The Potato Council division of the Agriculture andHorticulture Development Board has marked the 50th anniversary of its theopening of its Sutton Bridge crop storage research facility.
The leading post-harvest applied research centre for agricultural storage in the UK was opened on April 15, April 1964 by Baroness Mary Soames, daughter of Winston Churchill.
The facility works to improve the quality of produce, especially potatoes, through a better understanding of storage. A major focus is to ensure technology transfer from its latest research and development findings and so develop the way businesses store their crops.
The potato industry has experienced many changes since that opening day in 1964. The total planted area in Great Britain has shrunk by 45 per cent (from 270,000ha to 120,000 ha), while the average area per grower has risen from 4ha to 53ha.
Increased efficiency has seen the average potato yield jump from 24 to 45 t/ha. Total potato production stood at 5.5m tonnes in 2013 but was 6.5m in 1964.
Friends, colleagues and levy payers, past and present, will be invited to Sutton Bridge on Thursday, July 3 to celebrate 50 years of storage research.
This special day will showcase storage development, knowledge exchange and best practice. A“Summer Potato Feast” will be held the night before, in King’s Lynn. Further details will be made available soon.