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PJ Lee & Sons pleased with new storage for processing potatoes destined for chip shops

View of the box store at the Sutton Gault Pack House facility of PJ Lee and Sons

Following the successful installation and commissioning of shed being build by Thurlow Nunn Standen LTD and the fitted Omnivent suction and blowing ventilation system, OmniCuro automated control systems within 9 box stores (12000 tons) at the Sutton Gault Pack House facility of PJ Lee and Sons in time for the 2014 -15 storage season, the project is being heralded by the family business as an outstanding success.

With the last of the stored potatoes being shipped during the final days of June, experts commented on the stored crop as being in excellent condition and commanding premium market prices.

Big savings

Data gathered from the stores first storage year confirmed that ventilation running hours and energy usage was 45% to 50% less than their conventional stores of a similar size and layout.

This benefit was aided and complimented by the internet based real time reactive Omnicuro control system which constantly monitors and adjusts the storage conditions based on both external and internal temperature and humidity conditions, therefore in turn contributing to savings in weight loss reduction and minimising storage risks.

PJ Lee and Sons have equipped their potato storage also with rooftop solar (PV)

Extreme care problem potatoes

To emphasis this partner Christopher Lee states as an example:



“We knew we had a problem field where harvest conditions had lead to a particular variety having a rots problem, we placed some of this high risk crop into one of the new Omnivent stores with the remainder going into one of our other conventional stores, with the outcome being that the majority of this vulnerable crop placed in the conventional store going bad within weeks, whereas on the other hand when we emptied this particular Omnivent store in late May it was extremely pleasing to see that the individual rots had been contained to isolated tuber’s which were fully dried out thus preventing spreading of the problem to healthy crop, these dried rots of prune appearance had obviously been dried very quickly, thus prevented weeping due to the efficiency and effective even distribution of the systems air flow”.


New method of applying CIPC

Christopher also adds that with regards to the CIPC application in these new stores, we decided through consultation with Ronnie Laing at Omnivent and our applicator Superfog to experiment and trial a new method of applying CIPC in light of the industry pressures to reduce application levels and residues.

Effectively what we did was to utilise the extensive control available through OmniCuro to on/ off pulse and time control various sequences of fan operation, this allows the CIPC gas to be controlled in stepped blanket form through the whole of the boxed crop, the suction system concept lends itself to this method and ensures even whole crop exposure to the gas, as opposed to the principle adopted in conventional application where constant high volume multi hit application leads to deflection and uneven application.

The results for MRL tests and sprout inhibition levels achieved have concluded these trials to be a success, including a store where we reduced the application levels significantly without any sprouting problems, residue levels were extremely low and distribution even throughout the stored boxes.





OmniCuro Storage Control system

During the coming season Omnivent will not only continue our relationship with PJ Lee on the above developments, but will be retrofitting our OmniCuro control into another 11 of their stores.

Plans are also underway for a second phase of the new build to increase state of the art storage by a further 8000 tons for the 2016-17 season.