Equipment/Technology

New Tong mobile washing system creates efficiencies for major UK potato supplier

A new mobile washing facility, featuring Tong’s next generation barrel washer, is bringing increased throughput and a highly flexible washing solution for UK potato supplier Wolds Produce this season. Featuring the latest model of Tong’s popular potato barrel washer, the new mobile washing system is built to handle high throughputs of crop, with a 4m long, 1200m wide barrel washer and integrated destoner for reliable removal of stones from crop prior to washing.

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Desiccating potato crops: What are the options in 2021?

With diquat no longer available (Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland), Irish potato growers will have no option but to look at other crop desiccation options over the coming weeks. This issue was the focus of a farm demonstration, hosted by the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) at its Greenmount farm in Co. Antrim this week, which Agriland’s Richard Halleron went along to.

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‘Small is beautiful’: Technico offers wide range of TechniTuber® potato varieties world wide

The Technico Group of Companies announced today that it is in the process of upgrading and commercialising its award winning TECHNITUBER Seed Potato Technology for suitable application across various geographic regions in the world. According to CEO Dr. Soundar Soundararadjane, “The TECHNITUBER® seed size of approximately 13mm, weighing a mere 1.5 grams, is viable enough to be planted at only approximately 100 kg per hectare. TECHNITUBER seeds are delivered pre-sprouted in ‘field ready’ conditions and are easily transported.

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Research breakthrough creates crops that can grow 50% more potatoes, rice

Manipulating RNA can allow plants to yield dramatically more crops, as well as increasing drought tolerance, announced a group of scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University and Guizhou University. In initial tests, adding a gene encoding for a protein called FTO to both potato and rice plants increased their yield by 50% in field tests. The plants grew significantly larger, produced longer root systems and were better able to tolerate drought stress.

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‘First of its kind’: Branston getting ready to create vegan meat using potato protein

UK potato supplier Branston is creating a new factory dedicated to transforming potatoes into plant-based protein. Vegan Food & Living writes that the £6 million facility will extract high-grade plant protein from potatoes, using potatoes from Branston’s supply. Right now, Branston supplies potatoes in fresh or prepared formats such as ready-made potato fries. However, the company wanted to find more uses for its potato crops.v

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Full speed ahead with the new AVR MultiForce front cultivator

Perfect seedbed preparation of the soil is crucial in potato cultivation. For this reason, AVR continues to develop not only its planting and harvesting machines, but also its cultivators. The company is committed to ensure that each new edition to its cultivator range is even better adapted to new conditions and fitted with the latest technology available.

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Staying up-to-date on harvesting technology key to final crop value, say equipment engineers

If you’ve been in the potato business for any time at all, you probably have an excellent understanding of your own harvesting equipment. However, because growers are often only familiar with what they themselves use, you may not realize how many money- and effort-saving options now exist in harvesting technology. In this article Lockwood engineers provide a brief overview of new harvesting technologies.

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Post diquat: CAFRE, Grimme to host haulm flailing workshop for potato growers in Northern Ireland

Following the withdrawal of diquat last year, desiccation of potatoes has become more challenging. The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), with the support of Grimme, have organised a workshop at Greenmount Campus on Thursday 22nd July. The workshops will highlight how to set flailing machines correctly to provide a suitable target to apply the follow-up spray.

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Saving our soil: New microbial technologies that keep soil healthy and us fed

Soil microbes are hard to see and understand, yet we know that they have a significant impact on plant health, your health, and the Earth’s health. New microbial research and technologies are beginning to change how we understand and direct the soil microbiome to increase soil fertility and plant health, which then help our understanding of your microbiome. In an article published by Genetic Literacy Project, Lucy Stitzer discusses four examples of new technologies from specialist companies that make our soil healthier.

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The CORDA Invicta: A specialist fryer with exciting new features coming to market

Kiremko announces the launch of its new fryer – the CORDA Invicta. This specialist fryer is the result of two years of intensive research, continuous testing and consultation with customers, the company says. “Along with the STRATA Invicta steampeeler, Kiremko is proud to once again introduce a unique product in the processing marketplace,” notes Kiremko Director, Andy Gowing.

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Indian scientists developed smartphone app to help potato farmers detect late blight disease

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have developed a smartphone app for automated disease detection in potato crops using photographs of its leaves. “Automated disease detection can help in this regard and given the extensive proliferation of the mobile phones across the country, the smartphone could be a useful tool for potato farmers in this regard,” said Mr. Joe Johnson, Research Scholar, IIT Mandi.

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The future is here: Drones to help with potato farming in Latvia

Unmanned aircraft, or drones, are already used in many areas, but it appears that they may also be assistants in potato cultivation, as researchers from Vidzeme university claim. Initial studies are being carried out, Latvian Radio reports. Vidzeme High School’s scientific assistant, Andis Lapāns, has launched an unmanned aircraft over the potato field of the Priekuļi Research Centre, which will provide detailed information about the crop in the field.

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EMVE: Potato and vegetable processing machines manufactured for a sustainable future

EMVE Sweden AB is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of machines for handling potatoes, vegetables and fruit. EMVE provides its customers with everything from deliveries of self-manufactured and newly developed machines to external manufacturers from the head office and production facility in south Sweden. The company also offers customers the opportunity for the design and tailor production of processing lines according to their wishes.

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Putting waste to work: Bacterial film made from potato processing plants’ waste used to strengthen soils

Washington State University researchers have used granules made from potato processing plants’ waste bacteria to strengthen soil, offering a new alternative to cement additives that are currently used to shore up soils for building and erosion control. The researchers added the granules containing a bacterial slime – called a biofilm – to the soil, allowing a more natural and less carbon-intensive way to strengthen the soils.

