Emergency potato storage on the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone saved the day for some local farmers and could lead to a beneficial ripple effect to Aroostook County’s premier industry. As Paula Brewer reports for Bangor Daily News, the story is one of the COVID-19 era’s bright points.
A fourth-generation potato farming and marketing family in North Dakota is leaping into a new era of electronic potato grading. The Hall family partnership of Hoople in northeast North Dakota put in place a multi-million-dollar optical grading system that uses cameras to evaluate potatoes individually and sort them into lanes. The Halls’ Spectrim can sort up to 1,700 potatoes a minute or around 120,000 per hour.
After the closure of the world-renowned Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research facility last week, following the loss of the potato levy ballot in March and subsequent announcement of AHDB Potatoes’ demise in September, former head of site Adrian Cunnington has moved swiftly to plug the advisory gap for the potato storage industry. Adrian has set up Potato Storage Insight Ltd (PSI), an independent advisory and support service for the potato storage sector.
With an innovation award under its belt and an esteemed new technical expert on the payroll, sprout inhibition developer Restrain was one of the most talked about participants at the 2021 British Potato Industry Event in Harrogate. Once every two years the whole of the potato industry comes together for the British Potato Industry Event for networking and discussing business opportunities. This year, a lot of the buzz was about sprout inhibition developer Restrain.
Speaking at BP2021, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy, warned growers in the Scottish seed potato sector about the challenges presented in 2021 – emphasising that minimising the handling and damage of the seed in grading pre-treatment is always important.
Two key members of the Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research team chose British Potato 2021 show to announce their new ventures in the wake of AHDB Potatoes disbanding. As Potato Review magazine reports, specialist in potato store management, Adrian Cunnington, has started his own consultancy entitled Potato Storage Insight Ltd (PSI). Crop Storage senior scientist Adrian Briddon has taken on a new role with Restrain as its Technical Manager, which officially starts on January 10th.
A blue, potato-shaped sensor for in-store monitoring of potato crops and an app that estimates your potential crop yield from a photo and a blue mat have been launched by Metos UK at the recent British Potato event. Inside the blue tuber-shaped SolAntenna are sensors to measure and track temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in store.
According to a report by Nancy Nicolson, published by The Courier today, potato growers in Britain will be sent bills this week calling for the payment of the full AHDB levy of £42.62 per hectare – despite the levy board being largely wound down. According to the report. the AHDB says the funds from growers, together with sector reserves, will be used to cover the costs of winding-down all levy-payer activity in the potato sector.
Restrain announced recently that the company will exhibit its ethylene gas system at the upcoming Potato Expo event in California, January 5 – 6, 2022. Restrain uses natural ethylene gas which keeps potatoes dormant and controls sprouting. “Using ethylene gas means growers won’t leave any residue in their crop or storage facility, allowing them to deliver potatoes which can be used immediately after storage for processing,” says Dirk Garos, Global Sales Director at Restrain.
After nearly three decades of vacancy, the warehouses and airplane hangars of the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine have acquired new tenants — millions of freshly harvested Aroostook County potatoes. While the yield is largely good news, the sheer size of the 2021 harvest is creating new problems for some farmers, who now need to find and then adapt to makeshift storage facilities that aren’t built to preserve the quality of the potatoes.
An orange oil product that prevents sprouting in stored potatoes will be available for winter storage to help fill the gap left by the banning of the once widely used chlorpropham (CIPC). The new product, called Argos, comes from agrochemicals group UPL and is made from a natural substance, d-limonene (terpene), which is extracted from orange peel.
Tong Engineering, a leading potato and vegetable handling equipment manufacturer, and sponsor of the BP2021 British Potato exhibition will be showcasing equipment advances from field to pack, as well as the latest technologies in automation and optical sorting, at the UK’s largest biannual potato event in November. Tong will discuss how the latest equipment developments can address the real challenges currently facing vegetable producers, by minimising labour requirements whilst maximising capacity and yield.
McCain Foods Tasmania installs Pulsemaster PEF-tech innovation, reduces water use by more than 100,000 litres per day
McCain Foods has installed 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. The plant has reduced water usage this year by more than 100,000 litres per day, and the PEF system will also save the plant approximately 276 tonnes of carbon each year, and around 33,000 gigajoules of energy due to the increased efficiency and reduced wastage.
