Zak Stanier, Chelford, Cheshire
STORE ADDS VALUE
Having the ability to check potato stores quickly and frequently provides complete peace of mind for the operators of Catfield Spuds.
The company – run by father and son Roderick and Jeremy Shearing – grows some 300 acres of potatoes on rented land within a 15 mile radius of its base at Catfield, Norfolk.
It has just installed Crop Systems Ltd’s SmartStorTM system in its range of box stores, which enables both of them to monitor and manage the stores crops remotely 24 hours a day.
The range of stores has been expanded gradually as their production has grown, and they now have 6,000 tonnes capacity, with the oldest stores being some 15 years old:
“Having our own storage means we haven’t got to rely on anyone else for it. That means we are in complete control of our crops”, Jeremy says.
They market the crops through Nene Potatoes – “they can market our crops to many more outlets than we could do by ourselves” – and regard maintaining crop quality as being essential to achieving best prices.
The new SmartStorTM system helps them ensure crops are always stored in the best conditions so they are in prime quality when they are unloaded.
He says the system provides him with the peace of mind that stores are always working efficiently, and removes the danger of nasty surprises:
“When we were checking the stores manually we never knew what we might find before we get inside – a fridge might have broken down or something else might have gone wrong.
“With the SmartStorTM we both know exactly what is happening all the time. I can check all the temperatures, airflows and other important things like CO2 levels very easily on my tablet.
“At the moment we are trying to run all the fridges from midnight to 7am to make best use of cheaper electricity. When prices are strong that is not such a priority, but when they are weaker it is essential, and having the information from SmartStorTM is invaluable”.
Even though all the stores are on one site, the system makes checking that everything is working correctly much easier:
“If you do the job manually it can still take an hour or two. Now I can do it via my mobile phone very quickly and simply”.