Equipment/Technology

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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Blight fungicide and application trials at Eurofins

Michael Tait, Syngenta Technical Manager and Harry Fordham, Syngenta New Farming Technologies Lead present the 2020 Syngenta trials at Eurofins in this video published on the SyngentaUK YouTube channel. Tait and Fordham report on blight fungicide activity and new application advice for the Syngenta 3D90 nozzle, delivering outstanding efficacy, along with 90% drift reduction.

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The ‘touchy-feely’ potato: Researchers developed bio-sensor to detect early signs of plant stress

In an effort to increase agricultural productivity and limit waste, a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment developed a method to detect signs of stress before potato plants are damaged. By employing genetic engineering, the team introduced a new gene coded to a fluorescent protein that reports the level of reactive ‘oxygen specieses’ – highly reactive molecules whose accumulation signifies stress responses.

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Crop4Sight releases innovative irrigation scheduling tool

Crop4Sight’s online and mobile digital toolkit is designed to help growers maximise saleable potato yields and was launched as a commercial service in 2020. With a strong research and development pipeline, Crop4Sight is pleased to announce the release of its easy to use potato irrigation scheduling tool. The new irrigation schedule tool uses a state-of-the-art potato specific water balance model. The tool delivers convenient irrigation schedules whenever a grower requires them.

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Pakistani research facility produces disease free nuclear potato seed to boost production, self sufficiency

The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has produced 150,000 nuclear potato tubers, which would help in producing over 50,000 tones of certified seed to help with boosting yields and the availability of disease free potato seed in the country. This milestone was achieved after the commercialization of potato tissue culture technology. The seed will now be provided to the private sector and individual growers to multiply the seed on their own for commercial production.

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AVR’s Ceres 440 gathers planting data from Potato Europe demo fields

Last month, equipment manufacturer AVR provided one of its newest, cloud connected Ceres 440 planters to the Potato Europe organisation to plant the demo fields for the coming Potato Europe 2021 event in Lelystad, the Netherlands. The four-row 440 planter neatly planted the trial plots under the watchful eye of the Noordoostpolder mayor, sending its real-time planting information live to the digital AVR Connect platform.

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Tyrrells Crisps set to reduce carbon emissions by over 14% with switch to liquefied natural gas

One of the UK’s largest potato crisp manufacturers, Tyrrells, has taken its latest step in a continued sustainability drive by converting its energy supply to liquefied natural gas (LNG) which will reduce its carbon emissions by over 14% per year. Tyrrells produces over 86 million bags of crisps every year. With high energy demands to consider, the company wanted to find a way of increasing efficiencies in order to lower its carbon footprint.

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Tong invests in new paint facilities for the highest quality finish

As part of an ongoing growth and development programme, Tong Engineering has invested in the latest powder coating and shot blasting systems at its new manufacturing plant in Spilsby. Situated on the company’s seven-acre site, the first-phase building has been kitted out with a new powder coating spray booth, water wash extraction and a large drying oven, alongside a new shot blast unit to prepare materials prior to painting.

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Storage specialist comments on weight loss and compression damage in potato stores

This season we are receiving a lot of reports of high levels of softening, dehydration and compression damage from potato store managers, says Adrian Cunnington, AHDB’s Head of Crop Storage Research at Sutton Bridge CSR. He says the problem could be associated with a number of factors, including Seasonal/climatic conditions, storage environment (temperature/humidity), poorer skin set (loss of diquat?), inadequate sprout control and more.

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Sam Dennigan & Company: Increased fresh potato demand comfortably met with new Haith packing line

Sam Dennigan and Company is one of Ireland’s leading food manufacturers, sourcing, shipping, distributing and marketing over 100,000 tonnes of fresh produce each year to customers across Ireland, the UK and Europe. In September 2020 Sam Dennigan and Company saw demand for its fresh potatoes leap by a fifth. The company invested in a new, state-of-the-art packing line designed and installed by Haith Group to meet the increased demand.

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Inca Plus: Optimising calcium mobility in crops for increased yields

Omya UK Ltd has launched InCa Plus, an advanced foliar treatment for brassicas, leafy greens and root vegetables, which delivers higher marketable yield for farmers. It has been proven in multiple independent trials to optimise calcium mobility in crops, including potatoes. In over 200 trials on potatoes globally, Inca Plus delivered an average 1.5 t/ha increase in marketable yields.

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When biologicals and chemicals meet: EPA approves world’s first three-way fungicide

AZterknot fungicide from Vive Crop Protection received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently. AZterknot fungicide is the world’s first three-way fungicide combination that harnesses the benefits of biologicals, the performance of chemistry and the ease of Allosperse. Allosperse is proprietary nano-polymer technology developed by Vive Crop Protection that allows previously incompatible products to be mixed and applied in one application, reducing fuel, time and water usage.

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A unique vertical farm can produce 10 times more seed potatoes a year

Less than a year after the opening of the World-class Scientific Center “Agrotechnologies for the Future”, Russian scientists had a breakthrough: the first-ever vertical farm with dynamic LED lighting. They presented the first pre-production prototype of a vertical farm. The rapid seed reproduction facility combines state-of-the-art digital technology with organic farming techniques, and have grown healthy potato seed for further multiplication in the field.

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The quest for shelf-stable french fries with no refrigeration: Startup’s sustainable tech takes food farther

Farther Farms is a food tech startup with Cornell roots. Its innovative sterilization technology produces shelf-stable foods that don’t need freezing or refrigeration. Their first product is the world’s first commercially available shelf-stable french fry – a major addition to an industry dominated by frozen fries first invented in the 1940s. By sidestepping cold storage, the company aims to open new markets in regions that lack refrigeration while reducing supply chain costs and carbon emissions.

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Maximize planting success with an air cup planter, says Lockwood’s chief engineer

Anyone can get potatoes into the ground. If you want to maximize your time, land and in-put efficiency — and ultimately make more money — getting potatoes into the ground quickly and with accurate depth and spacing is critical. The technology that can make all of that happen is an air cup planter, says Michael Nilson, Chief Engineer at Lockwood Manufacturing in North Dakota.

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Lockwood Mfg

Urschel

PULSEMASTER

TOMRA Food