rents for $20 an acre. It cost $105 an acre to grow 600 to 675 bushels per acre.
Extra large seed planted whole gives best results for growing seed stocks, as so many more potatoes set to the one big root system, they are slower in growing, more uniform in size and of more suitable size.