Equipment/Technology

‘DIGging deep’: Scottish tech firm harvests success at Potato Industry Awards with innovative management platform

Dundee’s Tayfusion wins the ‘Best Innovation – 22/23’ award at the British Potato Industry Awards for its DIG software management platform for potato farming. DIG Potatoes streamlines potato production from growth to sales, offering comprehensive data management. The software, developed with industry collaboration, includes features for stock control, quality control, and forecasting. Founder Mark Mander invites users to explore and demo the platform, showcasing its impact on the potato industry’s efficiency and sustainability.

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HarvestEye expands technology to include onion monitoring, enhancing crop insight capabilities

HarvestEye, originally designed for potatoes, has expanded its capabilities to include onions, offering growers a more advanced harvest monitoring tool. This system, attachable to harvesting or grading equipment, provides detailed insights into crop size, shape, and distribution, aiding in optimal harvest timing for maximum profit. The upgraded HarvestEye 2.0 features enhanced software and hardware for quicker, more precise data collection.

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Reyco Systems expands presence with new facility in Washington’s Columbia Basin

Reyco Systems, a leader in food processing technology, has opened a new 15,000-square-foot manufacturing and repair facility in Eltopia, Washington. This expansion, emphasized by President Clay Cooper, aims to improve customer relations through in-person interactions and faster repair services. Sean Dixon, Director and Site Manager for Reyco Eltopia, expresses the positive impact of the new facility. The facility also represents Reyco’s commitment to hiring local talent and providing excellent service.

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AI transforms Canadian potato farming: A leap towards smart agriculture

Canadian potato growers are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor and predict their crops’ nutritional needs in real time. The new technology involves using a portable optical sensor to quickly assess potato field nutrient values. The technology utilises machine learning algorithms trained on historical data, thereby providing near real-time evaluations of plant nutritional requirements. This method improves fertilizer application efficiency, optimising yield and quality while maintaining environmental balance.

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BP2023: Evolution Separator and Trinity haulm toppers take center stage amidst challenging weather conditions

Scotts Precision Engineering is set to exhibit at BP2023, showcasing their Evolution Separator and Trinity haulm toppers, addressing challenges in UK agriculture due to bad weather. The Evolution Separator offers enhanced crop cleaning, while the Trinity range ensures efficient haulm topping. Derek Scott, the Managing Director, will present on pre-cleaning harvested potatoes, highlighting the company’s commitment to advancing agricultural technology and supporting farmers in these challenging times.

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Bayer unveils pioneering digital solutions for sustainable agriculture at Agritechnica 2023

At Agritechnica 2023, Bayer showcased its commitment to digital farming for regenerative agriculture. Highlighting AI and data-driven precision farming, Bayer presented FieldView, a leading digital platform, and new products like FieldView Cab for Android. Their “Magic” series offers advanced field insights. Bayer’s collaboration with Microsoft in developing AgPowered Services and the Azure Data Manager for Agriculture further underscores their commitment to advancing agriculture through technology.

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Empowering growers: New machine predicts weed emergence for precision herbicide application

The University of Idaho’s new thermogradient table allows scientists to study the impact of temperature on weed emergence, aiding the development of models to optimize herbicide application timing. The research, led by Albert Adjesiwor and doctoral student Chandra Maki, will provide growers with data-driven insights to tackle herbicide resistance by applying preemergence herbicides more effectively based on local temperature conditions, improving weed control across the Pacific Northwest.

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German Agriculture Minister endorses crop.zone’s eco-friendly herbicide tech at AGRITECHNICA 2023

At AGRITECHNICA 2023, German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir visited crop.zone’s booth, expressing keen interest in their sustainable glyphosate alternatives. crop.zone’s CEO Dirk Vandenhirtz highlighted this as a testament to their commitment to eco-friendly agricultural solutions. Their innovative Hybrid Herbicide Technology combines efficiency, environmental friendliness, and effective plant control, impressing Özdemir and marking a significant step towards sustainable agriculture and advanced precision farming methods.

