Genes in storage: Husband and wife team dig into what genes lead to longer potato storability

One would hardly consider Nevada to be potato country. Livestock is far and away the agricultural king in the Silver State, and all other commodities bow down before it. But in a lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, work is being done that researchers believe could eventually prevent the loss millions of tons of potatoes each year in the U.S. With the help of a $1.37 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), husband-and-wife team Dylan Kosma and Patricia Santos hope to discover, on a genetic level, ways to mitigate—if not eliminate—tuber loss in storage. The current NSF-funded project at the Kosma-Santos lab is focused on understanding the genetic reasons some potato varieties store better, for longer periods of time, than others—a question that has plagued the chip industry for years. More

US: Potato researchers gather to find solutions for the blackleg disease

Potato researchers gather in Maine to find a solutions for the Blackleg diseaseResearchers from all over the world were in Bangor, Maine for the ‘2017 Dickeya and Pectobacterium Summit’, organized by the University of Maine Extension. They are trying to find a way to stop the blackleg potato disease that could threaten the potato industry. According to Steven Johnson, UMaine cooperative extension professor: “This is not an emerging problem. This is an existing one we are trying to get ahead of. The pathogen may rot the tubers in the field. It may produce 20 to 80 percent less yield in the field. It may rot the potatoes in storage.” Maine’s potato crop brings a lot of money to the state and provides a livelihood for many growers. All of that could be threatened because of bacteria that causes blackleg disease. It isn’t just Maine that is impacted. The disease is hitting the potato industry worldwide. Researchers from 19 states and four different countries attended the meeting trying to find solutions. More

Tolsma-Grisnich shows Potato Storage Innovations at Agritechnica

From November 12 to 18, Agritechnica in Hanover will be the ‘centre of innovation’ for anyone who wants to be updated on the latest global developments in the agribusiness. As one of the regular exhibitors at this event, potato storage specialist Tolsma-Grisnich will show its latest storage innovations in Stand A14 in Hall 24. Tolsma-Grisnich will be featuring two new modules for its Vision Control storage computer and presents its App 1.0, the energy efficient TTV HE fan and its award winning new 5M temperature sensor, among other products. In addition, there will be live demonstrations of its MV09 grading machine and its Sample Analyser. More

Cavendish Farms opens new potato storage facility in Canada

Cavendish Farms opened its new potato storage facility in New Annan, Prince Edward Island, Canada – which will mean the company can supply potatoes year round. The new facility is 88,000sqf and has a refrigerated potato storage capacity of 48 million pounds. Cavendish Farms is using the Dutch based Tolsma System, which will allow the company to maintain consistent quality potatoes all year for use at its two processing plants on the island. “This investment in our Prince Edward Island operation will allow us to ensure a quality supply of potatoes year round,” said Cavendish Farms President Robert K. Irving. “This will allow us to continue providing the best quality frozen potato products to our customers,” he added. “As Canada’s FoodIsland, our province is proud to offer high quality potatoes and frozen potato products that are enjoyed around the world,” said Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan. More

UK: Protect potato crops from day one in storage

Concern about how well tubers will store once liftedAs wet weather proves challenging for potato lifting in some regions of the country, growers are being urged to consider management practises to prevent these conditions causing quality issues once crops go into storage. “Persistent rain across the UK has caused water logging in some areas and there are concerns about how well tubers will store once lifted,” said Morley Benson, Certis’ field sales manager. “This year reports of scab, black leg and tuber blight are not uncommon and harvest delays are likely to increase this pressure. Therefore, it’s even more important for growers to protect their crops to ensure quality is maintained from storage, to point of sale or planting as seed. More

