No. 1/22: FREE ACCESS FIRST EDITION
A new potato storage update from Potato Storage Insight, exclusively for our subscrib
Welcome to the first edition of Synopsis, PSI’s new, monthly bulletin on all things potato storage. We hope you find the content interesting and informative.
This bulletin looks to take an established model from many years standing and add a new twist of commercial relevance to keep you informed on developments in the potato storage world. PSI will provide this information from a position which is ponal, specialist and - most of all - independent.
Our content will aim to be relevant, technical, newsworthy and, wherever possible, innovative to keep you up to date with change across the sector.
We welcome your comments, suggestions and submissions that help to meet these aims.
Potato Storage Insight Ltd.
Potato Storage Insight gets underway
Potato Storage Insight Ltd (PSI) is a new company specialising in potato storage expertise and know-how. PSI has been set up by Adrian Cunnington, former head of AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research facility that closed in December. Less than 9 months after the AHDB potato ballot took place and all the fallout that came with it, PSI has hit the ground running and is available to offer specialist, independent support and advice to all parts of the British potato industry building on his many years of experience, findings from the latest research and, crucially, implementation of that work into the practical arena - be that on a small farm or for a multi-million pound new storage complex. Adrian has been involved in a wide range of activity from R&D to training to on‑farm troubleshooting, authored the Potato Store Managers’ Guide and has been involved extensively ‘behind the scenes’ in co-ordinating, facilitating and advising stakeholders and other key organisations on aspects of storage such as CIPC stewardship, Defra Countryside Productivity Schemes and EAMU clearance for post-harvest chemistry.
One of our first initiatives is to offer training and skills development on potato storage, a key area for the sector. This will include a two-day residential course that PSI will be organising at Retford, Notts on 15 & 16 March. Places are booking fast so, if you are interested in one of the few remaining places, please go to our website page and download a booking form. Or, if you need to know more, call Adrian on 07970 072260 today!
Thanks to everyone who visited our stand at the Harrogate exhibition held at the end of November. It was great to get so many messages of support from across the industry. We had lots of visitors who we will be sending a link to this first edition of Synopsis; thank you to those of you who have already committed to a subscription under our show or website offer. This will begin in March; we’ll send details very soon.
And congratulations to Oliver Herring of RH Ward (Welton) Ltd., who won a free store assessment audit in our prize draw. Please call us if you would like to book an audit on your stores - or learn more.
Case Study – FF Goose & Sons Ltd
Our Technical Insights will be a regular feature of Synopsis and, for this first edition, we visit David Goose and his daughters Nenah Newell & Holly Robinson whose company FF Goose & Sons Ltd farms at Whaplode Drove, near Spalding in Lincolnshire. David and his family grow a range of varieties for the fresh and chipping markets. They take a very proactive approach to their potato production and a major development for them in the last year has been their decision to adopt a new solution in their box stores. Achieving uniform airflow is a challenge in non-positively ventilated box stores as the air always takes the path of least resistance. A series of Innovate UK-funded trials at Sutton Bridge CSR in recent years led to the development of some computer-based airflow models for box potato stores. These confirmed the uneven nature of the air distribution. But one unexpected outcome from the model was the finding that by re-orientating the fridge evaporator relative to the airflow, a lot of the bias of the return air to the centre of the store could be removed. Basically by turning the evaporator through 180° and allowing the air to enter the cooler from the back widened the intake area for the fridge significantly as most air entering the coil is ‘bounced off’ the back wall of the store. The research team carried out a range of tests to refine the idea and this was demonstrated at Sutton Bridge and then presented to the Post-Harvest Meeting of the European Association for Potato Research at Norwich in 2019 by Guy Willetts. Later that year, a newly-refurbished commercial store at Winters Lane Storage close to Sutton Bridge was successfully fitted with the test layout (https://tinyurl.com/2p8zkfbk) and, until now, that was the only site to have taken the reconfiguration on at scale, albeit to the great satisfaction of its owners. David, Holly and Nenah (pictured below, who manages the farm’s potato stores) have now moved the adoption of this new format forward. In the summer of 2021, having seen the Winters Lane system in action, they boldly decided to convert all five of their large commercial refrigerated stores to the new layout. Nenah Newell of FF Goose & Sons Ltd
They asked their fridge engineer, Justin Snart at Torien Services Ltd. of Spalding, to make the changes needed to adopt the new layout. The work was carried out before loading their stores last autumn. All of the evaporators were swivelled to face the wall in their respective stores and the fridge pipework reconfigured to suit.