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‘Spuds to energy’: Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island want to make hydrogen from potato peels

Researchers at UPEI in Canada are innovating green energy by converting potato peels into hydrogen gas. Led by Yulin Hu, the project explores syngas production from food waste, with Nasim Mia studying UV light’s role in the process. Funded by various sources, this research is part of a broader initiative to transition from petroleum to hydrogen energy, promising significant environmental benefits and solutions for a greener future.

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AVR opens new branch in Germany

Agricultural machinery manufacturer AVR is set to open a new branch in Uetze, Germany, ahead of its 175th anniversary. The new subsidiary will provide prompt assistance to German customers and dealers, and will serve as a strategic base for the company. The location, in a key cultivation area with good transport links, will combine commercial, technical, and logistic functions. The move is part of AVR’s ongoing investment in the German market, one of the most important potato producing countries in Europe.

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AI-based sorting technology: TOMRA Food wins international FoodTec award for foreign material identification

TOMRA Food has been awarded a silver International FoodTec Award for its AI-powered Foreign Material Identification system, which enhances food safety and processing efficiency. The system uses deep learning and cloud technology to improve sorting and grading accuracy in the food industry, particularly for potatoes. The technology allows for better decision-making in sorting, higher recovery of good products, and more precise grading. Integrated with TOMRA Insight, it provides actionable data for process optimization and performance enhancement.

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FPS partners with OptiCept Technologies to innovate potato processing with PEF technology

In a groundbreaking move, FPS Food Process Solutions (FPS), renowned for its expertise in freezing and cooling equipment, has teamed up with OptiCept Technologies. The collaboration aims to advance PEF (Pulsed Electric Field) technology in solid food processing, with an initial focus on potato processing. This partnership brings greater benefits to the growing potato processing sector looking for innovations that offer efficiency, including energy savings, while maintaining high product quality and competitiveness.

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Potato harvesting in the age of mechatronics and IoT: A study on global developments 

Researchers at the UK National Robotarium, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh conducted a study to review global developments in potato harvesting, with a focus on mechatronics, the use of intelligent systems, and the opportunities presented by Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Fernando Auat Cheein and Ciaran Miceal Johnson report on their study in a scientific paper published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

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Agritechnica 2023: Dewulf to unveil its range of cutting-edge harvesting machines

Dewulf is set to showcase its latest agricultural machinery at the Agritechnica event in Hanover, Germany. Highlighting a blend of traditional expertise and innovative technology, the lineup includes the Enduro harvester, MB 34 box filler, the Certa 40 Integral planting solution, and the P3K Profi, a 1-row mounted top lifting harvester. With features like adjustable cleaning modules, Soil-Saver technology, and the unique ‘Gearbox Drive’, Dewulf aims to revolutionize the harvesting experience for farmers.

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Green energy meets agriculture: Innovative ‘SmartSola’ system to revolutionize potato storage, cut electricity costs

Crop Systems Limited in the UK has launched ‘Smart Sola’, a system designed to optimize home-generated energy use for farmers, reducing reliance on external power. The system monitors energy from various sources and deploys it efficiently across storage facilities. Philip Smith of Monkton Court Farm praises its ability to control storage run times based on solar energy availability, often eliminating the need for external energy, making it a cost-effective solution for UK farmers.

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From wet weather to storage solutions: PSI’s latest Bulletin breakdown

In the recent Synopsis newsletter by Potato Storage Insight (PSI), Adrian Cunnington discusses the challenges of potato storage due to wet weather in Britain. Some growers have finished harvesting, while others face rain-related issues like large tubers and tuber blight. PSI collaborates on a potato storage initiative with partners like GB Potatoes and SDF Agriculture. The bulletin highlights upgrading old storage facilities. PSI’s Adrian Cunnington will chair the new CIPC Residues Monitoring Group.

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The Hot Potato podcast: How precision farming, new ag-tech pave the way for climate-resilient potato farming

Episode 3 of McCain Foods’ “The Hot Potato” podcast, now streaming on major platforms, delves into precision farming and new technology and its role in creating climate-resilient farms. Special guests Martin Harris and Emily Ford discuss the evolving world of AgTech, emphasizing the synergy between farmers and technology. Topics include drones, DNA sampling, and the importance of on-ground farming knowledge. The series, hosted by Louise Gray, explores regenerative agriculture.

