Potato is one of the advanced crops in Farming Simulator 15. Potato production requires a large investment in equipment, and an intense effort to harvest. It also grows slower than all other crops. Nonetheless, it is the single most profitable crop in the game.
Potatoes are a type of root vegetable that grows very densely and provides a hefty income. It is not available straight away, due to the cost of the equipment involved. Even after the equipment is purchased, Potatoes require a lot of time and effort to harvest, significantly more than other crops, but yield a larger profit in the end.
As with all other crops, Potatoes may be sown only on fields that have been cultivated beforehand, to remove any remains of the previously-planted crops on that field. This can be done with any Cultivator or Plow.
To sow Potatoes, a special Sowing Machine is required. Your starting sower cannot perform this task. There are two such machines available for purchase in the base game. Potato Sowers cannot sow any other crop, so they are explicitly purchased only for purposes of Potato growing.
Potatoes take more time to ripen than any other crop in the game, requiring five growing phases (about 26 hours of in-game time, at the "Fast" growing speed setting). Before they can be harvested, they must first be cut by a Haulm Topper machine specifically designed for Potatoes. After this is done, the Potatoes themselves can be collected by yet another specialized harvester. There is also a very expensive combine harvester that can perform both tasks in one go. Potato harvesting is exceptionally slow in either case, because all Potato harvesters are extremely narrow, taking a long time to process even a small field.
As with all other crops, a Potato field can be Fertilized in order to double its yield.
Harvested Potato can be stored in Tipper Trailers or offloaded into its own storage facility at your farm. It can be sold in a variety of locations on each map, for a variable price that depends on current market forces. Potatoes do not fetch a high price per ton, but the yield from each harvested hectare is very high, making Potatoes the single most profitable crop overall.
Sowing Potatoes Edit
The process of sowing Potatoes begins with cultivation of the field, to remove the remains of whatever crop grew there previously. This is a necessary step even if the field was previously used for Potatoes. Any Cultivator or Plow is suitable for this task. The wider the Cultivator/Plow, the faster the work will go.
Any piece of cultivated soil can then be worked with a Sowing Machine that is capable of planting Potatoes. There are only 2 such devices available for purchase in the base game: The Grimme GL 420, and the Grimme GL 660.
The primary difference between these machines (other than their price) is their working width - the GL 420 has a working width of only 3.0 meters, while the GL 660 has 6.0 meters (doing the same work twice as fast). Neither of these machines is capable of cultivating the field as they sow, meaning that all Potato planting work must including a separate pass with a Cultivator or Plow prior to sowing. Also note that neither machine can sow anything other than Potatoes!
Remember that the Sowing Machine must be filled with seeds before it can be put to work. This can be done by pulling the machine to the Seed Pallets at your farm, and hitting the Refill button. You may not sow manually with an empty Sowing Machine. A Hired Worker can work even with an empty machine, but at a much higher price than normal.
About 5,200 liters of seeds are required to plant one hectare of Potatoes. This translates to roughly $3,150 worth of seeds per hectare. This is about 10 times more expensive than any other crop! Take this into consideration if you're thinking of going into the Potato business.
Alternatively, Potato Sowing Machines can instead be filled with actual potatoes from your previous harvests. Again, 5,200 liters of Potatoes are required to sow one hectare. 5,200 liters of Potatoes are worth roughly $2,080 to $2,860, depending on their current market price, so using actual Potatoes can potentially save you a small amount of money.
Potato Growth Edit
Potatoes are unique in that they take the longest time to grow of any crop, and have the shortest time between ripening and withering.
Potatoes require 5 growth cycles to become ready for harvest, instead of the regular 4 steps for other crops. They will first sprout green weed-like plants above ground, which will then grow little white flowers. At the 4th step, when most other crops would have already become ready for harvest, the Potato weeds will appear to wither slightly, turning a light shade of brown - but they are not ready for harvest yet. Potato is only ready to harvest once these above-ground weeds have withered completely, turning into a messy brown carpet covering the entire field. Although they look dead, this is actually the point where they are harvestable. When growth speed is set to "Fast" in the Settings Menu, the entire process from sowing to ripeness will take around 26-27 hours.
Once ripe, Potatoes have only one additional ripeness step (taking another 5 hours or so at "Fast" speed). After just one more step (5 hours again), they will wither. This means that your window of opportunity for harvesting Potatoes is narrower than for other crops. This is assuming that you've enabled the option for crop withering at all, otherwise the field will remain ripe forever. You may harvest Potatoes during either of their two ripeness stages - the yield does not change beyond the first ripeness stage.
If the Potatoes have been allowed to wither, they cannot be harvested anymore, and must instead be cultivated or plowed to make room for a new crop.
Harvesting Potatoes Edit
As with the other root crop (Sugar Beet), Potatoes require two distinct steps to harvest: Cutting off the tops, and extracting the crop from the ground. With cheaper equipment, the two steps must be done separately. Advanced (and highly expensive) equipment may do both simultaneously.
