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

Developing wireless sensor technologies to fight potato rot in storage facilities

Image result for potato storageIn 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 commercial industry partners to develop a wireless sensor network that would be able to detect temperature, humidity levels, and carbon dioxide and ammonia levels in real time in storage facilities, to help with early detection of potato rot. The cloud-enabled sensor system will feature three-dimensional hot spot visualization and help predict on-coming rot or deteriorating quality of stored potatoes. Continue reading

Lamb Weston starts building new storage center

Lamb Weston broke ground this month on a USD3.4m storage center in Pasco, Washington, USA. The 50,000sqf building is keyed to an expansion of the frozen potato giant’s Richland manufacturing center, where it is investing USD200mto build a second French fry line. It is the largest buyer of Washington-grown potatoes. “With the expansion in Richland, we’re going to need more potatoes, so we’re going to need more potato storage,” explained Shelby Stoolman, spokeswoman for Lamb Weston, according to the local press. Construction in Richland is on track to open the line this fall as planned, Stoolman said. More

Great Britain’s potato stocks at similar level as last year

Great Britain’s grower-held potato stock levels at the end of March 2017 were at 1Mt, around the same volume as the end-March 2016 and 300Kt less than the end-March 2015 according to an AHDB estimate. Despite the similarity in stock levels, any repeat of the high prices seen in 2016 will depend on a number of factors including availability of purchasers own stocks, quality of stored stocks and growing conditions for the current season. Acording to Amber Cottingham, Analyst at AHDB Potatoes, “2015/16 saw some very high prices paid towards the end of the season, as it became apparent that planting would be late and harvest was likely to follow suit, which extended the 2015/16 storage season. Conditions for ambient storage were also reportedly very poor, due to the mild winter, which meant many stocks had to be sold off earlier than anticipated to prevent loss from quality issues.” Continue reading

UK: January potato stocks reach parity with 2016 levels

GB potato stock levels at the end of January were at a similar level to the same point in 2016, despite a four-year low yield, according an AHDB survey of grower stocks. The figure suggests a slowing in drawdown rates between the end of November and January, says AHDB Analyst, Amber Cottingham. The survey result estimated GB potato stock levels at the end of January at 1.9Mt. This is similar to the same point in the season last year and around 350Kt less than at the end of January 2015. November stock levels were tracking ahead of last season suggesting that the drawdown on stocks between the end of November 2016 and the end of January 2017 was 965Kt. This compares to a drawdown of 1,243Kt for the corresponding period last year, a significant drop of 278Kt.  Continue reading

Prepping problem potatoes for long-term storage

For the best chance of long-term storage success, potato tubers at harvest should be dry, disease free, and uniformly 48 to 60°F. Reality is rarely so kind, however. A wide variety of field and environmental factors often contribute to tubers entering storage in less than ideal condition. Tubers can be wet, infected with disease and/or too hot or too cold. In some cases, daily and hourly temperature fluctuations mean over-warm and over-cold tubers can be present in the same pile. Luckily, all is not lost when tubers enter storage in less than perfect condition: with extra care and attention these tubers can be conditioned for storage success. Successful storage begins before the year’s crop comes out of the ground. To prep a facility for incoming tubers, all remnants of any previous crop including soil and dust must be removed and the building fully disinfected. Then, consider disease. Assessing disease risk depends on both one’s knowledge of field history and one’s careful attention. Know what is going into storage. More

The ins and outs of potato storage

In potatoes, the factors that affect storage performance include environment, your agronomy, varietal traits, disease, and harvest and management practices.Post-harvest potato storage expert Todd Forbush of Techmark Inc. in Lansing, Mich., says quality potato storage requires just two things: quality storage facilities and quality potatoes to store. “Neither will meet their potential without both working successfully together,” he says. The first step is to evaluate your existing facility to decide if it needs just an upgrade or something different entirely. When evaluating an existing structure, you need to look at its location, the structure itself, its insulation system, its ventilation systems and the controls. “Why is it that we have a ventilation system in potato storage?” Forbush asks. Because you want to create a uniform environment, while at the same time maintaining proper potato temperature. You also want to provide oxygen for respiration and remove carbon dioxide from respiration. The second part of the quality potato storage equation is the potato itself. In potatoes, the factors that affect storage performance include environment, your agronomy, varietal traits, disease and harvest and management practices. The most important factor in determining storage performance is variety. More

