Crop Systems Ltd
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Jonathan Bubb, Shropshire.

NEW STORE BEATS TARGETS

A new 2,700 tonne potato storage facility – constructed and equipped as a ‘turnkey’ project by Crop Systems Ltd – is helping Shropshire grower J M Bubb and Son hit and beat exacting targets for both energy and suppressant usage.

The Bubbs grow 360 acres of potatoes as part of the arable business at Lynn South Farm, Lynn, Newport and built the new complex to replace ageing facilities which they realised were past their best.

Their new store is an integrated complex which includes two 1,200 tonne bulk stores built adjoining an extensive covered loading and grading area. The complex also features a 300 tonne box store, as well as both machinery and chemical stores.

They grow for the processing market, with over two thirds of their crops going to McCain and the rest to a selection of other customers, although the new store’s performance might open up fresh opportunities with their customers, suggests Jonathan Bubb:

“The stores were loaded in October and most of the crop was unloaded in April and May. Over that period suppressant usage was surprisingly low, and they anticipate being able to reduce it further as they gain experience in managing the facility.

Energy usage has been excellent, with electricity costs over the entire storage period working out at £2.19/tonne.

Some 93% of the energy generated throughout the winter from the 50kW worth of solar panels installed on the roof, was used by the store.

“Everything about our previous store was ageing. It wasn’t efficiently insulated and was not actually purpose built, and was only really suitable for fairly short-term storage. We were concerned about how that impacted on energy efficiency”, says Jonathan.

“In the end we realised a completely new building was needed and decided to use Crop Systems because their equipment was the best on the market.

“The new store has fully met our expectations. The ventilation and control system means the store virtually runs itself – it needs very little management time.

“We did have some problem field rot in some parts of the crop, but the store design ensured they were restricted to a few small patches without affecting the rest of the crop”.

His father Michael adds: “We still had some potatoes in store in June and they still looked fantastic. We liked the idea of predictive adiabatic cooling and the system has worked very well and is very simple to control”.

The adiabatic cooling system, has been key to reducing crop temperature and holding the crop long term around their target of 9° C.

Michael also compliments the total project management service provided by Crop Systems, which covers everything from dealing with planning authorities, through all the physical aspects of building the store and advice on making optimum use of the various capital grants and tax efficiencies that are available.