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Case study: How to build a potato storage facility

Case study: How to build a potato storage facility

The completed bulk potato storage for processing potatoes in the United Kingdom (Courtesy: Crop Systems Ltd)

August 5, 2012
A new 2,700 tonne potato storage facility – constructed and equipped as a ‘turnkey’ project by Crop Systems Ltd - is helping Shropshire growers J M Bubb and Son hit and beat exacting targets for both energy and CIPC usage.

The Bubbs grow 360 acres of potatoes as part of the arable business at Lynn South Farm, Lynn, Newport and built the new complex to replace ageing facilities which they realised were past their best.

Their new store is an integrated complex which includes two 1,200 tonne bulk stores built adjoining an extensive covered loading and grading area. The complex also features a 300 tonne box store, as well as both machinery and chemical stores.

(Click to enlarge)

Building a potato storage: final building framework

They grow for the processing market, with over two thirds of their crops going to McCain and the rest to a selection of other customers, although the new store’s performance might open up fresh opportunities with their customers, suggests Jonathan Bubb:

“The stores were loaded in October and most of the crop was unloaded in April and May. Over that period we used three CIPC treatments of 14 grammes/tonne, 12gms/t and another 12gms/t – 38gms/t total.

“With experience of how well the system works, in future years we plan to bring that down. The store’s energy usage has been excellent, with the energy costs over the entire storage period working out at £2.19/tonne.

“Furthermore 93% of the energy generated throughout the winter from the 50kW worth of solar panels installed on the roof, was used by the store.

“Everything about our previous store was ageing. It wasn’t efficiently insulated and was not actually purpose built, and was only really suitable for fairly short term storage, and we were concerned about how that impacted on energy efficiency”, says Jonathan.

“In the end we realised a completely new building was needed and decided to use Crop Systems because their equipment was the best on the market”.

(Click to enlarge)

Fully filled bulk potato storage

“The new store has fully met our expectations. The ventilation and control system means the store virtually runs itself – it needs very little management time. We did have some problem field rots that came into the store, but the store design ensured they were restricted to a few small patches without affecting the rest of the crop”.

His father Michael adds: “We had some potatoes in store in June and they still looked fantastic. We liked the idea of predictive adiabatic cooling. The system works very well and is very simple to control”.

The adiabatic cooling system, has been key to reducing crop temperature and holding the crop long term around their target of 9° C.

Michael also compliments the total project management service provided by Crop Systems, which covers everything from dealing with planning authorities, through all the physical aspects of building the store and advice on making optimum use of the various capital grants and tax efficiencies that are available.

Additional pictures are posted on the PotatoPro facebook page

Companies in this Article
Crop Systems Ltd from the United Kingdom designs and installs potato and crop storage controllers and equipment for farmers, growers and produce suppliers