India: Demand for low sugar content potato rising

Demand of Malwa grown low sugar grade (LSG) potatoes is increasing at a rate of about 10 per cent per annum by food processing units across India. As per the market estimate, the demand of low sugar grade potatoes has surged to 27 lakh tonne from 7 lakh tonne in 2001 mainly by chips and snacks makers. LSG potatoes are stored under a specific temperature so that starch does not get converted into glucose and fructose making them sweet. Malwa is a leading potatoes growing region with an estimated production of about 20 lakh tonne of which 3 lakh tonne is stored under LSG technology. Ravi Prakash Agrawal, DGM at a cold storage unit said, “Normal potatoes are stored at a temperature of two to four degree Celsius but for reducing the sugar content potatoes have to be stored at eight to ten degree Celsius.” Industry experts expect that by the year 2020, production of Malwa potatoes is expected to touch 30 lakh tonnes. More

US: New research lab to study genetics of potatoes to prevent losses while in storage

Patricia Santos and Dylan Kosma in their labThe University of Nevada Reno’s plant biology tag team, Dylan Kosma and Patricia Santos, are searching for ways to reduce potato crop losses during storage. The University’s Kosma-Santos lab, in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, was recently awarded a $1.37 million grant by the National Science Foundation to investigate the molecular-genetics and biochemistry that underlies potato crop losses during tuber storage. As the number one vegetable crop in the United States and a top five crop for the state of Nevada, potato crop losses can be economically devastating to farmers and the potato industry as a whole. A large proportion of these crop losses are due to factors such as rapid water loss and disease while in storage. “Even a 5 percent reduction in potato losses during storage would improve the economic return for the producers and the potato industry by $170 million,” Kosma said. The research delves into comprehending how different potato varieties can have different storage lives. More

Canada: Potato Management Workshops to be held in Alberta next month

Alberta Agriculture, in partnership with the Potato Growers of Alberta, is holding a number of potato post-harvest management workshops next month. Rob Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture, explains who these workshops are for and what participants will learn. Listen to an Interview with Rob Spencer (3:09 minutes). The potato post-harvest management workshops are being held March 7 in Lethbridge, March 8 in Lacombe, and March 9 in Westlock. To register call 1-800-387-6030. You are asked to do so by February 28.

Final countdown to make British potato stores CIPC compliant for 2017

potato storeTime is rapidly running out to make sure potato stores comply with new rules on using chlorpropham (CIPC), which require the sprout suppressant to be applied using “active recirculation” at new lower rates. As of July 2017, all spud stores will need to further restrict the maximum CIPC dose that is applied to potatoes to prevent sprouting. From the summer, rates for processing potatoes must fall below a new 36g/t limit while fresh market spuds can only be treated with up to 24g/t of the fumigant. The chemical is a vital tool to control sprouting and is applied to about 3.5m tonnes of potatoes stored each year. Since 2012 the potato industry has gradually reduced the amount of CIPC that is applied to stored crops after concerns over residue levels. To help growers and store owners comply with the new legislation, the CIPC Stewardship Group has launched a new technical guide. The new guide is now available to download as a PDF from the CIPC stewardship website. Farmers Weekly report

McCain Foods plans UK job cuts

French fry manufacturer McCain Foods has confirmed plans to shed jobs at its dry and cold store operations at its Scarborough facility in the UK. Bill Bartlett, Corporate Affairs Director for McCain Foods, said: “Built over 45 years ago, the cold store at the McCain Scarborough site is coming to the end of its serviceable life and no longer remains economically viable to maintain and operate. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the overall facilities at Scarborough, and following a review of both cold and dry store requirements on site, the Company proposes, subject to consultation, to close the Scarborough stores in their current format over the coming months and outsource its requirements to third party expertise.” More

Video: Agri-Technology – What will potato stores of the future look like?

This is the opinion of potato storage specialist Todd Forbush from the US. He is discussing his ideas on the future of potato storage facilities, relying on data gathered during the contact he had with many potato growers in several countries around the world, surveying many of them. Watch the video and listen to the presentation here.

