FAISON, N.C. — Burch Farms has added storage and harvesting equipment.

In early September, the grower-shipper installed storage capacity for 150,000 bushels.

The addition brings Burch’s storage capacity to 1.5 million bushels, said Jimmy Burch Jr., salesman.

To help reduce dependence on labor, Burch ordered a sweet potato digging machinery.

The prototype machinery, manufactured by the United Kingdom’s Standen Engineering Ltd., harvests sweet potatoes two rows at a time and includes in-field sizing equipment, Burch said.

Burch said the machinery should help reduce labor.

“We will be able to dig 1,000 acres with them,” he said. “It will pay the first year in labor savings versus digging by hand. This will allow us to dig a third of our crop by machines.”

Burch said North Carolina State University planned to display the implement to growers during a Sept. 27 field day.

Additionally, Burch is ordering an Odenberg electronic sizing equipment.

Burch’s Titan sizing machinery can remove sweet potatoes with bad spots and insect damage.

The equipment should help select prime sweet potatoes for Burch’s most particular customers, he said.

Burch plans to install the equipment in January.