As Adam Clarke reports in this Farmers Weekly article, potato producers are facing tricky times, with ballooning costs squeezing profits and seasonal staff increasingly difficult to source since the UK left the EU. To make itself more resilient to these issues Cornish producer EW Button & Son recently invested in a state-of-the-art potato-grading line with an optical sorter.
This has not only optimised labour use, but has also improved yield and made harvest, storage and delivery of the maincrop and salad potatoes much more efficient, which, in turn, has increased profits.
The result, after installing a grading line from potato processing, grading and handling specialist Haith – that has twice the output of the old system – is that a 14t trailer-load of salad potatoes that used to take an hour to process is now finished in about 30min.
This is achieved with a 2,400mm-wide SupaFlow receiving hopper, which feeds the crop into an eight-row Evolution separator of the same width for initial cleaning of loose soil, clods and haulm. The crop then heads through the line’s high-tech pièce de résistance, which is a 2,400mm Tomra 3A optical sorter.