British Farming Awards: Potato growers created own clever depth control system

Potato farmer Andrew Webster is one of the 5 Machinery and Farm Technology finalists in this year’s British Farming Awards competition. The finalists have either developed a new way to drive their business or have adapted technology to improve efficiencies. Born out of an ambition to more accurately apply nematocide at a precise depth, Lancashire potato grower Andrew Webster has created his own clever depth control system. Inspired by height control systems as used on combine headers and beet harvesters, the depth control system uses a potentiometer which works in concert with the tractor’s hydraulics. As the potentiometer detects variations in bed height, it effectively tells the tractor to either raise or lower the bed tiller. The bed tiller is part of a one-pass potato planting rig, created by Mr Webster, and is suspended in a frame. Mr Webster says; “A big challenge was the calibration of the electronics. Once solved, this allowed us to set a working depth, with the electronics and hydraulics working automatically to maintain this.” Read more

Harvesting potatoes: Resources for quality improvement now available online

Related imageHarvesting a quality crop is an important topic on every potato grower’s mind for the upcoming season. Blackspot bruise and shatter bruise, or open wounds such as of nicks, cuts and abrasions are quality issues to focus on and minimize at harvest. Most potato handling operations are performed by equipment, but there is almost always a human factor involved in managing that equipment in a way that minimizes bruising.  Taking time to educate employees about bruise prevention should be a standard part of growers’ harvest preparation. As part of an Idaho Potato Commission-funded quality project, the University of Idaho potato program has posted employee training resources on its website under the “Bruise Management” tab. These resources include popular articles, bulletins and two recently added videos on windrower and harvester operation. These videos will be especially valuable for employees that are new to operating harvesting equipment. Read more

Dewulf to bring two new machines to Potato Europe ‘18

During PotatoEurope 2018 next week in GermanyDewulf, machine manufacturer for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops, will not only present several familiar favourites. but also two new machines. The first new offering is the recently announced Field Loader 240, an efficient transfer combi that excels in ease of use and capacity. The CP 22 Farmer, a light, mounted 2-row cup planter for potato growers with smaller acreage will also be on display. This planter nevertheless offers exceptional durability, because it is built on the same strong chassis as the CP 22. Dewulf’s range of planting and storing technology will represented at the fair by a trailed Miedema Structural 4000, a Structural 30 and an MB 33. Dewulf will be located at stand GD69 at the PotatoEurope 2018 show. Read more. Information also available in several other languages on the Dewulf website.

Seed potato planting to be in the spotlight at PotatoEurope 2018 event in Germany

Related imageIn the run-up to PotatoEurope 2018, Dr. Rolf Peters from PotatoConsult UG in Germany describes the challenges and technology developments in planting seed potatoes. Demonstrations of planting technology will take place at the event, at Bockerode, near Hanover, on 12/13 September. According to Dr Peters, the planting of seed potatoes has developed into a highly complex step in crop cultivation. In addition to having to handle a comparatively large amount of seed – an average 2.5 tonnes/hectare, farmers have to manage seed bed preparation and fertilizer applications very precisely, and the process might also include treatment applications against seed- and soil-borne pests, as well as precise ridge formation.  Continue reading

Key factors to successful storage and preventing common potato diseases

Recently dug up potatoes during harvestAccording to Industrial Ventilation Inc (IVI), a storage technology company based in Idaho, the two critical environmental factors involved in properly storing potatoes and preventing common potato diseases are temperature and humidity. Adequate and unrestricted air movement is also necessary to maintain constant temperature and humidity throughout the storage pile—and to prevent excessive shrinkage from moisture loss and decay. Several factors influence temperature management for stored potatoes, and storage temperature affects key aspects of successful storage, including the curing and wound healing processes, disease spread and severity, the sugar-starch relationships, and respiration, which in turn influences dormancy or sprouting, and weight loss. Bruising and cuts can occur during harvesting and handling, and wound healing is critical in order to minimize the entry areas for ever-threatening organisms of potato diseases. Read more

Key Technology celebrates 70 years of innovation

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, is celebrating their 70th anniversary. “In an era marked by rapid technological change, Key’s strategy has remained remarkably consistent over our 70-year history. We attract exceptionally talented people, inspire teamwork and create close collaborative partnerships with our customers to identify and solve their unique production challenges,” said Jack Ehren, President of Key Technology. The company was founded in 1948 as Key Equipment Company by brothers Claude and Lloyd Key and eight other investors focused on eliminating tedious, inefficient manual chores in food processing. Since then, Key has continued to transform the food processing industry.  Continue reading

PotatoEurope 2018: Organic production, mechanical weed control to feature prominently at the event

Image result for PotatoEurope 2018Some 20 specialist exhibitors will show practical solutions for organic potato cultivation at the PotatoEurope 2018 event on 12 and 13 September near Hannover in Germany this year. Demonstrations of mechanical weed control will feature prominently at the event this year. Cultivating organic crops can be particularly challenging for farmers, but at PotatoEurope 2018, visitors will able to learn about the latest farming practices and market opportunities in their sector. During the special “Organic Potatoes Meeting Point” feature the focus will be on organic conversion and specialist advice, research results, equipment and machinery, as well as marketing channels for the crop. Mechanical weed control in potato crops requires a lot of know-how, and this year PotatoEurope will present a special demonstration of machines used for this important task. “Organic Potatoes Meeting Point” is organized by the Ökolandbau Niedersachsen Competence Center (KÖN). Organic associations and scientific institutes will also be represented in the feature, as well as a number of companies. Visit the PotatoEurope website for details