The reversed evaporator facing the wall in one of FF Goose’s stores
Revised air paths with the evaporator turned round (shaded area shows negative pressure/suction)
Four months into the storage season, they are delighted with the results. David said: “The airflow in the stores is much more even and this is reflected in better temperature uniformity across the width of the store, even in our widest stores which are 11 bins wide. We have been running our cold stores during the day this year on solar and in the downtime any rise in temperature has typically been limited to 0.3-0.4°C.”
Information is still being gathered on specific costs for the regime, but the firm expects the outlay of under £1.50 per tonne to make the changes will be rapidly recouped. More uniform temperatures cut running times for the fridges and reduce the risk of hidden condensation that can initiate disease and sprouting activity. There are some additional benefits due to some space-saving too, enhancing storage capacity by up to 2%.
As ever, more data is needed to quantify the impact of the changes. PSI will maintain a watching brief on progress at FF Goose and will bring further news on that in a future edition of Synopsis.
Our thanks to David, Holly & Nenah at FF Goose & Sons for their help with this feature.
Topical tips for February
February is a month when potatoes start to gather some momentum after their winter slumbers, so it is important to be on the lookout for developments in store:
Sprouts to suppress?
Treatment with sprout suppressants will the focus of many minds especially where processing crops are being stored and if no treatments have yet been used to follow maleic hydrazide application pre-harvest.
Ethylene introduction will be underway for many using Restrain or Biofresh products. Remember to use a ramped start-up and liaise closely with your supplier on rates for your varieties and markets.
Spearmint oil (Biox-M®) from Juno PP performed well through last season but requires attention to detail to get the application right, especially in box stores. Talk to your NAAC contractor about this before application. A key aspect – as with all fog applications – is to eliminate variation in the crop before treatment by turning off cooling but maintaining air recirculation for 24 hours beforehand.
Argos® (orange oil) is a new product on the scene for this season from UPL. It is also hot fogged and works in a similar way to spearmint oil. Only a few treatments have been made at commercial scale so far and so it is early days to see how it performs. Orange oil is available at a lower cost than mint oil, but may need more applications.
PSI will be working with both Juno and UPL to assist in troubleshooting any application difficulties this season.
We are aware of no further progress in the registration of 1,4SIGHT® (DMN) at the time of writing.
Some subscribers will be controlling sprouting without resorting to chemicals. Again, good even control of temperature below 4°C is key. Check regularly to ensure tubers are not getting too cold (below 2°C) especially near fridge outlet ducts. Defrost settings can also extend running times unnecessarily. If there is variation in temperature or excess energy use, PSI can assist in optimising your store.
Skin spot check
Skin spot is a fungal disease which infects potato eyes and spreads over the skin as small raised spot lesions which can cause significant losses due to downgrading of appearance and increased need for peeling as the spots deepen into the tuber flesh over time.
The disease is not readily visible at store loading but lesions on affected crops will develop at this time of year and can appear as a significant blemish almost from nowhere. Susceptible varieties include King Edward and Arsenal. Skin spot risk rises in crops harvested late and in cool conditions, although the disease has been mitigated through the use of cleaner seed and the absence of CIPC which used to interfere with curing, a key cultural control.
Make a point of removing a sample from any stores where skin spot is suspected and washing them up to check for any signs of the characteristic ‘pimple-like’ lesions shown below.
Courtesy of Martyn Cox, © Blackthorn Arable
Potato News Today has reported that Syngenta USA has launched a new fungicide over there for use in storage. It is called Archive® and contains both fludioxinail and azoxystrobin. Whether or not it will ever become available in the UK remains to be seen.
SAC is running a store management training course in Scotland on 22/23 February in Perth. Adrian Cunnington from PSI will be one of the course tutors. Contact Innes Jessiman at SAC Consulting for full details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have found this Synopsis bulletin informative and would like to access further copies, they will be published monthly on the Potato Storage Insight website.
The March edition will be available free of change in the week commencing 7 March.
From 1 April, Synopsis will be available by subscription only.
You can subscribe by visiting our subscription page or calling us on 07970 072260.
Synopsis is published by:
Potato Storage Insight Ltd. 45 Main St., Gedney Dyke, Spalding, Lincolnshire. PE12 0AJ. UK.
Tel: 07970 072260 potatostorageinsight.com
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