In a research paper published recently online in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, scientists from Hefei Institute of Physical Science in China claim they have developed a nano-material that inhibits the sprouting of potatoes. The material is named “hydrophobic nano silica” (H-SiO2) and was developed through the modification of nano silica by amino silicon oil (ASO) – and then applied as a sprout inhibitor on potato tubers. The researchers say the material suppresses the formation of toxic glyco-alkaloids that typically is associated with the sprouting process. They further claim that treated tubers did not show a negative effect as far as germination is concerned when planted as seed. The material is said to be easily removed by washing prior to cooking since it does not penetrate the skin of tubers and thus does not pose a food safety risk. Although not commercialized at this point in time, the new material does seem to be of interest to those who specializes in potato sprout inhibitors. An abstract of the research and contact details can be found on the website of the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering journal.
A digital version of the Third Edition of the Store Manager’s Guide is now available and can be downloaded as a pdf file from the AHDB Potatoes website in the UK (a print version will be available in autumn 2018). The Guide was written by Adrian Cunnington, Head of Crop Storage Research at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research. Cunnington writes in the introduction to the Guide that potato storage is a key element of modern-day potato production, looking to fulfill the demands of many markets. “It can be practised successfully, but it must also be acknowledged that storage poses a risk. Its success depends on how well that risk is managed and, ultimately, whether the customer for the crop in question is delivered the quality for which they are prepared to pay.” Store management is a complex process, he says. The 48 page easy-read Guide contains new simplified checklists, updated data and graphs, and links to key tools: storage cost calculator and Farmbench. Download here
AHDB Potatoes and Agri-Tech East are are jointly hosting an event this coming Wednesday 20 June to showcase some of the newest technologies and innovations in post-harvest management and storage. The meeting will be hosted at the Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, Lincs. From rapid refrigeration to seed cleaning, and from electronic noses to automated environmental control systems, good post-harvest management systems are vital to prevent deterioration and retain the value of the harvested crop. This event will explore new innovations being used to help maintain the quality and integrity of the crop post-harvest, for short and long-term storage. There is also the option for a tour of the facilities to see first-hand the research programmes underway at Sutton Bridge, and the chance to meet Laura Bouvet, our latest new recruit who is working jointly with Agri-Tech East and the AHDB. Presentations by Adrian Cunnington, Head of Crop Storage Research, AHDB; Ronnie Laing, Managing Director, Omnivent; Kees Wijngaarden, Area Sales Manager, Tolsma Storage and others. To register please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information on this page
“Potatoes in storage are living. It is the job of the storage manager to ensure the crop sustains that life,” writes storage specialist Duane Gorman in the Potatoes in Canada magazine. He points out that after a final holding temperature is achieved in storage, it is important to ventilate properly in order to manage the byproducts of respiration, ensure a uniform temperature and an ideal environment for the duration of the storage period, which will maximize the value of the crop. Condition and end use of the crop, as well as the airflow capacity of the ventilation system are all factors that will lend to a ventilation schedule. Ventilation should be kept to a minimum as overventilation or recreational ventilation will cause unnecessary weight loss and increased power consumption. In addition to temperature, the second byproduct, carbon dioxide, must also be managed. Carbon dioxide is known to have a darkening effect on processed end products, such as chips and fries. Despite the temptation to overventilate, as a result of fear of condensation or hot spots, storage managers must take care to ventilate only as required. Read the full article
In the latest issue of AHDB Potatoes’ regular Storage Bulletin, it is noted that potato tubers are living organisms that go through a number of physiological processes
during storage, such as respiration and dormancy. These processes are affected by a
variety of factors, which determine the quality of your potatoes and their resulting value
in your market of choice. It is therefore crucial to regularly sample and assess the quality
of your potatoes during storage, to identify and address any problems before it is too late.
The authors of the Storage Bulletin highlight a couple of known examples in this month’s bulletin: blackheart and senescent sweetening. Continue reading
In 1967, Barry South and his brothers David and Randy came up with an idea for a business that changed the shape of potato cellars for some eastern Idaho growers — they wanted to construct domes. The inspiration for the idea, however, might be an even bigger surprise. “This guy made him a mountain cabin out of spraying polyurethane on a weather balloon,” South said. “The thought then came to us that we could build a much larger dome if the concrete was the strength of the dome instead of the polyurethane.” The brothers came across a new method of spraying hardened plaster on domes. This helped increase the strength and stability of the structure. What resulted from there became Dome Technology. In its 51-year history, Dome Technology has built structures in 30 countries and every U.S. state. And most of the design, planning, and manufacturing for these projects happens in Idaho Falls. More
What factors can help potato improve storage conditions and reducing loss as much as possible? Potato Business Digital spoke with specialists from Tolsma and Agrovent to find out. When designing a new cold storage one should think about the following things, Jan van Maldegem, marketing manager at Tolsma-Grisnich, explains that different varieties with different storage temperatures (for example creating independent climate zones depending on the susceptibility of varieties for sugar accumulation or different respiration levels); logistics (limiting fork lift traffic so this will improve efficiency and limit the labor and heat production of the fork lift in the cold storage. Also easy access to different crops without taking out many others is a thing to think about… More
A big 2017 crop of tablestock potatoes and trucking woes have led to lower prices and concerns about how northern Red River Valley storage sheds still filled with spuds will be emptied in coming weeks. “In June, we’ll have a feel for it,” says Paul Dolan, general manager and chief executive officer for Associated Potato Growers in Grand Forks, of the storage situation. He calls the situation a “perfect storm” of market consequences. Associated Potato handles about 30 percent of the valley’s “fresh” or tablestock potatoes and is the largest player in the regional market. High yields in the Red River Valley last year were followed by a near-record crop in Florida that have helped drive prices down. Truck driver shortages and a new electronic logging system for driver hours have exacerbated the marketing challenge for potatoes in the Red River Valley and elsewhere. A strong economy overall has meant more competition for trucking and drivers. More
AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research has announced the launch of a new potato storage service called VarietyCheck for the forthcoming season. According to AHDB, new regulations on acrylamide and fewer sprout suppressants it is more important than ever to get the right storage conditions for your variety of choice. The new service will be tailored to crop variety and dormancy, as well as end use. The VarietyCheck service will objectively assess grower’s new varieties or potato stocks under defined and accurately controlled storage conditions with processing or fresh pack storage options. For processing crops, selecting a variety with long dormancy and an ability to store at lower temperature without sweetening helps your customers overcome these challenges. Similarly, for fresh pack varieties, maintaining appearance and avoiding black heart are high on markets’ wish-lists. Please contact Adrian Briddon on 01406 359412 to discuss your VarietyCheck requirements.
