Mechanical removal of potato foliage prior to harvest is coming into the spotlight nowadays due to fact that some of the most popular chemicals in use for potato vine desiccation is under threat of being banned, or already prohibited in some potato producing countries.
REMA Environmental Machinery BV in the Netherlands is a company that’s been developing and producing a series of mechanical haulm removal machines for many years. The company’s two-, four-, and six row hydraulically driven EnviMaxX machines feature a two-in-one solution in a single pass for vine destruction: The machines not only pulls the green foliage off plants, but mechanically undercuts plant roots.
The mechanical foliage removal part consists of two revolving rubber belts per unit/row which clamps the stems and pull the haulm during passing, while a V-shaped steel blade (‘under cutter’) severs the plant roots underneath the hill.
According to Piet Regnerus, President and owner of REMA, the EnviMaxX machines have recently been re-designed to now feature easier operation and control of the machines from a tractor cab.
The machines are equipped with an automatic depth control system and speed adjustment of the haulm pulling units. Sensors on each unit ensures accuracy.
Apart from the obvious benefit of offering a chemical-free solution to haulm removal, Piet Regnerus points out that his machines have shown positive effects on adequate and fast skin set of tubers, no re-growth of foliage, and minimizing the potential of black scurf development of tubers prior to harvest.