Digging the seed crop starts in June and continues throughout the month of July, with an additional smaller amount of late planted seed harvested in September.
Seed crops are generally grown further inland on larger fields, and unlike crop for export that is harvested after about 11-12 weeks, the seed crop is left in the ground for up to 16 weeks so that it can bulk up in numbers and tuber size.
Seed crops tend to be concentrated in blocks of fields in different parts of the Island that are then harvested together. It is very common to see a number of harvesters digging in the same field at the same time. The idea behind this is to clear ground as quick as possible, to fill the trailers and get the seed back to the stores.
The seed is all bagged up, and then carefully stacked on to trailers.
In order to maximise efficiencies, it is commonplace to unload sacks of seeds from a harvester to a trailer on the move, whilst still digging.
It is a very labour intensive operation.