At the end of February, AGRANA successfully ended its processing of the 2020/2021 potato harvest at its potato starch mill in Gmünd (Lower Austria). With a processing period of 189 days, this was AGRANA's longest ever campaign in Austria.From August 20 2020 to February 25, 2021, a record quantity of 322,000 metric tons of starch potatoes were processed at the Gmünd site, which is not only a considerable increase compared to the prior year (276,000 metric tons), but also a third more than the average of the last five years. The average starch content amounted to 17.8% (prior year: 18.3%).
The wet weather during the harvest made conditions challenging for farmers while digging up the potatoes and also had impacts on the delivery of the raw materials to the Gmünd factory and during production. As a result of the long wet period, the raw materials between October and January were constantly delivered with a high proportion of wet soil, which entailed more work while washing and scrubbing the potatoes clean.
Johann Marihart, CEO at AGRANA:
“Despite the particularly high quantities of potatoes, which represented new challenges for the starch campaign in terms of storage, logistics and technology in 2020/21, it was possible to successfully overcome these in the course of this year's potato processing campaign.”
At Gmünd, Austria’s only potato starch factory, AGRANA manufactures food-grade starches and starches for technical applications such as those in the paper, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
The facility also processes organic potatoes to make organic starches, organic sweeteners and organic long-life potato products such as purées, potato dough mixes and baby food. In total, AGRANA manufactures over 300 different starch products at its mill in Gmünd.
Production levels have remained high from Day 1 even during the corona pandemic. Demand has increased, particularly for packaged potato purée and dough.