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Unwashed raw fresh potatoes

How to save a crop you didn’t plan to still be storing

Phew. After incredible market upheaval from March through much of May, processing potatoes are finally moving again as fry processors restart their lines. COVID-19 has resulted in a very rough go for potato processors and farmers alike, but I’m really pleased to see some positive market trends slowly returning. That said, the two plus month backlog means farmers need to prepare for much longer-term potato storage than normal. Even under the best-case…

A pile of potatoes

Welcome — Your Greener, More Effective Fogging Future Starts Now

Custom applicators are increasingly turning to a greener, more sustainable application unit for CIPC, 1,4 DMN and other in-storage potato treatments — fresh air applicators. Certain processing companies are more than applauding the change. At least one, for example, recently started requiring the chipper potatoes it buys in certain provinces to be treated with fresh air machines rather than traditional units. While the decision seems like a bold move today, it may…

Here’s What You Need to Know About Portable and Prescription Temperature Control

Do you remember when strawberries were only available a few months a year? When it was acceptable a case of sweet potatoes weighing 40 pounds at Thanksgiving would shrink to 38 lb. by Christmas, and 30 lb. by Easter? When consumers accepted that “new” potatoes were something time-limited and special? Shockingly, none of these realities were very long ago. What a far way we’ve come in a short number of years. Today,…

The Art of Keeping Spuds Comfortable: Today’s Insulation Options

On a frigid, 40-below night in February or a broiling, 30-above day in July, would you feel comfortable having a long nap inside an under-insulated shed? Potatoes don’t either. The good news is that virtually everyone is pushing for more insulation R value today. Spray foam insulation now offers better fire retardant and more food grades than earlier generations of foam. The main change, however, comes in depth. Virtually across all potato…

Building More Storage? Consider Short- and Long-Term Goals

I get a lot of phone calls and emails from growers looking for advice about building additional potato storage. Though every farm is unique, one piece of advice that works in virtually every situation is this: think big. Make no mistake: I am not advocating that growers take on impossible debt or build much bigger than they need. Rather, I mean all farmers, regardless of size, should follow corporate farms’ decisive and…

We’ve Added 2 Months of Storage Across the Industry — Here’s Why That Matters

One thing is certain: there’s no shortage of demand for quality Canadian potatoes. With processors in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest expanding and building as we speak, potato inventory demands are on a sharp rise. In fact, I estimate we’ll need many thousands more acres of potato production to keep processors content as they continue to expand. And growth in the industry isn’t just in the form of new builds:…

Think Beyond Today

After a decade in the potato storage business, I’ve learned there’s a single piece of advice I can give that, no matter the situation, the operation or the farmer, proves relevant each and every time someone is considering upgrading their storage. It’s this: think beyond today. If you buy yourself a new piece of equipment — a tractor, for example — and realize it’s not quite right for your operation, you have…

Is Bigger Really Better?

Potato storage today has come a long way from the wooden shed out back older generations remember. Today, improved aeration systems, thicker gauge steel and innovative designs mean companies like ours can easily build potato storage sheds that hold 215,000 hundredweight and stretch 420 feet in length or more. But, is bigger always better? It entirely depends on your priorities. Building a single large, rather than two or more smaller potato storage…

Huge Steps Forward in Potato Storage Design and Innovation

Given that technology and innovation are changing every part of agriculture, it’s not surprising that there have been big strides in a potato storage’s design and technology too. We’re now able to build bigger buildings than ever. Over the past 10 years, leading manufacturers have been able to significantly increase the tensile strength (KSI) of steel buildings and build in heavier gauge due to improved manufacturing technology and equipment. Because of the…

Changing Storage Styles? Look for Wins

You’ve decided it’s time to update or build new potato storage. You’ve spent time considering the questions I posed in my last column on where to begin the process. Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. There are four main factors you must consider when deciding upon a potato storage facility, these include: style of building insulation ventilation and humidification options: auxiliary heat and/or refrigeration Basically, there are three building…

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