UK: Branston invests GBP6m in Lincoln factory

Branston has announced the completion of a GBP6 million investment at its Lincoln site, in UK, installing a state-of-the-art grading system and WarmStor system. Designed to improve the efficiency of grading and sizing the 2,500 tons of potatoes packed each week, a high tech optical grader unit has been installed at the site. Additionally, the newly installed WarmStor – a low-energy system to adjust the temperature of the potatoes to the optimum level for prepacking – significantly improves the way crops are handled through the packing process, enhancing the end quality and reducing waste. This investment follows major redevelopment work at the company’s Perthshire site as well as complementing Branston’s recent prepared foods factory extension in Lincoln, both of which form part of the company’s strategy to meet increased customer demand and reduce its environmental impact and food wastage. More

The Netherlands: Innovative equipment for potato sprout inhibitor applications emits no CO2

In September, the new potato storage season begins in the Netherlands. An atomiser, specifically for the application of sprout inhibitors in potato storages has been designed and is manufactured by Frans Veugen Bedrijfshygiëne bv. The atomiser, named the Synofog, uses a new technique: electro-thermal atomisation. The advantage of this new piece of equipment is that it does not have an open flame. This ensures its safe use with all kinds of sprout inhibitors. Before the development of the Synofog, fuel engines were often used. There was an open flame, and hot airflow. This warm air is created in a different manner with this new machine. The Synofog blows air through a heating element. According to Jos Veugen of Frans Veugen Bedrijfshygiën, “In this way we adjusted the ‘old’ atomiser’s technique to an electric way. The Synofog is much safer and emits no CO2. This is a big plus, because these emissions speed up the potatoes’ ageing process.” More

Storage Technology: Innovative new sensor nominated for Award

The Tolsma-Grisnich storage technology company developed a unique temperature sensor to measure the temperature at different locations and heights within a bulk potato storage facility. The product, in essence a 5 meter long cable, is said to measure temperature differences quite accurately at different locations, and the developers figure that the device provide storage managers with more fine-tuned control over temperature regulation in a storage facility. More measurements closer to each other can be obtained. It is easy to install multiple sensor cables whilst a storage bin is being filled during loading operations. The product has been nominated for a Potato Europe 2017 Innovation Award. Judges reportedly called it a “beautiful forward-looking solution in storage technology, with practical application potential”. Full report in Dutch published on Agf.nl. Tolsma-Grisnich will also launch a new version of its mobile phone app for storage management during the Potato Europe 2017 event in the Netherlands in September.

British potato industry unites to take on blackleg disease

Blackleg disease clearly visible on a potato plant

In a press release issued earlier today, it is announced that a group of major potato business and public sector organisations, including the Scottish Government and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), have sponsored a £242,000 research project aimed at reducing the impact of potato disease blackleg on the Scottish seed potato industry. AHDB and Scottish Government joint-funded a project during 2013-2016 which provided significant new information on blackleg and its origins. It also highlighted areas where further investigation is required for improved management of the problem. As a result, a second project will begin this September to identify the major routes of initial contamination of high-grade tubers and establish best practice for blackleg management. Sue Cowgill, Senior Crop Protection Scientist at AHDB said: “We hope that by determining the impact of post-harvest practices such as storage, grading and handling practices on the contamination of tubers we can set a platform for an industry-wide approach to tackling this disease. The research may also identify the potential for new and innovative control options as part of the blackleg management tool kit.”  Continue reading

Australia: Agronico opens new purpose-built coolstore for seed potato storage in Tasmania

Image result for Agronico opens new purpose-built coolstore at SpreytonThe new coolstore at Spreyton can store up to 8000 tonnes of seed potatoes and has the potential to service Australia’s seed potato needs, Agronico believes. Agronico chief executive Robert Graham said the purpose-built facility will benefit Tasmanian potato farmers because it will improve the viability of their produce. “We believe there’s a big opportunity for seed potatoes in Tasmania. We think farmers should capitalise on that,” Mr Graham said. “We should produce seed potatoes for all of Australia because we can produce such good quality seed. High quality seed is vital for high yield and, therefore, valuable for our farmers,” he said. The new coolstore means potatoes can be transported direct from Tasmanian paddocks for grading and then to the facility for storage in optimum conditions. More

