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

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