Potato Storage: Ventilating correctly after cool-down pays off

Image result for potato storageAdequate ventilation, done in order to manage the by-products of respiration and maintain a uniform pile temperature, is critical to managing one’s potato pile through long-term storage. Yet, over-ventilation can cause significant quality and weight loss, as well as increasing power consumption unnecessarily. Potato tubers oxidize glucose in their mitochondria to produce the nutrients that keep them viable through dormancy. Successful long-term tuber storage depends on maintaining a uniform humidity and temperature throughout the pile. The ideal relative humidity for dry, healthy tubers is 92 to 97 per cent, and 80 to 90 per cent for wet, leaky tubers. For most varieties and end-uses, the temperature differential between the top and bottom of an 18’ pile should not exceed 1.5 C (2.7 F). Certain processing varieties require a smaller differential. Consult with industry experts to determine differential recommendations for your varieties. More.
See also related articles:
Optimal tuber cooling a key step towards pile management.
Ventilation in early storage key to long-term storage success

Australia: McCain to move into state-of-the-art robotic cold storage facility in Melbourne

NewColdMcCain Foods Australia today announced a contract agreement with cold storage provider NewCold. NewCold’s will manage the storage and handling of McCain’s frozen products at the storage provider’s new warehouse in Truganina, Melbourne, as part of a 10-year agreement commencing in July 2017. Louis Wolthers, Regional President for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China at McCain Food said that the McCain team is keen to see the outcomes of the new agreement take effect. “From a sustainability perspective, through the use of the warehouses’ highly controlled in-and-outflows combined with efficient cooling equipment, energy usage per pallet stored is up to 50 per cent lower compared to a conventional storage option,” he said. More

Canada: Manitoba potato producers store record crop

Potato producers in Manitoba seem to be getting better with each passing year. That from Carman-area producer Jason Kehler, who grows about 850 acres of the processing variety for Simplot and McCain. 2016 was a record year for many potato growers thanks to cool, wet weather conditions and an early planting season. However, with the large crop, storage has been in issue for many producers. “We had just enough room,” said Kehler. “I ended up having to leave probably about five acres in the field, so we cut it pretty fine. We filled everything up corner to corner, front to back….It’s only a good a crop if you can store it.” He says late blight was also an issue for many producers this season. Continue reading

‘Humigator’ helps potatoes stay disease-free, not shrink

Video thumbnail for Humigator helps potatoes stay disease-free, not shrinkA local invention called a “humigator” is helping potato growers across the country have yearlong control over their potatoes. Garry Isaacs, the creator of the humigator, developed the first prototype in 1985. He said the name is a combination of the words humid and fumigator. Its primary function is to clean the air of potato storage sites, by doing so the pathogens known for inflicting diseases like silver scurf and black dot disease are taken out. Isaacs said this is an organic process accomplished without the use of chemicals. “Nobody has ever thought to remove the pathogens in the air until we came along,” he said. The technology does so by mimicking the natural process for rain. The humigator sucks in the air and blends it with a little water. It’s then brought to the machine’s tank and the clean humid air is released. While the humigator has helped many growers prevent diseases in their potatoes — it also helps preventing other things from happening from the vegetable. More

US: Invention cleans air in spud cellars

John O’Connell/Capital Press
Garry Isaacs stands inside his Chubbuck, Idaho, shop with a humigation machine. The machine, popular in potato storages, rids the air of particulates while increasing humidity.Reed Searle says he’s found a cost-effective way to rid potatoes in storage of diseases without using additional chemicals. The Shelley, Idaho, farmer has installed machines called “humigators” — invented by businessman Garry Isaacs and manufactured in a small, local shop — in all seven of his potato cellars. Isaacs’ invention continuously recirculates the air, removing pathogens and particulates while boosting humidity, which also reduces losses to tuber shrinkage. Searle, who raises red and yellow potatoes, once struggled to protect spuds in long-term storage from silver scurf and black dot. “Since I’ve used (humigation), I have not had that problem,” Searle said. “This is about the only thing that really gives you season-long control.” Isaacs, founder of Isaacs Hydropermutation Technologies, developed the prototype of his invention in 1985, initially planning to use it for industrial emissions control. More

