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buds, and hence is detrimental. The rows should be made straight, and care should always be taken to have the potatoes planted in a straight line and at a uniform distance apart. The former facilitates intertillage to such an extent that it is worthy of attention, On a dry, hot day it is inadvisable to open the
rows much ahead of the planters, and the seed should be covered as soon as possible to prevent loss of moisture. Frequently the rows plowed out before the noon meal hour and left open for this time show the injurious effect of the loss of moisture, especially if the seed is cut. Wherever hand-planting is done and the tubers are not sprouted, the hand-planters, which are somewhat like hand corn-planters, may be used with profit. They cost $1.00 to $1.50, and it is claimed that an active man can plant at least one acre per day.
Every large grower of potatoes requires a horseplanter. From six to eight acres will warrant the use of such a machine, and it may be made to pay for itself in a short time by hiring it out-preferably with
a man to work it. Some planters require one man, others two men, to work them; the latter generally do the best work, although good work is done by the former. Two systems of mechanism are employed—the picker and the platform. In some planters the tubers are fed from the hopper onto pickers, or spikes, which project from a revolving vertical disk. The disk carries them round to the top of a delivery pipe, where they are knocked off, or fall off, going down the pipe to the ground. This system, or a modification of it, is used in the Aspinwall (Figs. 26–27), the Deere, and the the Eureka planters. Trials with a planter of this type showed that, with small whole seed and well-prepared ground, this machine will work up to its guarantee of 95 per cent.; that is, it will not skip more than 5 places in 100. With longer cut seed and rougher land, espe
cially if slightly hilly, it will miss up to 20 in 100. If these misses were distributed it would not be so serious, but often 5 or 6 occur at a stretch. If the seed is cut long and thin, the pickers may take hold of two pieces instead of one. This happens frequently—often up to 20 per cent. These machines open the furrow, distribute the fertillizer, plant the potato, and cover. The latter operation is usually performed by revolving concave disks. The distance apart of the tubers is regulated by adding or removing the pickers. The higher-priced
machines are stronger made than the lower-priced, and, in some cases the fertilizer attachment is extra.
The Robbins improved potato-planter (Fig. 28) is of the platform type. The potatoes are elevated from the hopper by means of a wheel, and are discharged onto a platform which is cleared by several revolving arms (Fig. 29); the mechanism is so timed that a potato
should fall on the platform between each two arms. Sometimes the elevator comes up empty or brings two pieces up; in either case it is necessary for the man sitting behind to put one piece on the vacant part of the table between the arms or take the extra piece off. In this way the tubers are planted more carefully and regularly than most hand work. The amount and distance apart of seed, and the amount of fertilizer sown, are
regulated by interchangeable sprockets. The various parts of the machine are driven by means of a chain drive. This machine opens the row, distributes the fertilizer in rather a wide stream, plants the potato, and covers it in a satisfactory manner. Any ordinary required depth can be obtained. It can be used for planting beans, corn, and other crops. With potatoplanters three to six acres can be planted per day.
Losses of crop due to insufficient seeding cannot be made up during the year. The land requires the same amount of work, ånd the soil needs moving at diggingtime; but there is not the yield, and it is an important consideration whether 5 per cent. to 20 per cent. loss of plants per acre is not too high a price for the sake of one man's pay per day. Even with the cheapest “picker?' planter, the lower initial cost is not sufficient to recompense the grower for the loss sustained by using it on ten acres when compared with the perfect machine.