Agronomist Richard Hackett writes in a column in the Farming section of Independent that in the broadest terms, reducing carbon footprint means reducing energy use, diesel use and fertiliser use. What can we do in the potato sector to achieve these aims? he asks. He goes on to say that “we have got ourselves in a position where one variety, harvested over a two-month period, supplies practically the entire ware market for 12 months of the year.
Farm Electronics’ Production Director, Paul Jackson, is retiring after almost half a century at the forefront of the business, reports Potato Review. Paul said: “I would like to thank all customers, suppliers and work colleagues past and present for their trust and patience in our dealings over my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the path of the evolution of Farm Electronics. Time seems to have flown by.”
A custom-built potato grading and washing solution from Tong Engineering has enabled a leading US potato processor to increase sizing potential of both dirty and washed crop, whilst maximising efficiency and minimising waste across its entire potato processing operation. Based in Warden, in Washington State, Skone & Connors Produce, Inc. grows over 2,500 acres of fresh potatoes for Basin Gold, their sales and marketing group.
“You can humidify and disinfect a potato storage warehouse’s air using just water and UV. No chemicals,” says Jef Viaene of Jebe bvba in Belgium, a Humigator DFS dealership. “You’ll have two to ten percent higher yields. The potatoes will be disease-free and can be stored for a long time. And do that without using sprout inhibitors.” The Humigator is said to be a world first. The machine was developed in Idaho and was introduced to Europe in 2020.
Crop Systems Ltd is a well established company in Norfolk, dedicated to the potato storage industry. The company’s range of equipment includes electronic controllers, refrigeration, humidity and fan systems, are all built at its Happisburgh premises. Ray Andrews, Managing Director of Crop Systems says his company is expanding and is looking for a forward-thinking ambitious individual who can contribute to the success of the business and enjoy being part of a top rate friendly team.
Fenkleen Hygiene Ltd in the UK has been carrying out specialist high level cleaning of potato stores and facilities for the last 35 years in East Anglia. With today’s regulations and accountability on the removal and reduction of CIPCs residue, it’s never been more important to carry the procedure out effectively and safely. Whatever method is being employed to carry out the cleaning, either wet or dry, store managers must take into account other contaminates that may be involved in the equation and its removal and factor that in to the process.
Haith Group has seen a resurgence of interest in its innovative bag filling machine after a video posted on social media was viewed more than one million times. The twenty second video which shows the Haith Supa-Bag 10 mobile bagging trailer filling ten one-ton jumbo bags was posted by the company last month. One week later, video views had exceeded 100,000, and the company had received seven sales enquiries from people in the UK, New Zealand, North America, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The already popular video was later posted by Pro Horizon and viewings rocketed to over one million.
It’s a green light for a temporary Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham. That level may be 0.4 mg/kg in ware potatoes. A European Union Standing Committee agreed to this in a digital vote. The temporary MRL is expected to take effect around the summer of 2021. The exact starting date depends on further decision-making within the EU. The current 10.0 mg/kg MRL will remain in force. That’s until the temporary MRL comes into effect. The use of Chlorpropham has been banned. But, ware potatoes will still be delivered under the current MRL. That’s in the 2020/2021 season.
A McCain storage facility capable of storing 11,000 tonnes of potatoes has opened at South Burnie, a locality and suburb of Burnie, in the North West region of Tasmania in Australia, according to a report by Sandy Powell for The Advocate. Sandy writes that the facility, which can hold 9,000 tonnes of potatoes in cold-storage long term, as well as a further 2,000 tonnes in short term storage, is run by McCain Foods. Plant operator Rodney Smith said the facility is truly “world-class”.
This article was written by Canadian potato specialists, Dr Eugenia Banks (Ontario Potato Board) and Mark VanOostrum (WD Potato Ltd), and we publish it here with permission. They write: An essential requirement for a long storage period is that the storage conditions match the needs and the end use of the crop. The storage requirements of the crop can be assessed before harvest by doing several test digs which allow to determine – if present – the distribution and level of tuber infection. If there are risky areas in a field such as low spots that have blighted potatoes, skip those areas, do not harvest them.
With the Scottish seed potato harvest beginning a fortnight ahead of normal, SRUC consultant Dr Stuart Wale has reminded growers of the threat from dry rot, according to a news article published by Potato Review magazine. He recommends two fungicide options in this situation: Gavel (imazalil) and Storite Excel (thiabendazole) which can be used alone or in mixture. Dr Wale urged growers to have a conversation with their seed suppliers sooner rather than later to discuss treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Advanced Coating Solutions, headquartered in Kirkland, WA in the US produces a thin insulation coating material that works by blocking heat transfer. Instead of using mass to work as a heat sink and absorb heat (fiberglass), the thin insulation coating works like the ‘Low E’ window concept, where thin oxide coatings diffuse infrared radiation. Thin air gaps also provide additional conductive resistance. Founder of Advance Coating Solutions, Richard Stratton is keen to discuss the benefits of his company’s products for potato storages and processing facilities.
A well-sealed store will decrease your energy bills, and increase the efficiency on sprout suppressants like ethylene and spearmint oil. In this article, Adrian Cunnington, Head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research at AHDB Potatoes shares some tips for assessing and improving your potato store. The loss of approval of CIPC will inevitably mandate change within the potato industry. For many it may mean using alternative sprout suppressants. Others may choose to go chemical-free, moving to varieties with a longer dormancy period, or by storing at lower temperatures. For all though, optimising storage conditions and reducing operating costs are likely to be high priorities.
A number of factors contribute to effective potato sprout suppression and, where possible, strategies should make the best use of all of them. One such factor is dormancy, say specialists at AHDB’s at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research unit. The current data on varietal dormancy is of variable quality and AHDB has commissioned a trial to generate relative dormancy data from a range of varieties representative of the different end markets for potatoes.
Can you use an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar? According to Bill Menkveld at Ontario, Canada-based Greentronics, the company offers a solution. Greentronics recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. These enhanced features were developed to assist potato growers with an easy process to automate their harvest and storage data recording.
UPL’s new orange oil product, ARGOS, has received official approval for the treatment of sprouting in stored potatoes in Ireland. ARGOS is made from a natural substance, d-limonene (terpene), which is obtained by physical extraction of oil from the orange peel. There is said to be no residue, no smell or taste to the end product, and no withholding period. This means the product is flexible for fresh and processing sectors, with no effect on fry colour.
The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) recently approved the ethylene-based sprout inhibitor Restrain as a safe crop protection product with immediate effect. The approval applies to the treatment of potatoes (for both domestic consumption and starch production), as well as for onions, garlic, shallots, propagating material, and tomatoes. According to Andreas Fust, Sales Manager for Restrain in Germany: “Germany is a big market for us, so we are very pleased that Restrain has been officially approved here as well.
Spearmint oil has the potential to play a more prominent role in sprout control programmes post-CIPC, but users must prepare stores adequately to ensure success, reports Adam Clarke for Farmers Weekly in the UK. Marketed by Kent-based Juno Plant Protection, Biox-M – a 100% spearmint oil product applied as a hot fog – made it to the UK in 2012. One early adopter was fresh potato producer and packer Branston.
Folks, the following note was sent to us here at Global Potato News, and we are happy to publish it for your information as such. AHDB: We are pleased to invite you to this open session of the AHDB Potato Board where we will be discussing the potato levy and storage research. In response to what was said in Defra’s Request for Views about how the potato levy is collected, we are reviewing the basis of how your levy is calculated this summer and welcome businesses sharing their views with us. We will outline how the levy is collected, and why the system was created in its current form, before sharing some ideas we’ve already received on potential options for the future.