Lower Saxony, Germany: Potatoes too hot for storage

Potato farmers in Lower Saxony, Germany, start the potato harvest with expectations of an average yield. After a difficult growing period with a lot of rain, farmers now have to cope with heat and drought. “With this hot weather, potatoes are too warm to store immediately,” states Thorsten Riggert of Landvolk in Lower Saxony. The quality of the harvest is good and the expected yield is average, just as the grain harvest. The surface area of 102,400 hectares used to cultivate potatoes in Lower Saxony has decreased slightly compared to the previous year. This is the case for both consumer potatoes and processing potatoes in different regions of this German state. In 2015 potatoes were cultivated on an area of 105,900 hectares. In the whole of Germany the acreage for potato cultivation decreased by 0.6% to 235,500 hectares. Farmers had to irrigate the crops during the dry period in the past few weeks and the cost of the irrigation is considerable.

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New warehouse to double Monte Vista Potato Growers’ capacity

jasonmvpgnewbuildingThe new 15,000-square-foot warehouse and new line at Monte Vista Potato Growers will double the grower-shipper’s capabilities, according to General Manager Jason Tillman. In mid-August construction was well under way, and Tillman said the building will be ready by Oct. 15 and the first loads of this year’s crop. “Our harvest will start in late August or early September,” Tillman said, noting it is about a week to 10 days early this year. “We’ll finish harvest Oct. 1,” he added. Optimistic about the new season, Tillman said MVPG shipped its last loads of 2015-16 spuds in June to make way for the construction. He said the line includes two automated Celox sizer/sorters. “An Idaho company is building our conveyors, and a local company is doing the tanks and installation,” Tillman said. The equipment is all controlled remotely. More

North America: Top 5 potato storage diseases

Tubers infected with late blight. PHOTO: EUGENIA BANKSPotato growers are familiar with the expression ‘a potato storage is not a hospital’, which reflects the simple truth that diseased potatoes going into storage are not going to get better. It is essential that growers carefully monitor potatoes going into storage and keep a close eye on storage conditions to keep infections from spreading to maintain the value of their crop. It’s also important to understand that managing potato diseases in storage is both an art and a science. As Steven Johnson, crop specialist with the University of Maine, puts it: “Storage management is not just following general guidelines and recommendations. Every storage manager will be faced with situations requiring special management techniques and corrective measures. This is the art of potato storage management.” The top five storage diseases that require continuous vigilance during the storage period are: late blight; pink rot; Pythium leak; fusarium dry rot and soft rot. More

UK: Potato sprout suppressant limits cut again this autumn

PotatoesThe maximum limit for a key sprout suppressant has been further reduced for the coming spud storage season, farmers are being warned. This reduction is part of the gradual annual reduction in CIPC (chlorpropham) rates in order to prevent further cases of it being found in fresh and processed potatoes, thus securing its future use. CIPC is a vital tool for the potato industry in preventing sprouting, as there are no real alternatives available. But residues were being found in potatoes and back in 2007, The Advisory Committee on Pesticides raised concerns over CIPC. This prompted the industry to establish a stewardship scheme and one of the measures in recent years has been the reduction in maximum limits. More

Potato Storage: Hotel or Hospital?

The U.S. potato industry estimates losses during storage at right around 7 percent. Much of this is due to lost water, which is one of the reasons that high relative humidity (RH) is recommended for storing potatoes. Most weight loss also occurs during the first two weeks in storage, before the tuber skin has completely matured. Unfortunately, little to none of this moisture loss can ever be recovered, but there are some things that can be done to minimize it. One of the most frequent mistakes growers make is to harvest potatoes when conditions are too warm. After the potatoes have been gently placed in storage, suberization and wound healing are key tools in the battle to prevent storage losses. I can’t take credit for this phrase, but it pretty well sums up the challenge of storage management: “A potato storage is a hotel, not a hospital.” In other words, you can’t improve the condition of your potatoes during storage. However, with good management, you can keep them from getting any worse. Philip Nolte, Univ of Idaho. More