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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 types to choose from: arch style, rigid frame and wood frame. Each has its own set of advantages and challenges.

For example, rigid frame storage buildings are made to last and they hold their value. They are also the most expensive per hundredweight to build. It’s easy for loadout buildings or work areas to be attached to this type of storage facility.

Arch style buildings, like Meridian’s Archwall storages, can be built quickly and economically. These buildings are adaptable and expandable. The ability to expand your storage capacity in five or 10 years is important for the building’s longevity and to get the most out of your investment. These storage buildings also hold their value.

Wood frame is the most economical of the three types and can be built quickly. This type can be expanded and it’s easy to attach a work area or loadout building. However, longevity is shorter than the other styles and insurance premiums are higher.

Serious thought should be given to style. For instance, what style fits your farm, what are your neighbours doing, and do you have an aesthetic preference? You will also be influenced by regional preferences, such as current storage presence, past and present trends, the dealers located in your area and what those dealers are offering.

Research is important, as is exploring all options available. What storage facilities you’ve had in the past may not fit your farm design or goals now or further down the road. Visit your neighbours, talk to other farmers with storage success stories, and gather testimonials.

Social media is a useful tool to compare different styles and designs. Additionally, producers often supply feedback on social media about storage facilities. Informed choices should guide your process. If you’re going to change storage styles, look for wins.

Before you set your sights on a certain storage style, it must work with the air system and the air system company you’re working with. The storage style and air system must be compatible. Almost 95 per cent of the time, growers already have an air system company they trust.

However, if you want to completely change storage facility style, you may want to explore your options; air system companies are pushing the envelope to make storages better. Ask yourself, what is the company bringing to the table?

In addition to working with a reputable air system company, choose a respected builder as well. Your air system company and your builder need to come together on many aspects — you should all be on the same page about your storage goals.

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