Laura Bouvet has been appointed Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator for Agri-Tech East and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB); the first time the two organisations have collaborated in this way. As part of the new jointly funded role, Laura will support a number of innovation projects with growers – drawing on her extensive knowledge of plant pathology, genomics and advanced breeding. Her knowledge will be highly beneficial for her work with AHDB, which will focus on its Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR) facility, which provides controlled environment facilities for research into optimum crop storage conditions. Sprout suppression in potatoes is an area of particular interest for growers. Dr Rob Clayton, AHDB Strategy Director for Potatoes, says: “This is a crucial time for Laura Bouvet to join the SBCSR team to help address the immediate challenges facing our growers and store managers. “We already know some of our stores use three times more energy than others and it’s compromising productivity and an individual’s bottom line.” More
The latest Potato Weekly report issued by AHDB Potatoes has been published earlier today, and the full report can be accessed on the AHDB website. In the report growers are reminded to take note of the upcoming Strategic Potato Farm event in East Yorks next week. It is noted that potato stores have done their job the past week and quality is generally reported to be holding up well after last week’s cold spell. Produce in ambient stores not reporting any major issues. There were some reports of breakdown in Melody and Ramos in the West and East respectively and some early sprouting in the South. There is a risk that produce in transit for export may have suffered from the cold, but it is too early to tell and more information will become available when it comes off the boats. Movement has recovered after the weather disruption last week with plentiful available supplies in stores. Trade in Scotland was challenging this week with snow preventing some deliveries, particularly in the east. The market itself remains flat, although M Piper was reportedly moving well. Exports to the Canaries were reportedly steady this week. Read the full Potato Weekly report
Fans of colorful, alliterative language may like “silver scurf.” Not Red River Valley potato growers; they see the crop disease as a growing threat. “I’m getting more questions about it at harvest,” said Andy Robinson, Fargo, N.D.-based potato extension agronomist for both North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. He helped to organize potato educational sessions during the recent International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., and brought in Amanda Gevens to speak on the crop disease on Feb. 22. Gevens, a professor in the plant pathology department at the University of Wisconsin, also is seeing more cases of silver scurf. She described the disease “as gray, silver and shiny patches” that are “more obvious on red and purples,” but seen on yellow and russet potatoes, too. Silver scurf, caused by a fungus, is a common potato disease and found in all major production areas of the United States, including the Red River Valley of western Minnesota and northeast North Dakota. More
John Walsh, Associate Principal Scientist, Potato Storage at McCain Foods, presented on the effects of low levels of CIPC on seed potato performance during last week’s International Potato Technology Expo on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. Walsh told attendees that CIPC, also known as Chlorpropham, has been an affordable and effective sprout inhibitor of potatoes for more than 60 years. “Thirty years ago, most potato growers in Maine, New Brunswick and PEI grew a small amount of seed to use on their farms. They always had one seed storage for both holding and cutting the seed prior to planting,” he said. “As growers became more specialized, many converted their seed storages to processing or table storages and began using CIPC to control sprouting. Unfortunately, that left many without a specialized, CIPC-free, building where they could cut their seed. Instead, they would clean and disinfect the CIPC-treated storage before moving seed in for cutting, curing and holding the seed prior to planting.” Continue reading
All recent stockpile inventories taken in the NEPG countries (North-Western European Potato Growers) have indicated that real potato stocks are higher compared to last season. They are also higher with regard to the five-year average. With 6% more acreage in the North-West and an 11% higher yield than last year, there are currently too many potatoes. This imbalance between supply and demand is having a negative impact on current free market prices. This is despite the processing industry showing a growth of 15% in production over the past five years. The supply still, however, exceeds demand. This is partly due to these low-quality products, which were not processed at an earlier stage, still being continually supplied. The processing side’s activities are good, but almost all the extra potatoes needed are supplied from contracted potatoes. Based on the current situation, lower contract prices for processing potatoes are expected for the coming season. More
Use of the growth regulators MH (maleic hydrazide) and CIPC (chlorpropham) are integral to the potato industry, but there is always room for improvement – and even new avenues of use as the chipping industry evolves. According to Mark VanOostrum, potato supply and quality manager at WD Potato Limited in Ontario, growers are generally very careful to apply MH at the right time, but he says there is a tendency to be too late with MH application timing compared with too early. “That curbs the potential benefits, often due to the fact we usually time our MH with a fungicide application on a seven-day interval,” he explains. VanOostrum and George Burkholder (president of consulting firm Ag Services in Mitchell, Ont.) both agree that using CIPC in addition to MH can provide better sprouting inhibition success compared to just using MH. “The combination is bullet proof,” says Burkholder. He also mentions Smartblock, a new product that boosts CIPC’s effectiveness. More