Taking potato storage seriously pays dividends

Image result for potato storageBritish potato growers are being advised by AHDB Potatoes to put as much effort into storage planning as they do into the rest of the growing season. Ewan Stark, Director of Taygrow, delivered the message at a recent AHDB potato storage event held in Perth. This message was echoed by storage experts from AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research facility who have been working with growers across Britain to improve stores as part of their Storage 2020 campaign. As part of the campaign, AHDB launched its StoreCheck service, which analyses a grower’s store or stores and offers practical advice on how to improve performance and efficiency. Stores Manager at Greenvale AP, John Hutchison, was quick to recognise the value of such a service. “I manage 24 stores for Greenvale,” John said, “and we saw the StoreCheck service as a way to ensure they were as efficient as possible. “After the assessment we invested £20,000 in a store upgrade, which dramatically improved our energy costs and plant running time. Read more

Diquat doomed: The loss of this important desiccant in Europe

Image result for potato desiccantDespite significant dissent from some Member States, a recent ‘no opinion’ position in a Brussels Appeal Committee reviewing proposals for the non-renewal of approval for diquat (Reglone) looks set to result in the loss of this important desiccant next year. This is according to information published in the latest AHDB Storage Bulletin in the UK. In the Appeal Committee, a ‘no opinion’ position means the European Commission is able to adopt the proposal under its own authority. Proposals can only be rejected in the Appeal Committee if there is a qualified majority vote against. The NFU have recently reported that “It is expected that within the next few weeks the EU will officially publish the regulations banning the active. Read more in the latest AHDB Storage Bulletin

10 ways to improve potato storage management

A man with a torch inspects potatoes in a dark storeStorage is a crucial part of the potato production cycle, helping growers meet the demand for their crops throughout the year, but if carried out poorly it can be economically disastrous. About 3.25m tonnes of British potatoes are stored every year and crops can spend as long in the store as they do in the ground. Done well, potatoes will come out of store in perfect condition meeting processor specifications. However, done badly, tubers can spoil or even rot in stores with losses rapidly mounting up. To help get things right, the AHDB has updated its Potato Store Managers’ Guide to provide the most recent and comprehensive advice for potato store managers. Adrian Cunnington, the guide’s author and the head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, highlights the key updates that will help improve storage practices for the upcoming season and beyond. Read the full article on FWI

Key factors to successful storage and preventing common potato diseases

Recently dug up potatoes during harvestAccording to Industrial Ventilation Inc (IVI), a storage technology company based in Idaho, the two critical environmental factors involved in properly storing potatoes and preventing common potato diseases are temperature and humidity. Adequate and unrestricted air movement is also necessary to maintain constant temperature and humidity throughout the storage pile—and to prevent excessive shrinkage from moisture loss and decay. Several factors influence temperature management for stored potatoes, and storage temperature affects key aspects of successful storage, including the curing and wound healing processes, disease spread and severity, the sugar-starch relationships, and respiration, which in turn influences dormancy or sprouting, and weight loss. Bruising and cuts can occur during harvesting and handling, and wound healing is critical in order to minimize the entry areas for ever-threatening organisms of potato diseases. Read more

Canada: Newtec potato grader simultaneously sorts by quality, size and shape

Celox-P-UHDDavid Main, biologist at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada on Prince Edward Island, is evaluating a new potato grader for potatoes this year. The machine is a Celox-P-UHD from Newtec. Main says a number of potato growers on Prince Edward Island are using Newtec’s Celox sorting machines now. The grader is designed to sort potatoes by size, shape and quality in a single-stage process. It sorts washed potatoes directly, eliminating the need for pre-grading and minimising the need for manual labor, whilst ensuring consistent quality and high throughput. Up to 13 categories of products can be sorted out simultaneously. Sorting criteria for these categories are instantly customisable according to the current needs. Premium product selections can effortlessly be sorted out of bulk produce.  Continue reading

Tiny but effective: Researchers developed new nano-material as potato sprout inhibitor

Related imageIn 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.

Potato store management is ‘a complex process,’ says author of new guide for store managers

Related imageA 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

Upcoming AHDB Potatoes event to showcase newest post harvest and storage technologies

Image result for ahdb potatoes storageAHDB 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 becky.dodds@agritech-east.co.ukFurther information on this page

Breath of Life: How to optimize ventilation in potato storage facilities

Related image“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

Blackheart and senescent sweetening: Two serious physiological issues with potato tubers during storage

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

Idaho dome manufacturer building potato structures across the world

Image result for Idaho Dome Manufacturer Building Structures Across the WorldIn 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

Potato storage builders offer exclusive advice

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

US: Big crops, trucking woes hurting spud prices

043018.AG.RRVPotatoShipping04.jpgA 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

New storage service launched for British potato growers

Related imageAHDB’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.

UK: New Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator to help address potato storage challenges

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