Researchers develop low cost sensor to detect rot in potato storage facilities

In Idaho, potatoes are both a humble stereotype and a half-billion dollar crop. According to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, every spring farmers plant more than 320,000 acres of potatoes valued at between $550-$700 million. Yet unbeknownst to most consumers, roughly 30 percent of the potatoes harvested spoil before they reach a grocery store shelf. Boise State University researchers Harish Subbaraman, David Estrada and Yantian Hou hope to change that. In a recently awarded one-year $413,681 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant, Boise State is collaborating with Idaho State University and industry partners Isaacs Hydropermutation Technologies, Inc (IHT) and Emerson to develop a wireless sensor network that would be able to detect temperature, humidity levels, and carbon dioxide and ammonia levels in real time, to help with early detection of rot.  Continue reading

New Oceasoft software brings real time alerts to temperature monitors

OCEASOFT, a company with offices in France and the US, is dealing in wireless monitoring solutions for temperature-sensitive goods, announced the release of OCEAlert, their new solution that enhances cold-chain monitoring which helps reduce the risk of product loss. “The demand for enhanced monitoring during product transit or storage continues to rise. It is critical for managers in charge of sensitive products to be alerted quickly to take action in case of unexpected situations,” OCEASOFT stated in a press release. When alarm conditions are detected and reported by OCEASOFT dataloggers, OCEAlert sends alerts via text or voice message to a configured list of phone numbers.  When a notification message is received, the user can acknowledge receipt of the alert directly from their mobile device and take appropriate action to address the problem. More

New publication: Essential guide for potato store owners on CIPC application practices

The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group in the UK recently published a new factsheet entitled “CIPC Application: A store owner’s guide. Essential information for making potato stores CIPC compliant from the 2017/18 season.” New controls planned by CIPC approval holders, and backed by Industry Stewardship, will mean all CIPC
applications from the 2017 harvest are made using ‘active recirculation’ to optimise efficacy at the new panEuropean lower maximum total dose (36g/t), enhance distribution and reduce the risk of Maximum Residue Level (MRL) exceedance. ‘Active recirculation’ is the new industryagreed term to describe the recirculation of air (containing CIPC fog) by fans. Research conducted by AHDB and others within the industry has shown that the correct use of fans can significantly improve the uniformity of CIPC distribution, reducing the risk of maximum residue level exceedance. In most cases, this can best be achieved using variable speed control to slow fans down to provide a steady circulation of fog throughout the store. The new publication by the Stewardship Group provide practical, illustrated guidelines that store owners can follow to get their facilities compliant. Click to view the guide as a pdf file

UK: Potato industry to meet on eve of CIPC regulation change

Postharvest Showcase, one of the leading potato storage events in Great Britain, is to take place on 27 July, days before regulations on the use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) are to change. CIPC is the principal tool in the potato storage manager’s box when tackling sprout suppression in tubers. An interactive display at the event, provided by independent body the CIPC Stewardship Group, will demonstrate methods for effective use the treatment at the new lower levels using ‘active recirculation’ of air in the store, as part of their ‘No Fan, No Fog’ campaign. Innovations and future technology will also be on the agenda at the event. Dr James Covington of the University of Warwick will discuss his team’s research into electronic, non-destructive sensors to detect soft rot in potatoes as part of a keynote speaker programme.  Continue reading

UK: Three Musketeers (3Ms) invest in potato grading and sorting line

Three musketeers (3Ms) invest in potato grading and sorting lineWith six farms as shareholders of 3Ms (Three Musketeers) operating more than 34,000 acres, they have contracted Haith, Tomra and Dijkstra to put in a new state-of-the-art potato grading and sorting line at their site at Bentwaters, near Woodbridge, Suffolk. A brand new building for this has been constructed also. 3Ms were successful in a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) grant in conjunction with the Rural payments Agency (RPA) and received £250,000 towards the investment. More