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Breaking the Fall

Two years ago, Maritimer Pete Nieuwhof was contemplating ways to speed up packing of his farm’s fresh potato harvest. He found his answer with the EZ-Down, an ingenious device invented by a pair of fellow P.E.I. potato growers. “At the time, we were looking for something to speed up our production a little bit. We had an old homemade machine on the line. It was working well, but we wanted to upgrade so…

New and Improved Potato Scanning and Handling Systems

Any technology that helps maximize profit and minimize waste is welcome in agriculture, and potato farming is no exception. There are some recent updates on new and established scanning and handling systems now available or soon to be marketed. You have likely heard about the SmartSpud, a revolutionary Canadian device produced by Masitek Instruments of Moncton, N.B., that travels through potato equipment from harvester to packaging, mimicking a real potato. It provides…

Top Grade

It’s been five years since Austin Roberts and his wife Ramona joined forces with other P.E.I. potato farmers to successfully improve their industry for the better. In 2013, Austin (Kinkora Holdings) partnered with Marvyn Webster (Valley Grove Enterprises) and Andrew Lawless (Hilltop Produce) to built a pre-processing potato wash facility. “We felt that P.E.I. farmers as a group needed a safe and environmental option to clean and optimize product in a high-capacity…

Feds Invest in New Robotic Technology for Quebec Potato Processing

Patates Dolbec’s potato packaging facility in Saint-Ubalde, Que., yesterday received a federal government investment of $4.5 million to offset its recent expansion and modernization project. The money is earmarked for the purchase and installation of new robotic equipment that will sort, grade and pack more fresh potatoes in less time, enabling the company to improve their product quality, lower operational costs and develop new markets in the United States. Canada’s food processing…

Automated Potato Packaging Solution Lowers Operating Costs

Paxiom has recently improved their WeighPack Systems PrimoCombi multi-head weigher. The new and improved system means operators have less to learn, technicians simplify troubleshooting, managers enjoy more uptime, and executives benefit from lower operating costs. The scale, highly conducive to food industry packaging, is constructed entirely in food grade 304 stainless steel and an open frame design leaves no small crevices for bacteria to hide. The PrimoCombi, available in various weigh-bucket configurations,…

Agritechnica Showcases New Potato Technology

Every two years, vendors and farmers meet in Hanover, Germany for Agritechnica, the world’s largest trade fair for agricultural machinery. This year, nearly 450,000 people walked the 26 halls looking at new innovations and production solutions. Spud Smart was there for a firsthand look at some of the latest innovations in the potato sector. Agritechnica is a big draw for farmers who want to stay on the cutting edge of technology. This…

Dewulf introduces new offset harvester with bunker

Dewulf introduced Torro, its trailed 2-row sieving harvester with haulm conveyor, flat hedgehog units and bunker, at Potato Europe 2017. The 2-row trailed sieving harvester with bunker is equipped with 2 sieving webs in combination with a curved haulm conveyor. Thanks to its unique curve, the falling height is continuously limited to an absolute minimum and damage to the crop is prevented. According to a news release, the Torro is equipped with…

Tong Caretaker Introduces Trailer Reversing Sensors

Tong’s Caretaker mobile grader is now available with a new option of trailer reversing sensors, making loading the grader’s hopper quicker, safer, easier and more accurate than before. Designed to provide operators with the hopper loading version of parking sensors, the new trailer reversing system features a fully adjustable proximity sensor that detects the position of the trailer while reversing, and signals the driver once it is in place for tipping. “The…

Transforming agriculture data collection with tailor-made tools

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working to improve data collection while driving down costs by  building tools that gather vital information without ever touching a plant. Driven to improve the quality of information, an innovative team at CIP has pushed themselves to build their own equipment designed to help them streamline the data captured. By studying the interaction between plants and incident light, scientists can investigate everything from how the changing…

Building a better potato farm, one decision at a time

In every business, there are front-runners and there are followers. Motivated by passion and unafraid of learning, Kate Vander Zaag, and her husband Peter, have never been ones to sit back and wait for others to forge the path ahead. Farming together in Alliston, Ont. since 1990, they are fearless about investing their brainpower to constantly build a better farm. The Vander Zaags share flexible roles and responsibilities (Peter tends to handle…

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