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PSI Bulletin: Dec22

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!


No. 11/22 SUBSCRIBER EDITION: please go to potatostorageinsight.com/subscribe to sign up



Welcome to Synopsis, Potato Storage Insight's monthly publication bringing you news, technical information and developments on potato storage issues.


PSI Potato Store Managers' Course 2023


The programme and booking form for next year's PSI Potato Store Managers' Course was released last month. The course has already attracted a healthy level of interest from subscribers and others across the industry, even globally. Book now to secure your spot!


The PSI Potato Store Managers' Course for 2023 will be held on Wednesday 15 & Thursday 16 March 2023 at the Weston Hall Hotel, Bulkington, near Coventry. Our venue benefits from easy access from the M1, M6 and M69 motorways and is a short drive from Birmingham airport.


The early-bird prices for the course (£390* non-residential, £455* residential) have been held at the same level as 2021, so please book early to benefit from this focused two-day training opportunity. At just £65* extra, the residential package is very much recommended and includes full dinner, bed and breakfast; it is proving popular with early bookers.


The costs for these types of courses can easily be recouped from some simple, incremental changes to your storage management. By way of illustration, a half per cent reduction in weight loss on 1000 tonnes of storage at a modest £200/tonne is worth £1000 at the farm gate. A reduction in unnecessary use of a 30 kW fan of an hour a week as a result of better targeted ventilation saves £450 over a 30 week storage season (at 50p/kWh).


Tutors for the course will be, as in 2022, Adrian Cunnington and Glyn Harper, formerly of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.


This is a participative course for growers and store managers who are involved in the day-to-day management of potato stores. The course follows a tried and tested format and will include talks, group discussions and practical interactive sessions, focusing on all aspects of potato storage. There will be opportunity for delegates to raise specific concerns and for these to be addressed during the course on a 1:1 or group basis. Delegate numbers are limited to 20**, so early application is highly recommended. Areas covered will include:

  • Store management principles

  • Storage buildings and control systems

  • Basic physiology for storage

  • Store monitoring

  • Store hygiene and disease control

  • Maintaining skin finish for pre‑packing

  • Drying, wound healing & pull-down

  • Managing processing crop quality

  • Sprout suppression options post-CIPC

  • Condensation control

  • Energy efficiency & cost control

  • Seed store management

  • Store loading strategies

  • Practical store operation

  • Store ventilation

  • Quality control and protocols

  • Health & safety

An electronic booking form and full details are available on the PSI website. Click here to open the booking form in a new window.

*excluding VAT **subject to change


RECENT PSI ACTIVITY


Ireland

Within the last month or so, Adrian Cunnington travelled over to Ireland which provided a useful insight into how the harvest has gone for our neighbours this year. Many earlier maturing crops were harvested in reasonable conditions this season, albeit with similar variability in quality to GB due to the general lack of rain. However, from October, there had been a significant turnaround in the weather and later crops have been difficult to harvest. In some parts, there had been no harvesting for as much as five weeks leading to difficulties in drying crops when they came into store. Where stores have multiple varieties destined for them, this has led to some serious compromises if later crops have been badly delayed.


It was a privilege to be asked to speak to the IFA/Teagasc/Bord Bia National Potato Conference again and our workshop on storage yielded some enthusiastic discussion with delegates looking to tackle the challenges of reducing storage losses, cutting store operating costs and maximising the effectiveness of sprout suppressants. DMN has been in use in the Republic for a few years now, but the visit coincided with the announcement that the chemical, marketed by DormFresh as 1-4 SIGHT®, has now been given full approval for use north of the border too.


An interesting discussion at the Conference focused on an initiative by Bord Bia, the Irish food board, aimed at trying to develop the home-grown fresh chipping market in Ireland. It was widely acknowledged that the quality of GB-supplied imports has long been the preference of the Irish markets but, with growers seeing a decline in fresh sales (much as in the UK), there is likely to be an increase in competitive pressure from Irish growers to sell more spuds to the chippers at home.


2023

For the New Year, PSI is pleased to announce that we have finally been able to secure BASIS Trainer status and will be looking to instigate some new training courses in addition to our main flagship Store Managers' Course in March.


We also have some other ideas to increase our offer to the industry to help ease some of the pain that is being felt by many businesses in relation to storage as we head into 2023.

Keep an eye on our website or here in Synopsis for further news.


BEST PRACTICE in December/January


Once crops are into store and notwithstanding the delays there have been in getting temperatures pulled down again this season, especially in ambient stores, focus needs to move to maintaining a steady, holding condition in stores. Interventions (i.e. where fans and/or cooling are necessary) should be minimised as, at a steady, relatively cool temperature, there should be limited crop activity during the mid-winter period.

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