OLD AND NEW COMBINE FOR SUCCESS
A combination of well-established ideas and new technology is helping a Sussex potato grower obtain optimum performance from an ageing store.
One of the four potato stores operated by R D Renwick Ltd’s Buddington Farm, Midhurst is a 700 tonne capacity box store that was converted from a standard farm building:
“We have always known this store was a bit of a compromise, but that we had to make the best of it”, says James Renwick.
But its performance is much improved following a range of improvements made after consultation with Crop Systems Ltd and the installation of one of the company’s SmartStorTM controllers.
The company grows 200 acres of potatoes on its 1,200 acre farm, with the remainder supporting arable crops, and both dairy and beef herds.
Key markets for their potatoes are the supermarket pre-pack trade and chipping – they sell their own branded potatoes to 300 fish and chip shops in the region.
The store in question is normally run at around 8.5oC to keep Marquise potatoes for chipping. James decided to consult Crop Systems Ltd to see whether its performance could be improved:
“After talking to the company we made a number of tweaks. That included installing side curtains to ensure the air flowed right through the boxes.
They also blocked other routes via which the air could re-circulate directly to the fans without passing through the crop:
“As a result we are getting much more even air flow right across the store”.
It also included installing the company’s SmartStorTM control system, which includes a heating and drying function that proved very valuable this autumn:
“This autumn we put some very wet and muddy crops into it, but the drying programme has worked perfectly and prepared them for storage”.
He is also confident that energy use will be much more efficient with the new controller installed:
“We were really impressed with the way Ray Andrews had thought about the issue of energy saving and achieving consistent air movement throughout the store.
“This system now enables us to make best use of cool air and dry air, and we are confident our gassing will be more efficient and effective”.
Being able to monitor and manage the store remotely should also prove an advantage:
“We normally check stores personally every day, but being able to check on them and make adjustments when we are off-site will be valuable – and the fact that Crop Systems Ltd staff can also check operations is also important”.