Equipment/Technology

Tong announces record sales of next generation barrel washer

Tong Engineering has announced record sales of the company’s next generation stainless steel Barrel Washer throughout 2020. Sales of the company’s advanced Barrel Washers have been boosted in the UK and export markets by an increase in orders for the new, advanced design which was launched early last year, according to Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. Built with efficiency, reliability, and ease of maintenance in mind, Tong’s proven barrel washer design has been enhanced with several advanced features as standard including a new direct-drive, inverter-controlled barrel drive shaft with heavy duty coupling.

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Update and minor facelift for the Dewulf R3060 harvester series

Dewulf, full-liner in machines for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops, have fitted their renowned R3060 series sieving harvesters with several updates. Every new R3060 is now equipped with a brand new, more environmentally friendly Scania Stage V engine. To further optimise the engine performance, the engine compartment also got a new grille for improved heat management. In the cabin, the driver’s comfort has also been further improved, thanks to new HD monitors and cameras.

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GIC packaging company expands; director celebrates 21 years’ service

The director of GIC Ltd in the UK has celebrated 21 years’ service by finalising a five-figure expansion project that will increase his company’s production facility by 25%. GIC works extensively with potato and fresh produce packers. Andy Beal joined GIC in Gainsborough at the end of August 1999, becoming the packaging machinery manufacturer’s managing director following a management buyout in 2007. This month, Andy signed off on the building of a new mezzanine floor at GIC’s factory, which will add 100 square metres to the company’s production area.

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VITO launches the 2020 interactive online crop map for Belgium

In a recent blog post, VITO Remote Sensing announced that it has produced an annual interactive crop map for Belgium for the third consecutive year. The crop map shows the main crop type on each individual field cultivated in the 2020 growing season and is openly available via an interactive online viewer. Just as was done for the 2018 and 2019 maps, VITO Remote Sensing deployed its automatic field boundary detection tool based on Sentinel-2 imagery and a convolutional neural network to precisely delineate the fields.

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Innovative Farmers programme: Deceiving potato cyst nematodes with trap crops

Through the Innovative Farmers programme, four farmers located in Shropshire and Lancashire in the UK are looking at an alternative control method that uses plants known as trap crops that naturally ward off potato cyst nematodes (PCN). Trap crops are better described as ‘deceiving’ rather than ‘trapping’ plants. The chemicals released from the trap crop roots signal the presence of suitable food and trigger the nematodes to emerge from their safe hiding place in the cyst. The nematodes begin feeding on the trap plant roots instead of the potatoes, ahead of potato cropping.

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LOCKWOOD/SS Equipment hire Justin Benzel for Columbia Basin service

LOCKWOOD Manufacturing has expanded its service reach for customers in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. SS Equipment, LOCKWOOD’s service dealer in the area, hired Justin Benzel as a dedicated LOCKWOOD service technician. “We’re proud to expand both our sales and service support for potato growers of the region,” said Dan Birrenkott, president of Crary Industries and LOCKWOOD Manufacturing.

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Post-CIPC: Potato storage experts give tips on how to minimise losses this season

British potato growers have entered some uncharted waters this season, as they cope with the first season without desiccant diquat for many years. In addition, spuds are now being loaded into store, with no prospect of treatment using the cheap, but now-banned sprout suppressant CIPC, adding further uncertainty to the production process this year. Two potato storage experts give tips on how to minimise losses as we enter the 2020-21 storage period: Norfolk-based storage specialist Tim Kitson of Potato Solutions, and Adrian Cunnington, head of AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.

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Biotechnology timeline: Humans have manipulated genes since the ‘dawn of civilization’

Historically, biotech has been primarily associated with food, addressing such issues as malnutrition and famine, writes Brian Colwell in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Colwell concludes his article saying: “Today, biotechnology is being used in countless areas including agriculture, bioremediation and forensics, where DNA fingerprinting is a common practice. Industry and medicine alike use the techniques of PCR, immunoassays and recombinant DNA. Genetic manipulation has been the primary reason that biology is now seen as the science of the future and biotechnology as one of the leading industries.”

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Idaho’s famous potatoes: By the numbers

Forget pizza. The potato is America’s favorite food, next to dairy products. Idaho is the undisputed leader in the U.S. potato industry and that makes our famous potatoes the top crop in the state. But it hasn’t always been that way. Science and modern technology have transformed potato production from the labor-intensive endeavor it used to be when the crop was hand-picked and sacked in the field.

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Aviko Belgium orders ‘peace of mind’ – Kiremko sells 30 STRATA Invicta steam peelers in 30 months

Kiremko proudly announced today that the 30th STRATA Invicta® steam peeler was bought by Aviko Belgium. The manufacturer and distributor of specialized processing equipment unveils that this milestone was reached in precisely 30 months after the steam peeler was first launched commercially. “We didn’t know of this anniversary of the Kiremko STRATA Invicta® steam peeler at the moment we bought it”, Aviko Belgium Project Manager Cor Koole admits. “We just bought it because it offers us the highest reliability.

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Grimme’s Ventor 4150: ‘The rise of a revolution in harvesting technology’

In a recently released YouTube video, GRIMME showcases the development of its Ventor 4150 potato harvester – from design to the final commercial end product. According to GRIMME, the VENTOR 4150 is the first 4-row self-propelled harvester based on the SE-principle (sieving, conveying and haulm separation). The powerful 530 HP machine with its 15 tonne unloading bunker is the first harvester to be fitted with the SE system, which increases productivity significantly when compared to a 2 row harvester.