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New Operations Manager joins Haith Group as it prepares for further growth

Having weathered the coronavirus lockdown and enjoying an increase in orders as life gradually returns to normal, Haith Group has announced the appointment of John Nicholls as its new Operations Manager. Mr Nicholls has taken on a broad role, being responsible for the smooth running of planning and analysis, overseeing Haith’s production, parts, electrical, service and design supervisors, scheduling, and liaising with the company’s sales team.

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Lay’s is building community soccer fields out of recycled potato chip bags

As the next generation of young soccer whizzes in South Africa breathlessly out-dribble opponents and score mesmerizing free kicks, many of those future Cristiano Ronaldos might already be showcasing those tricks on a pitch made of potato chip bags. Chips processor Lay’s is partnering with its longtime Champions League partner, UEFA, and grassroots soccer organization Streetfootballworld to provide the world’s first five soccer fields made out of potato chip bags.

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Webinar recording now online: ‘How to employ Automated Machine Learning to Predict the Best Quality Potato Chip/Crisp’

This webinar ran successfully on June 24th. JADBio’s Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) platform was applied to predict potatoes’ susceptibility to bruising and also its potential for coloration during french fry processing. The aim was to differentiate between potatoes that would be less prone to bruising from those that would more easily bruise during mechanical handling. Another goal was to successfully predict the potatoes’ potential susceptibility to acrylamide formation during processing due to the Maillard reaction.

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First AI virtual assistant created for sustainable farming

In the same way virtual assistants help us discover our next favorite song, a new software package has used advanced machine learning to help farmers and agronomists pinpoint what their crops and soils need to boost yield in a sustainable way. The scientific teams of Bayer Crop Science and Biome Makers tested and disclosed the first application of this groundbreaking technology on bioRxiv. The study and resulting scientific paper details the analysis of the soil microbiome to assess effectiveness of Bayer’s biological fungicide Minuet.

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Australian potato farmer’s sustainable farming focus

If you’ve been on the land for four generations already, you want to make sure you keep it going for the next one. In southern Victoria, Blowhard potato farmer Gary Crick is making sure he’s using the most sustainable practices so his farm can stay competitive, and to leave a strong legacy for his son, writes Alex Ford in this article published in The Transcontinental.

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McCain Foods’ tech innovation in Australia reduces water use by more than 100,000 litres per day

McCain Foods has installed its proprietary world-leading, technology in the form of a Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) generator, as part of the company’s latest upgrade to its Smithton plant in Tasmania, Australia. The PEF generator is another example of McCain’s commitment to producing more with less, as the $1.8 million project, which incorporates McCain’s proprietary technology, results in potatoes being pulsed with an electric field rather than steamed, slashing the plant’s energy and water usage.

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The Spornado: An alert system for late blight, other crop diseases

Spornado is an early alert system for late blight and other crop diseases, for growers that want to optimize their fungicide use. Currently, most potato growers don’t know when late blight is in their field until they see it and it is often too late, says 20/20 Seed Labs. Inc in a press release. The company says there is often a lot of guesswork involved for growers in anticipating when disease may strike and when to spray.

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Post-diquat: How an easy-to-use app can help with tight potato margins

At the sharp end of the season, potato maincrops might be increasing or decreasing in value by as much as £100/ha/day as yields increase and segment proportions change, writes Mike Abram in this article published by Farmers Weekly in the UK. Harvest too early and yields are unlikely to be maximised; harvest too late and a higher proportion of the crop might be oversized and subject to a lower price.

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Haith and Puffin Produce: Turnkey solution reduces water usage by 90%

Innovative thinking and automation have helped a Welsh company become one of the greenest fresh produce suppliers in the UK. In the last year, Puffin Produce has seen its water usage reduce by 90% and the electricity used to wash and polish its potatoes decrease by 40%. The impressive savings are due to a radical restructuring of its Withybush factory, which has seen four production lines replaced with two state-of-the-art lines by Haith Group.

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Modern-day air systems for potato equipment: ‘Cushioning the blow’

Approximately 95 per cent of LOCKWOOD’s equipment uses an air system. The company utilizes air in planting, harvesting, and handling and cleaning equipment. Air systems offer growers many benefits. For example, they are gentler on potatoes than mechanical systems, they’re user-friendly and low maintenance as there are no moving parts involved but simply an air stream, and they’re accurate and efficient. There are a few other systems out there, but the most economical uses air.

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Meijer Potato installs Soil Scout sensors

In a first for Soil Scout in the UK, the company reports that Meijer Potato have recently installed Soil Scout sensors in various key locations around the country. This is the first growing season that Meijer will be monitoring underground soil conditions in their fields and Soil Scout is extremely proud that they have chosen the Soil Scout solution to provide this highly beneficial data.

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Spray coverage crucial in crusade against blight, says potato specialists

With resistance to fluazinam now established in the blight populations in the UK and a continuing shift towards more aggressive P. infestans populations such as 36_A2 and 37_A2, a robust resistance management strategy is essential to safeguard crops. SRUC specialist in blight epidemiology Dr. Ruairidh Bain, believes that spray coverage is one of the key factors of the blight control programme that needs to be improved to protect potato crops.

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Webinar: The future of commercial potato storage in the UK – experts discuss energy and costs

What is the future of commercial potato storage in the UK? AHDB will gather a panel of experts on Tuesday, 1 June to discuss this matter during a webinar. The panel will be looking at what it costs to store potatoes in 2021, how it can be done more efficiently and take a look at the most important consideration for any business: the bottom line. Topics include energy efficiency, other storage costs and return on investment.

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