Head of Sutton Bridge firm addresses World Potato Congress

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POTATO growers should be investing in technology to improve storage of the crop, they have been advised.

Adrian Cunnington, head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, was speaking at the World Potato Congress when he issued the advice to growers.

He said they should be investing in the latest technology to automate their potato storage and maintain crop safety within the store.

He added that while manual environmental control systems were still be popular, they compromised the crop, adding: “We need to help people to improve their storage facilities through better knowledge transfer.

“We have huge potential to use knowledge based-systems, using weather data to predict when we can capture cold air into the store to reduce our reliance on refrigeration.

“Smartphone apps will also have a role to allow store managers to access information remotely and allow much better management of ambient store temperature.

“If we are going to get additional efficiencies we need to be forcing the air through the crop rather than just pushing it around.”

He suggested that without correct ventilation it was difficult to apply chemicals evenly, particularly when potatoes were stored in boxes, and so investment in improving storage could create efficiencies.