Key Technology and Heat and Control announce strategic partnership in Australia, New Zealand and India

Key Technology, Inc., a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, and Heat and Control Pty Ltd. announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to support customers in Australia, New Zealand and India. Under the terms of the agreement, Key has appointed Heat and Control as their exclusive agent to sell and service Key’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems in Australia, New Zealand and India, effective immediately. The partnership leverages Heat and Control’s extensive sales and service organization to sell and support all of Key’s equipment in the defined regions, including providing application testing, field service and spare parts. Additionally, Heat and Control will manufacture select Key-designed vibratory conveyors at their facilities in Australia and India in strict accordance with Key’s specifications.  Continue reading

Dewulf unveils 150t/hour Field Loader

Root crop and spud kit specialist Dewulf has launched a stand-alone Field Loader that is able to process up to 150t/hour. Tipping trailers can unload directly into the transfer machine’s 2.4m-wide bunker floor, before the crop is sent through a 10-roller cleaning unit. The openings between rollers are electrically adjustable to reduce the amount of soil and waste in the load and there is space for two people at the inspection table. Material is then directed onto a four-piece discharge elevator, which pivots through 120deg and will reach up to 6,187mm, or 5,630mm when at maximum height, so should be able to reach deep into a waiting truck. Read more

Labor Terminators: Farming robots are about to take over our farms

Farming robot conceptOf the industries facing automation, agriculture could see the most upside from robots in the next few years. And the farming robot wave, along with other new agricultural technology, could come even sooner than you think. Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster compares this next agricultural revolution to the one seen last century, when new equipment, fertilizers, pesticides and high-yield crop breeds sparked an explosion in farm production around the world. “I think agriculture is the greatest near-term — I define over the next five years — opportunity around robotics and autonomy,” he said. The farming robot is actually just one new technology that will transform the sector. Today’s agricultural technology helps farmers plow and spray crops with greater precision. Now improved automation and big data analytics are joining with farming robot technology, pointing to big benefits.  Continue reading

The drought issue: Smart irrigation becoming more attractive option for spuds

public/news/thumbnail_howseman-agriculture-camnet-.pngA sustained dry period, changes in water licences and shortage of labour are making ‘smart irrigation’ systems more attractive to potato farmers, according to Andrew Howseman of Howseman Agriculture in the UK. “Even farmers that have never needed irrigation before are considering it after this June,” says Andrew. “We’ve got people who’ve been irrigating for at least 50-60 days non-stop, which is completely unheard of. Usually, people would irrigate for a couple of weeks and then we would have three quarters of an inch of rain and they’d have a week or ten days off before they started irrigating again. But this year people started and haven’t stopped…” This is where the drip system developed by Howseman Agriculture comes into its own. It puts the water where it is need and uses 25-30% less water than a traditional hose and reel system and is much less labour intensive. Its six row drip-tape layer recently gained an ‘Innovation for Water’ award at the Lincolnshire Show. Read more

CRISPR news: J.R. Simplot first ag company to receive gene editing licensing rights; potential for new potato varieties

J.R. Simplot Company, based in Idaho in the US, announced that it has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer. J.R. Simplot Company on Monday announced the agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of the nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license. “We think this is a transformative technology — it’s very powerful,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We’re delighted that Simplot is the first one to take advantage of the licensing.”  Continue reading

Precision agriculture technology detects late blight with help from IBM Watson

PlantLink is a research network in the area of plant sciences in Sweden, joining Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). One of the regional projects uses precision agriculture techniques to detect late blight. Scientists at SLU were looking for an automated, efficient and environmentally friendly way to detect late blight early. IBM helped the scientists develop a prototype decision-support system that combines visual and near-infrared image analysis with climate data to predict how likely it is that late blight will strike. The images are analyzed by Watson Image Recognition through IBM Cloud.  Continue reading

Exhibition space fully booked at Europe’s most specialised indoor trade fair for potatoes and vegetables

Image result for interpom primeursINTERPOM PRIMEURS is the most specialised indoor trade fair for the potato and vegetable sector in Europe. The 19th edition of INTERPOM PRIMEURS will be held on Sunday 25 to Tuesday 27 November 2018 in Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium. The event offers a complete and focused range of products and services for all professionals in the potato and vegetable sector from all corners of Europe – and increasingly, from other continents as well. According to the organizers exhibition space at the event is booked fully at this time already. INTERPOM PRIMEURS continues to grow year on year and welcomes more international visitors and exhibitors each time round. A total of 315 exhibitors have registered for this year’s event and 20.000 visitors from many countries around the world is expected this year. The international promotion campaign initiated by the International Potato Center (CIP) earlier this year, Imagine a World without Potatoes, will officially be launched at INTERPOM PRIMEURS in November.  Further details on the event can be found on the official website

New amino acid growth stimulant launched by Arysta LifeScience

Related imageThe dual action of two complementary biostimulants is now available through the launch of a new product by Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland – Calibra Carbo®. Calibra Carbo combines the protein building properties of amino acids with the increased nutrient and water movement properties of GA142. In doing so, seaweed extract GA142 accelerates the transfer of the amino acids through the plant, reducing stress and boosting photosynthesis. Arysta LifeScience Product Development & Technical Manager for UK & Ireland, Don Pendergrast said: “What makes this product stand out is its dual mode of action – the two molecules working together to provide an enhanced performance. The product can be used on a range of crops including potatoes, and is compatible with most fungicides and insecticides. Read more