The latest Potato Storage Insight bulletin highlights weather-related challenges affecting potato planting schedules and storage. With stocks depleting early, a potential shortage is anticipated in late spring to early summer. It also focuses on maintaining storage quality for the season’s remainder. The sold-out Store Managers’ Course and consultations for a proposed National Potato Innovation Centre signify proactive industry measures. For more information, subscriptions to Synopsis are available.
On February 21st, HRH The Princess Royal visited Haith Group, a top UK vegetable machinery firm in South Yorkshire. Observing their acclaimed machinery and touring the facilities, she gained insights into their award-winning innovations like the Rota-Tip box tippler and Root Veg Polisher. Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque and engaged with the Haith family and staff. Haith, founded in 1947, employs over 120 people and is essential to global food producers.
The February 2024 UPGC report shows Canadian potato storage holdings have risen by 8.2% from last year to 74,031 million cwt. Western provinces report higher stock levels, particularly in processing, while eastern stocks are down due to a wet season. Inventory in the processing sector has notably increased, but the seed sector shows slower movement. Total January disappearance aligns with 2023. Monitoring continues regarding U.S. market impacts and high processing inventories.
From dormancy to sprouting: New study offers insights into physiological aging and storage conditions of potatoes
A study conducted by scientists at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands focuses on developing a model to quantify the physiological aging of potato seed tubers, considering the effects of storage conditions and growth history of different potato varieties. The research reveals that storage temperatures significantly impact the physiological age of the tubers, leading to the development of a novel mathematical model. Practical applications include optimizing storage conditions and enhancing crop production.
The PSI Potato Store Managers’ Course for 2024, led by Adrian Cunnington alongside Glyn Harper, is set for February 28th and 29th at The Crown Hotel, Boroughbridge. This year’s course introduces the BASIS (Stored Potatoes) qualification, focusing on practical and interactive storage management training. Early bird discounts are available until January 12th, offering a unique opportunity for both new and experienced professionals in the potato storage industry to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Tim Kitson: An inspirational story of resilience and a positive outlook in the face of great adversity
Norfolk potato consultant Tim Kitson, who suffered from severe head injuries after a 30ft fall from an elevated walkway onto the concrete floor of a potato store which he was inspecting in 2019, has received national recognition at the British Potato Awards. Besides overcoming physical challenges, he retrained his sense of smell, affected due to a brain bleed. His client, Lamb Weston, praised his innovative ideas and positive attitude despite facing significant professional and personal challenges.
Potato Storage Insight (PSI) has opened bookings for its 2024 Potato Store Managers’ Course, which will include the opportunity to attain the BASIS (Stored Potatoes) qualification for the first time. The course, led by Adrian Cunnington, will happen on 28th-29th February 2024 at The Crown in Yorkshire. The two-day program combines practical training sessions and networking opportunities, covering critical topics like risk management, disease threats, and ventilation.
Innovations and insights at the Ontario Potato Conference and AGM: Must-attend events for potato industry professionals
The 2024 Ontario Potato Conference, organized by Dr. Eugenia Banks and the Ontario Potato Board, is set for February 29th in Guelph. Featuring a Late Blight Symposium and a growers’ panel, the conference will address 2023’s challenges and strategies for 2024. The event includes a Trade Show with new tech exhibitors. The Ontario Potato Board’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Dec 6 will feature a special zoom presentation by Dr. Nora Olsen on tips for managing compromised potatoes in storage.
GB Potatoes, Potato Storage Insight, and SDF Agriculture have initiated the Strategic Potato Stores project to improve potato storage practices. The project, inspired by the SPot Farms model, encourages industry collaboration and practical research. It includes trials with various potato varieties and sprout suppressants, focusing on efficiency and profitability. Key activities include grower meetings, open days, and workshops in 2024, alongside evaluations of PCN-resistant varieties. This initiative emphasizes practical solutions and shared industry knowledge.
The November Synopsis bulletin from Potato Storage Insight (PSI) discusses challenges in potato storage in the UK, particularly due to a difficult harvest with waterlogged fields. It covers managing wet crops, bacterial soft rot, and the importance of quality checks. PSI will attend the BP2023 event in Harrogate and is advancing the SPoT storage initiative, including a December workshop. The bulletin also highlights the role of energy monitoring systems in reducing storage costs. PSI offers detailed advice through the AHDB archive and directly via Adrian Cunnington.
Researchers from the University of Idaho and the USDA-ARS are conducting a study to combat ‘cutting black’, a significant issue in the potato industry causing considerable revenue loss. This phenomenon, where stored potatoes develop dark bruises, impacts 10-20% of the fresh potato market. Funded by a $42,470 grant, the team is testing three compounds to prevent the darkening of bruised tissue. This research could revolutionize storage practices and reduce waste, as potatoes stored for extended periods often suffer from pressure bruises.