Bayer Crop Science in the UK posted an article on their blog earlier this week related to potato storage good practices. The article focuses on five main considerations for growers, saying that there is more to the long-term storage of potatoes than sprout suppressants. These considerations include store hygiene, box stacking, air movement, store intake and tuber diseases.
A British manufacturer of packaging machines will celebrate 18 years of developing continuous motion machines at this year’s British Potato show. Gainsborough Industrial Controls (GIC) are a designer and manufacturer of vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) packaging machine solutions. GIC will be marking the anniversary of its continuous motion machines by displaying its latest GIC3100 model on its stand at the November British Potato show.
A recent paper in the journal Potato Research highlights the chlorpropham (CIPC) ban and the weaknesses and limited sustainability of global and local systems based on synthetically produced substances. But what are the current alternatives to CIPC? This article summarizes the findings of an Agroscope study of alternative sprout inhibitors.
Potato storage in bins offer 100% traceability and are finding more and more advantages for various reasons, resulting in an increasing demand for 2 tonne bins, according to Kristof Vanderhaeghe, sales engineer at Belgium based equipment specialist company Deprez Handling Solutions. Kristof says that Deprez’ Maestro XL+S machine, with a capacity of up to 125 t/h handles potatoes exceptionally gentle and reduces the bin movements by up to 84%.
The bulk of harvest is just ahead of us and here are a few reminders on operating equipment for handling the new crop. Regardless of how experienced at operating equipment, a few friendly reminders can always be helpful to minimize bruise, say potato specialists Nora Olsen and Mike Thornton in this article published by Potato Grower magazine.
Greentronics is a company based in Ontario, Canada that designs and manufactures electronic control products for use in agriculture. The company recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. According to Greentronics founder and owner, Bill Menkveld, the product provides potato growers with an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar.
Prepping your potatoes for storage depends on smart harvesting and effective cleaning. Engineers at Lockwood Manufacturing in the US say everyone knows digging too warm, too cold and too wet are all bad news for long-term storage, as is allowing your tubers to drop and bruise during harvest. However, they point out that putting your potatoes into storage in less than clean condition is just as costly in the long run. New cleaning options exist.
Scotts Precision Manufacturing Ltd based near Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK has taken a bold and innovative step by producing a series of tutorial videos to assist operators, owners, sales and service technicians of its Evolution Separator. The 9 separate videos on the Scotts YouTube channel explain everything you will ever need to know about this market leading cleaning system. All things including how to set the machine up for all crop types are covered in minute detail.
Since its launch in 2019, the MonstaFill box filler from Tong Engineering has proved invaluable in transforming post-harvest box filling for growers worldwide, from the UK and Ireland, to Australia and the USA. And now several new models of the MonstaFill twin-head box filler are in production at Tong’s new purpose-built manufacturing facility, demonstrating its role in bringing real benefits to growers both in reducing labour requirements and increasing throughput.
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.
Massive losses in the United States’ number one vegetable crop, potatoes, aren’t only due to pests or drought, they’re due to damage in the handling and storage of potatoes over the months of storage on their way to the supermarket as fresh potatoes or as potato chips or fries. A biochemistry approach that seeks to identify genetic characteristics of the wound healing process in potatoes has had success in a project led by Dylan Kosma, a biochemist in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno.
For mass importer and producer of seed potatoes, AR Tarim based in Turkey, the need for stringent quality control became a significant factor in helping them meet their goals. Up to 8000 tons of seed potatoes are imported and around 11,000 tons are locally produced by the company and stored in their 1000-year-old cave storage facility located in Kayseri. The company approached UK crop quality and storage specialists Martin Lishman Ltd for storage solutions.
One of leading potato growers in Cornwall in the UK has become the latest producer to put its trust in Haith Group. In 2020, with demand for homegrown produce soaring, E W Button & Son decided to invest in a brand new, purpose-built grading facility for its early season and ware potatoes.
An Idaho potato preservative and insect repellent producer is considering building a $35 million chemical processing plant in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Meridian, Idaho-based 1,4Group was founded in 1992 by a former potato farmer and has grown into a global business with operations in Canada, Mexico and Europe. The proposed complex would potentially replace a Chinese production site and manufacture insect repellent and a potato preservative for global export.
In this AHDB Food & Farming podcast episode, Jimmy Phillips interviews Rob Clayton, AHDB Sector Strategy Director for Potatoes, to discuss how the planned wind down and transition of AHDB Potatoes activities will impact potato storage research. The voting outcome of the recent ballot on the statutory levy in potatoes means that research activity at the centre will stop this autumn.