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Canada: Researchers study the benefits of precision irrigation for potato growers

Researchers in Canada’s Alberta province are studying how potato farmers and their crops could benefit from new irrigation technology. The industry and government supported project “Towards Climate-Robust Irrigation Water Management for Potato Production” is now in the second year of its 4-year run. The project is investigating if precision irrigation can help increase water use efficiency and potato crop yields in Alberta.

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Potato storage without CIPC: AHDB specialists suggest 5 ways to make sure you’re ready

According to AHDB in the UK, the 2020/21 potato storage season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet for the British potato industry. With storage season fast approaching, harvest provides the best opportunity to familiarise yourself with your crop and refine your storage plans accordingly. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Unit are providing the key aspects that growers and storage operators should focus on during the onset on the 2020/21 storage season.

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LOCKWOOD/Double L hire Larry Benzel for Columbia Basin Sales

LOCKWOOD Manufacturing has expanded its sales and service reach for customers in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Collaborating with Double L, Larry Benzel will represent both companies as the area’s regional salesman. “LOCKWOOD and Double L enjoy a great working relationship and we are proud to work with Double L to better serve the potato growers of the Columbia Basin,” said Dan Birrenkott, president of Crary Industries and LOCKWOOD Manufacturing.

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Largest ever export order leaves Scotts for Canada

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has exported its largest-ever order. Scotts Precision Manufacturing sent 14 Evolution Separators to Allan Potato Equipment Manufacturing Ltd., Canada’s largest designer and manufacturer of potato harvesting equipment. Before this shipment, the most Evolutions Scotts had supplied in one order was seven.

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Restrain launches unique online potato storage training course

Restrain offers solutions for the maintenance of low level ethylene gas in potato and onion storages, as well as tomato ripening on the vine. According to John Hutchison, Restrain Manager in the UK, the Restrain sprout inhibition solution is being applied by more than 1.500 growers and other customers in potato storage facilities in 38 countries around the world. A total of more than 1.3 million tonnes of stored potatoes are being treated with the Restrain technology. “This makes Restrain not only a lot cheaper compared to the other alternatives to CIPC, but also more user-friendly,” Hutchison says.

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AVR and Dacom Farm Intelligence offer field data on a silver platter

For some time now, producer of agricultural machinery AVR has been offering agricultural companies technology for data collection. This data is displayed on the digital platform AVR Connect, offering the farmer improved, real time insights into what is going on inside the machine, how it is operating, and how the process can be made more efficient. This platform has been further developed in collaboration with Dacom Farm Intelligence, allowing for the parcel data to be linked to the machine data, which results in an even more comprehensive overview.

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‘Smart Farmer’: An app that assists farmers to keep accurate checks on agricultural machinery

By law, all agriculture vehicles, trailers and machinery require to be properly maintained and fit for purpose. Daily checks must be carried out and a record of these checks should be recorded – traditionally these have been done on paper. Before developing the Smart Farmer app, “I now know exactly what condition each piece of machinery or vehicle is in, who last used it, when it was checked, no matter where I am on the farm and receive an email notification when a issue has been raised,” says app developer, March Skivington. Failing to find an existing solution to meet his needs and after speaking with a number of safety consultants and the Health and Safety, he embarked on developing Smart Farmer. Marc explained.

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Kooljet: Equipment designed to maintain relative humidity in storages and avoid product weight loss

Relative Humidity (RH) is the measure of the quantity of water vapor in the air at a certain temperature. Maintaining desired pile temperature is important but equally important is to maintain the optimum humidity, explains JD Wasir, Sr. Vice President at Ontario, Canada based Kooljet Refrigeration Systems..“Kooljet Systems helps to maintain high RH levels in the storage facility, and minimizes water loss from the produce, maximizing product quality and value.” JD Wasir notes that Kooljet indeed has a global footprint, and has been assisting farmers since 2001.

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Novel decision support tool under development for preventative in-field potato disease testing

Dr Sarah Sommer and her market research team is working on multiplexed potato virus lateral flow assays at the Newcastle University. The aim is to develop a simple but effective preventative disease testing kit that combines with a smart phone app. Sarah would like to know how the tool can be used in a practical environment and connect with interested potato industry people with whom she can discuss the concept, its further development and eventual application.

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Oyster reef restoration efforts in Florida get help from potato chip byproduct

Longtime work to restore oyster reefs in the Indian River Lagoon has found a new, unusual ally: potato chips. The Coastal and Estuarine Ecology Lab at UCF has been experimenting with various products looking for an effective, biodegradable material for restoration that’s inexpensive. For the past 14 months the group has been testing a mesh made from leftover potato starch collected from chip factories. So far, it’s been a successful method providing habitats for the lagoon’s vital shellfish population.

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Latest desiccation research: Reaching skinset depends on a range of factors

You cannot use what’s happening above ground as a guide to what’s happening below, according to new research into alternative desiccants, according to potato specialists at the UK’s AHDB. A key finding from the work is that the rate of potato foliage desiccation does not correlate well with that of skinset, the key to harvesting without damage. The discovery was among the key findings of a project examining the best alternative desiccants to diquat carried out by NIAB CUF on behalf of AHDB.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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