AgronomyEquipment and Technology

Equipment and Technology


Optical Sorting

Odenberg has introduced Halo, the company’s newest and most advanced sensor-based optical sorter. Designed for use after potatoes have been washed and dried in wash plants, Halo uses top and bottom sensor banks to view potatoes in motion using LED, CCD camera and near-infrared spectroscopy.

According to Diarmuid Meagher, vice-president of sales for Odenberg’s sorters, the Halo model offers multiple benefits, including “significant sorting labour-savings and consistent high-quality output.”

Halo is a “groundbreaker” for the industry.
Halo is a “groundbreaker” for the industry.

Beyond this, Meagher says, Halo offers both consistency and efficiency. “The line speed in packing sheds is determined by the quality of the potatoes on the day. What this machine allows the packer to do is run it at a consistent high speed and close to the same speed every day. That, in turn, helps staff morale and yield recovery. Less hands on the product equals higher yields.”
Halo can sort varietals of all colours and also specialty (fingerling and mini) potatoes with a high degree of efficiency. When it comes to Russet potatoes, the machine is a “groundbreaker” for the industry, according to Meagher. Russets are notoriously difficult to sort effectively by quality and shape, especially after long storage periods, when the darkened skin prevents most sorters from accurately weeding out damaged potatoes. “Halo has proven itself in sorting Russet potatoes throughout the storage cycle and delivering high-quality and efficient output,” says Meagher.

Halo sorters come in a variety of sizes and configurations, with the ability to process anywhere from one tonne of potatoes per hour to 53 tonnes per hour, and can be custom-configured to suit customers’ requirements.

For more information on Halo, visit

Storage Disease Control

Engage Agro has received Canadian registration for Phostrol, a systemic fungicide which can be applied in the field to control late blight, or post-harvest to control storage diseases such as pink rot.

According to Bob Hamilton, product manager for Potatoes and Vegetables with Engage Agro, growers have good reason to be excited about Phostrol. “It offers storage protection with a foliar application,” he says.

Phostrol combines two separate modes of action—it inhibits the oxidative phsophorylation in the metabolism of oomycetes, while also stimulating the plant’s natural defences against pathogens.

Phostrol can be applied in the field or post-harvest.
Phostrol can be applied in the field or post-harvest.

“In potatoes,” notes the product literature, “Phostrol provides effective, convenient and flexible preventative control of late blight (Phytophthora infestans) and suppression of pink rot (Phytophthora erythroseptica) during the growing season, as well as control of these two diseases after harvest.”

Benefits of Phostrol include the product’s unique formulation, which contains three distinct phosphite ions, and neutral pH, meaning the product does not require a buffering agent and allows for maximum availability of phosphite ions. Additionally, the product is very effective at low use rates—so growers can make fewer trips to the field.

Phostrol can be applied as a foliar, in-furrow or post-harvest application.

Visit for the product label.


Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing, Ltd. is offering the full line of HerDi palletizers to the Canadian market. The palletizers, which can handle anywhere from 10 to 50 kilogram bags, are compact enough to fit into almost any worspace. Additionally, HerDi palletizers can offer a complete package of functions, including internal conveyors, client specific adjustments, wrappers, bag pushers and pallet dispensers.

According to Chris Hammel, sales and service manager for LMC, the HerDi palletizers remain the best product on the marketplace for Canadian growers looking to increase efficiency in small- to medium-sized operations. “They’re a great way to introduce automation and increase production for a traditionally manual operation,” he says. “With over 15 years of experience, HerDi produces remarkably simple and durable equipment that can reach 800 bags per hour while the competition tops out at 600. Their dedication to detail has also provided a user interface that is intuitive and easy to follow for all levels of users.”

Herdi palletizers offer a compact design and high efficiency.
Herdi palletizers offer a compact design and high efficiency.

Bags are fed into the palletizer by a belt conveyor onto an elevator that lifts them to a 10-pronged gripper, which in turn grabs and lifts a bag at a time. Bags are then placed into the correct position on the pallet by the gripper at a programmable rate.

“Compared with palletizing systems in the same price range, HerDi is faster and has a longer performance record in the potato industry,” says Hammel.

For more information, visit or contact LMC at [email protected].

Drum Washing

Sparro Automation is offering its state-of-the-art Van Dijke drum washer, a high-efficiency, low-maintenance washing system, just in time for the harvest season.

According to Peter Rozendaal, sales manager for Sparro Automation, the drum washer sets a new standard for water use. “Brush wash systems and certain types of drum wash systems require a lot of water,” he says. “The Van Dijke machine uses an extremely low amount of water. An average Van Dijke system only uses 1,000 gallons an hour, which can easily be supplied by a garden hose, instead of the sizable pumps that are needed for other systems.”

Herdi palletizers offer a compact design and high efficiency.
Herdi palletizers offer a compact design and high efficiency.


In addition, the drum washer offers an integrated dirt removal system. Settled dirt in the washer is removed via a special auger system through a central discharge valve. An integrated conveying system, which can transfer the dirt to be hauled away, can be added. The washer can also be integrated with a rock and dirt separator or tare separator to make it a complete, self-contained system so water can be recycled, eliminating settling pits or ponds. “There are many companies that build drum washers but not a single company that has an effective dirt removal system,” says Rozendaal.

“Another unique feature of this washing system is that the operator can set the parameters—the water level, the speed, the quantity of potatoes—and once it is set, it will continue washing without any supervision,” he says.

Van Dijke wash systems come in sizes ranging from 10 to 80 metric tonnes an hour.

To learn more about the Van Dijke washer, visit

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