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Branston mashes it up with new state-of-the-art facility

Branston, a prominent potato supplier in the UK, has announced its ambitious venture of introducing a cutting-edge mashed potato facility. This facility is strategically designed to supply leading UK supermarkets with a variety of potato-based products. Set to be fully functional by spring 2024, the establishment is a testament to Branston’s commitment to innovation in the potato industry. Wayne Mansfield, who will oversee the facility as the mash production manager, emphasized the company’s dedication to quality and the advanced features the facility will boast.

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Leading the green revolution: crop.zone and John Deere’s Dual.Volt.24M wins prestigious Agrifuture award

Aachen-based crop.zone, in collaboration with John Deere, has secured the DLG-Agrifuture prize for their innovative Dual.Volt.24M system. This electric, herbicide-free plant management system offers a 24-meter working width. Recognized for its sustainable agricultural solutions, the award-winning technology will be showcased at AGRITECHNICA in Hanover. The system emphasizes precise crop management and will undergo pilot testing with farmers in 2024.

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Innovative potato disease detection: The potential of hyperspectral imaging

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research explored the use of hyperspectral imaging (HSI) to detect early infections of Phytophthora infestans in potato crops. This pathogen often spreads through seed potatoes with latent infections. Traditional methods, like manual inspection and models based on spectral data, have limitations. The study used HSI to contrast the spectra of infected plants with healthy ones under similar conditions. Experiments revealed the potential and challenges of this technique, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach.

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Ensuring potato quality for the future: Univ of Idaho cryogenically preserving potato germplasm for seed growers, researchers

The University of Idaho’s Seed Potato Germplasm Program is introducing a cutting-edge cryopreservation unit to freeze seed potato tissue using liquid nitrogen vapor. This state-of-the-art technology will allow for the long-term storage of up to 1,800 potato varieties and vital breeding clones. The lab, which opened in 2022, aims to provide disease-free potato germplasm globally. Funded by the Atchley Foundation Charitable Trust, this advancement ensures efficient storage, reduced risk of contamination, and addresses challenges like climate change and pests.

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Lockwood’s Air Cup Planter: A game-changer in the potato farming industry

Jordan Reed, a potato farmer in Washington State, has praised the efficiency and accuracy of the Lockwood Air Cup Planter. Reed, who cultivates around 450 acres annually, switched to the Air Cup Planter in 2022 to increase his operation’s speed and efficiency. The planter’s low maintenance, fuel efficiency, and high-speed accuracy have significantly improved his farming process. Reed also commended Lockwood’s commitment to innovation and technology, particularly the planter’s individual row shut-offs, which increase seed efficiency.

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Wilson’s Country invests £2m in anaerobic development system

Wilson’s Country, a Northern Irish potato packer and processor, is investing £2 million in an anaerobic development (AD) system located in Craigavon, County Armagh. This new plant will cater to 60% of the company’s yearly electricity needs. The initiative is a significant move towards achieving the company’s net-zero goal in the near future. The system will be fully operational by November’s end. The potato waste from their operations will serve as the primary feedstock for the AD system, aiding in reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

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TOMRA Food to showcase innovative potato sorting solutions at IFPA’s Global Produce and Floral show in Anaheim

TOMRA Food will present its advanced potato sorting solutions at IFPA’s Global Produce & Floral Show in Anaheim from 19-21 October. At Booth 3304, attendees can explore TOMRA’s latest technologies, including the TOMRA 3A and 5A sorters. Diarmuid Meagher, VP of TOMRA Processed Food, highlighted the company’s commitment to maximizing yields, reducing costs, and minimizing human labor reliance. An interactive hologram display will also feature their innovative solutions.

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‘Finding a needle in a potato sack’: Potato farmers prioritize inspection systems to ensure food safety

Farmers in North America, especially from Prince Edward Island (PEI), are prioritizing potato safety due to past incidents of metal contaminants in produce. In response, Fortress Technology introduced the Phantom metal detection system, designed to handle the unique challenges posed by potatoes. This system ensures high standards in the potato supply chain, emphasizing shared responsibility in food safety and the importance of upstream inspection to protect brands and guarantee consumer-safe products.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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