US: Impact of CIPC use under review by the EPA

Image result for cipc potato sprout inhibitorAs a part of a Registration Review process, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US is reviewing the data associated with the use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) – the major sprout inhibitor used in the potato industry. The Task Force representing the companies that manufacture and sell CIPC are actively working with EPA to provide any additional data to support the continued registration of this important compound. The output of the models used by EPA to evaluate any potential impacts of the use of CIPC on applicators, the environment or human health, depends on the accuracy of the assumptions about use patterns. EPA initially assumed that 100 per cent of the crop is treated. The National Potato Council (NPC) provided comments that questioned that assumption. Based on the percentage of the crop used for seed and that used directly from the field after harvest, NPC estimated that between 55 and 65 percent of the potato crop is treated with CIPC. These comments encouraged EPA to use that estimate, or per cent crop treated, as they evaluated the use of CIPC. (Source: National Potato Council)

Europe: Potato DNA markers could keep potatoes in storage fresher for longer

EU-funded scientists have discovered genetic markers that could allow potatoes to be selected for their ability to be stored at low temperatures, keeping them fresh and avoiding the use of anti-sprouting chemicals. Potatoes used for crisps and chips are usually stored at eight degrees – a temperature high enough to prevent starch from breaking down into glucose and fructose. To slow sprouting, potato producers often use a suppressant like chlorpropham, a chemical the EU is looking to phase out due to health concerns. Hoping to find an alternative to chemical sprout suppressors, the EU-funded GENSPI (Genomic Selection for Potato Improvement) project has developed a genetic marker system to identify plants that display a resistance to glucose and fructose formation. Their tubers can be stored at three or four degrees, low enough to keep sprout growth at bay for very long periods. More

British potato stock levels in stores significantly higher

Image result for potato storageAHDB announced yesterday that GB potato stock levels for the end of November are estimated at 3.6M tonnes, the highest level for this point in the season since 2011/12. Amber Cottingham, Analyst for AHDB Potatoes, said: “Last December we estimated the GB production figures to be up by around 15 per cent, at 6.04 million tonnes, so the increase in stocks held in store has been expected.” The high production in the 2017 growing season was the result of a five per cent increase in planted area to 122,779 ha coupled with one of the highest average yields on record (49.3 t/ha). With much of the season still to come, high production figures suggest that it is unlikely that potato supply will be as tight as it was over the previous two seasons. Amber said: “We are aware that there have been storage quality issues reported, which could impact volume of the marketable stocks later in the season.”   Continue reading

US: Company on cutting edge of protecting stored potatoes with ‘humigator’ technology

IHT is Small Business Development Center Success StoryIn 1985, Garry Isaacs invented a piece of equipment he called a humigator. He patented it and started a company in Blackfoot six years ago called Idaho Hydro Tech (IHT) to manufacture it. The name is a combination of fumigator and humidifier, which describes the two functions of the invention. Three years ago he retired and his son, Blake took over. Isaacs is proud of the capabilities of his father’s invention, especially its ability to remove potato pathogens from the air using only water and physics. “We can remove 350 million mold spores and four trillion bacteria per gallon of water collected,” he explained. The humigator uses a patented “venturi scrubber” to remove mold spores and bacteria from the air inside a potato storage facility without the use of physical filters or chemicals. It does this while maintaining humidity inside the storage facility. The patented process used by the humigator depends solely on the physics of water and air inside the venturi scrubber. More

Managing weight loss in potato storages

By now, potatoes in most of the U.S. and Canada have been in storage two months or longer. The crop is at holding temperatures specific to the cultivar and use. Storages are being monitored for disease development, desired temperature, ventilation and humidity. According to Nora Olsen and Mary Jo Frazier at the University of Idaho, what isn’t as easy to see is the amount of weight loss, or shrinkage, that is occurring in storage. Stored potatoes will lose weight from respiration (carbon and water loss), transpiration (direct water loss) and disease. Transpiration water loss is the greatest factor in weight loss unless high levels of disease are present – then that becomes the greatest contributor, especially if caused by any of the water rots. In small-scale research trials, weight loss was dependent upon initial curing temperatures, and 55 to 70 per cent of the total weight loss occurred in the first 30 days. In general, about three per cent weight loss was seen in the first month. Total weight loss after five months was about five per cent. Having information on weight loss, even after the fact, can help identify ways to manage the crop in future years. More

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