The first step is to cut the haulms (the dead leaves) off the Potatoes. This can only be done while the Potato is in its 5th or 6th stages of growth. This is done with a Haulm Topper machine specifically designed for Potatoes. There is only one such machine in the base game, the Grimme KS 75-4 (although the Grimme Tectron 415 may also be used; more on this below). The Grimme SE 260 is not self-propelled, and so must be towed behind a tractor. Potato cannot be harvested before this step is completed. This Haulm Topper can only process Potatoes.
Once the haulms have been removed, the field can then be harvested using another specialized machine designed specifically to collect Potatoes from the ground. Again, the base game only has one such machine, the Grimme SE 260, which also needs to be towed behind a tractor. This harvester has a very narrow cutting head, which will take a long time to process an entire field. It also has a very small holding tank capacity compared to the amount of Potato it will likely need to harvest, requiring it to be unloaded into a Tipper repeatedly during the process. Consider driving a second vehicle towing one or more Tippers next to this harvester as it works. Finally, the Grimme SE 260 has another interesting problem: it does not cut directly behind the towing tractor, but rather slightly to the side, making it that much more difficult to maneuver it properly.
Combination Harvesting Edit
A third piece of equipment available for Potato harvesting is the Grimme Tectron 415 . This is a self-propelled vehicle (it does not need to be towed), which will cut the haulms and collect the Potatoes all at the same time - saving you a lot of work.
Unfortunately, the Tectron 415 is prohibitively expensive, costing close to half a million dollars. Furthermore, its cutting heads are just slightly wider than the Grimme SE 260, at only 3.0m. This means that the Tectron 415 will still take a very long time to process a single field of Potatoes. On the other hand, its holding tank is significantly larger than that of most harvesters, so it does not need to be offloaded very often. Additionally, the Tectron 415 cuts everything directly in front of it, which gives it another serious advantage over the SE 260.
In short, if you have the money to spend, the Tectron 415 can shave off a significant portion of effort off Potato harvesting.
Storing Potatoes Edit
Unlike most other crops, Potatoes cannot be stored in your Silo. Instead, it is stored in the right-most compartment of the long shed at your farm, alongside Sugar Beets and Wood Chips.
To unload a Tipper here, you will need to drive up close to the correct (right-most) compartment of the shed. Note that some Tippers (particularly the larger ones) can only unload from behind, so you will need to reverse your Tipper into the compartment until the option to unload appears.
To retrieve Potatoes from the shed, drive a Tipper around the shed to the other side, where a conveyer lift will dump the Potatoes into it automatically. Make sure to avoid the conveyers for the Sugar Beet and Wood Chip compartments, otherwise they might fill your Tipper with those materials instead.
Selling Potatoes Edit
Harvested Potatoes can be sold at a variety of different places on each map. Each of these locations, marked by a white "offload" icon, has a grated dumping chamber embedded into the road, where Potatoes can be unloaded for sale.
These dumping chambers are used the same as the Silo back at your farm. Drive a tractor or truck towing a Tipper Trailer with Potatoes in it over the dumping chamber, and press the key to unload. Note that some Tippers can only unload behind them, requiring you to drive a little past the grate. Others can unload sideways as well.
Potatoes are sold immediately as they are unloaded from the Tipper. Each ton (1,000 liters) unloaded from the Tipper will give you around $400-$550 (Normal difficulty), making Potato a very cheap crop based on its volume. The exact price will differ from one selling location to another, and also depends on several market factors. Repeatedly selling large quantities of Potatoes over a period of several hours or days may cause the price to drop (it will recover over time). Alternatively, if Great Demand is in effect for the specific location where you are unloading, the price may be up to 2 times higher than normal!
Price Comparisons Edit
Although Potatoes may appear to be exceptionally cheap, their price per ton is misleading, because vast amounts of Potatoes can be extracted from every hectare. When this is factored in, Potato is almost twice as profitable as Wheat, bringing in around $32,000 per every hectare harvested - and making it the single most profitable conventional crop.
There are downsides, however. One downside is that Potatoes take 25% more time to grow compared to other crops, and that harvesting takes a very long time due to the narrow machinery involved. It takes even more time if you have separate machines to top the plants and collect the roots, and buying a single machine to do the work simultaneously costs a very large sum of money. Another downside is that each hectare of Potatoes you sow will cost you about $3,000 worth of seeds - far more than any other crop. This makes Potato harvesting a serious investment, suitable for the later stages of the game.
Note that due to the slow growth, and the large expenditure on seeds, Potatoes are actually slightly less profitable than Sugar Beets, despite bringing in higher sums of cash for each harvested hectare. Sugar Beet and Potato can nevertheless be grown in tandem, to capitalize on fluctuating prices and Great Demand for both these crop types.