�600,000 potato storage centre at Sutton Bridge to open with tour for growers

A NEW �600,000 storage complex will be officially opened at Sutton Bridge next month.

Growers have been invited to tour the facility, by the side of the River Nene in south Lincolnshire.

The Potato Council’s crop storage centre is one of the largest in the world and the �2million investment is nearing completion.

The efficiency of storage will be one of the many topics on the agenda on September 2.

Professor Gareth Edwards-Jone, of Bangor University, will review the impact of climate change on potato storage and Jay Wootton from The Farm Business Consultants will discuss storage costs and how to optimise them.

Pepsico’s Mark Pettigrew will be speaking about sustainability in the supply chain.

In the afternoon, delegates will select four workshops to attend with experts such as Tim Pratt from Farm Energy on the latest energy auditing and surveillance techniques and seed storage with Dr Stuart Wale from SAC.

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In addition, Potato Council specialists will be offering insights on topics such as Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC) stewardship with head of Research and Development Dr Mike Storey, alternative sprout suppressants with Adrian Briddon and disease risk management in storage with Dr Glyn Harper.

“Electricity contributes around 60 per cent of variable storage costs,” said Adrian Cunnington, head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.

“It is vital to know how efficient your storage is and ways of enhancing performance. Potatoes stored under optimum conditions retain their quality - and value - for longer.

“Sustainability is key to the future and improvements can offer substantial benefits, often after as little as two years. However, growers should also be looking at their long term strategy for their storage and contemplating investments to provide for the next ten to 20 years.”

At a special East of England potato day growers can meet specialists on September 1 at Frederick Hiam, Hill Farm, Tuddenham, Bury St Edmunds.

Held in association with Branston Potatoes, Fenmarc Produce, McCain Foods and QV Foods, this new event will be entirely field based.

Dr Mark Stalham, of Cambridge University Farm (CUF) will talk about reducing bruising, while Dr David Firman, also from CUF, will consider grower collaboration, reducing nitrogen and seed rates.

“These practical discussions really help growers make informed business decisions,” says Gary Collins at Potato Council.

• To book a place, levy payers should contact Miya Kotecha at Potato Council on 02476 478782 or e-mail mkotecha@potato.org.uk

For more information please visit www.potato.org.uk/events