Keeping spuds until June with smart storage


“Potatoes can now easily be stored until June”, says Chris Lee of PJ Lee & Sons Ely about the new OmniCuro system form Omnivent that Highflyer Farms has installed to improve storage. The farm is one of the largest individual potato producers in the UK, serving chip shops the length and breadth of the country.

Omnivent was one of the presenters at the Post-Harvest Storage Pollinator, held at Sutton Bridge.

Rob Clayton of AHDB commented that the new high-yielding potato varieties need careful handling during storage. He says: “We are really pleased that the supply chain is introducing high-yielding varieties. It is part of the impetus that Great Britain needs to be more competitive against our competitors on mainland Europe.

“However, it takes time to ‘bed in’ the best store management techniques for each variety. Each can behave differently in terms of factors like rate of respiration, disease susceptibility etc. so store managers need to fine-tune their skills. Our team at Sutton Bridge can provide advice to those who have questions about storing a variety for the first time.”

Ronnie Laing of Omnivent talked about smart storage. He says: “For many years we have advised clients that the application of CIPC is more effective and efficient when applied in a controlled positive flow ventilation system, as opposed to free circuit or ‘room tower ventilation’. If the existing distribution systems can’t be modified, then we will recommend the introduction of speed inverters and flow separation curtains or walls according to ADHB guidance.”

Omnivent Omnicure systemThe new OmniCuro system uses a suction system to control for the fan speeds or fan groups. It can also switch or pulse particular fan groups on and off at a selectable time gap. This means precise control of the curtain of gas, ensuring it moves through the crop evenly and at slow speeds to provide coverage across the surface area. The process is not affected by flow deflection or hot spot creation due to over excessive exposure.

The return on investment can be measured in many ways. The fan running hours for an average season can be 40 to 50% lower than conventional systems; this is due to reactive accurate real time control that uses higher air capacity / mixing when and where it’s actually required. Other cost savings include: very low CIPC application rates: exceptional humidification control resulting in limited weight losses over a long storage season (3 or 4% on average). Successful long term quality potato storage at fry colour limiting storage temperatures till June /July.

Potato farmer Chris Lee has found adoption of the OmniCuro control system beneficial.

He continues: “Distribution of CIPC is excellent! The pulsing of fans is made extremely easy by the turning of a key. Rates are half that of other brands of stores. Total grams per tonne are in the region of 20 storing until June.PJ Lee Highflyer farms

“The service is fantastic with an exceptional knowledge base (they even have their own agronomist).

“Potatoes can EASILY be stored until June. There is minimal weight loss with the Omnibreeze’s, with only half the running hours where compared to the competition.

“Bloody amazing!” he said.

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