Innovating organic: OSU researchers receive $2M to look for new ways to prevent organic potatoes from spoiling
Oregon State University has received a $2 million USDA grant to develop anti-sprouting treatments for organic potatoes. The project addresses the growing organic market’s need for alternatives to synthetic chemicals, which are banned in organic farming. The research team is exploring natural products, like plant essential oils, and aims to create controlled-release methods to enhance storage life without compromising safety or quality, as U.S. organic food sales exceed $60 billion.
An article from CPM Magazine discusses the potato storage industry’s adaptation following the withdrawal of chlorpropham (CIPC) as a sprout suppressant. New volatile products like Biox-M, ARGOS , 1,4SIGHT (1,4-dimethylnaphthalene, DMN), and ethylene are now in use. The industry has been learning to use these new products effectively, with a focus on DMN for its strong sprout suppression, especially in warmer stored crops. The article highlights the challenges and adaptations in potato storage, including the importance of maleic hydrazide (MH) in sprout suppression.
The UK potato industry has formed the CIPC Residues Monitoring Group (CRMG) to monitor chlorpropham (CIPC) residues in potatoes from stores previously using CIPC, now banned. The CRMG, led by Adrian Cunnington, seeks industry-wide cooperation to provide data to the Health & Safety Executive, ensuring continued safe use of these stores. The Group will act in the interests of the whole of the UK potato industry to ensure that the data submitted meets the standards expected by CRD. The group aims to maintain the temporary Maximum Residue Level for CIPC.
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.
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.
The UK’s agricultural sector is undergoing a transformation with the establishment of a new network of post-harvest research facilities. This initiative, resulting from the collaboration of ADAS, CHAP, NRI, and JHI, aims to enhance crop storage and post-harvest approaches. The facilities will focus on advanced research areas like supply chain tracking, energy-efficient storage management, and sustainable packaging. The goal is to bolster food supply chain resilience, reduce waste, and optimize food value chains.
Processing potato growers in Britain had a positive experience with a new potato sprout suppressant last year, with the product achieving good sprout control in very challenging circumstances. However, pre-pack growers are worried about its use after treatment in some cold stores and on some varieties was linked to costly tuber defects during its first season of use. In August 2022 when 1,4Sight (1,4-dimethylnaptheline or DMN) was approved for use in potato stores, it was warmly welcomed by the potato industry.
One bad potato can spoil the batch, which is why processor J.R. Simplot is reminding producers to beware of pink rot as they begin harvest, as Geralyn Wichers reports for Manitoba Co-operator. “If you know there’s rot in there, tell your harvest operator, ‘when you come to that low spot, pick up the harvester, drive over, and don’t harvest those certain areas,’” said Scott Graham, Simplot’s raw agronomy manager. The fungal disease has been an issue for a number of Manitoba producers in recent years, the company said.
Adrian Cunnington from Potato Storage Insight (PSI) offers guidance to growers on optimal potato storage. Emphasizing the significance of proper skin set and ventilation, he warns against the risks of blight and blackleg diseases reported pre-harvest. Quick storage with effective drying is crucial, especially amidst disease threats. Managing crop temperatures during loading and avoiding crop moisture are vital to maintain tuber quality and ensure successful storage.
At the Potato Europe exhibition in Tournai, Belgium, TOMRA unveiled its latest-generation 3A sorting machine, enhanced with advanced AI. This machine, already renowned for its sorting efficiency, now offers even greater accuracy in distinguishing between potatoes and foreign materials. Demonstrations were held at TOMRA Food’s booth, where visitors engaged with the company’s potato specialists.
DOWNS has launched the I-CropVision, a modular and versatile optical potato sorter that can be integrated into existing installations. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence algorithms, the I-CropVision sorts potatoes based on quality and waste, offering three output options. The new sorter aims to address the increasing global demand for potatoes and labor shortages. It will be showcased at the PotatoEurope trade fair in Belgium and is available in various widths.
The July edition of Potato Storage Insight’s Synopsis bulletin discusses maleic hydrazide’s use for sprout suppression during potato storage, emphasizing its lasting control benefits. It highlights the importance of accurate application and complements the main topic with updates on upcoming potato events and new potato storage research facilities by CSPS consortium at ADAS Boxworth and James Hutton Institute, a significant development since the closure of AHDB’s facility in 2021.
Researchers at the University of Quebec in Canada are testing black spruce extract as an alternative to the controversial pesticide, chlorpropham (CIPC), used to prevent potato sprouting. The extract has shown promising results in lab tests, effectively preventing sprouting and demonstrating antimicrobial properties. If approved, this eco-friendly solution could replace CIPC, offering a safer method for potato storage and potentially being manufactured in a new factory in Saint-Félicien, Quebec.