Australia: Research team aims to extract high quality proteins from processing wastewater

Researchers dr. Jocelyn Midgley (Simplot Australia) and professor Vicki Chen, from UNSW School of Chemical Engineering in Sydney, Australia, associate professor Jayashree Arcot and PhD student Shirin Dabestani, plan to find a solution to extract valuable high quality proteins from wastewater. Wastewater effluent from the food processing industries contains high concentrations of potassium, COD and BOD (chemical and biochemical oxygen demand) caused by the presence of starch, proteins, amino acids and sugars. The waste stream from the potato processing industry particularly contains considerable amounts of these valuable by-products. Protein, particularly plant protein, is a food trend that has been gathering increasing momentum with consumers. Although the level of protein in this wastewater is low, large volumes of potatoes are processed, thus for Simplot Australia the project was an investigation of opportunities. More

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Trend: Driverless farming robots could work the fields of the future

The 2017 Cereals show in Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire. Pictured: The Anatis crop-weeding robot.Swarms of automated farming robots could hold the key to future productivity and workforce concerns, according to one exhibitor at the 2017 Cereals show in the UK. Demonstrated in the new Fields of the Future zone at the show in Lincolnshire was the Anatis machine, made by French company Carré, which is described as a “connected agricultural co-bot”. Guided by GPS, it trundles between the rows of brassica plants, mechanically removing weeds, while a series of cameras gathers data on the crop plants, counting and measuring them so the operator can plan their management and see any areas of stilted growth which require further attention. Sean Stanfield, sales director for TRP Imports in Sleaford, said five of the battery-powered machines will be working commercially in France by the end of the year, and he will be taking UK orders for 2019. More

China plans to grow potatoes in space … like Matt Damon did in The Martian

Image result for matt damon plant potatoesFor the first time in history, Chinese space authorities are planning to grow potatoes and raise worms on the moon, the Chongqing Morning Post reported on Tuesday. A 3kg mini-ecosystem container developed by research teams led by Chongqing University would be transported to the moon’s surface by the Chang’e 4 that will be launched in 2018, authorities revealed last week. “The container will send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the moon. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together, they can establish a simple ecosystem on the Moon,” Zhang Yuanxun, chief designer of the container, was quoted as saying in the report. More

Developing wireless sensor technologies to fight potato rot in storage facilities

Image result for potato storageIn Idaho, potatoes are both a humble stereotype and a half-billion dollar crop. According to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, every spring farmers plant more than 320,000 acres of potatoes valued at between $550-$700 million. Yet unbeknownst to most consumers, roughly 30 percent of the potatoes harvested spoil before they reach a grocery store shelf. Boise State University researchers Harish Subbaraman, David Estrada and Yantian Hou hope to change that. In a recently awarded one-year $413,681 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant, Boise State is collaborating with Idaho State University and commercial industry partners to develop a wireless sensor network that would be able to detect temperature, humidity levels, and carbon dioxide and ammonia levels in real time in storage facilities, to help with early detection of potato rot. The cloud-enabled sensor system will feature three-dimensional hot spot visualization and help predict on-coming rot or deteriorating quality of stored potatoes. Continue reading

Overview: Potato product fryers

Potato Product Fryers: an overviewSelecting the right fryer design is one of the most critical decisions in potato processing. In this article by Don Giles, Director of Sales, Processing Systems at Heat and Control, he provides an overview of the different fryer types available and explains how specialised fryer designs can improve productivity and quality. Giles provides an overview on batch fryers, continuous fryers, multi-stage fryers, vacuum fryers, and more. Article

Texturized potato chips with Ingredion’s solution

Ingredion Incorporated announced six additions to its Precisa Crisp line of functional starch texturizers for the snack industry. With Precisa Crisp series of snack texturizers, manufacturers can create baked snacks with enhanced textures, optimal expansion and reduced breakage. “With more consumers around the world clamoring for healthier baked snacks, we wanted to help manufacturers seize the opportunity creating textures that appeal to more consumers,” said Marco Villone, Ingredion’s vice president of marketing USA and Canada. “The new series of Precisa Crisp texturizers allows manufacturers to dial-in desired texture, from “soft” and “snapping” to “hard” and “shattering”. Precisa Crisp functional starches can be used to formulate a variety of snacks like potato chips, crackers and tortilla chips. More

Canadian entrepreneur modifies french fry cutter for new markets

tg-03062017-french-fry.jpgCharlottetown entrepreneur Hamid Sanayie is trying to be a cut above the rest in the french fry world. The Iranian-born man moved to Prince Edward Island (PEI) in August 2007 after living in the United Kingdom for the past 21 years. He was looking for a quiet and safe place to raise his children, but Sanayie also had quite an eye for business. “I ran a restaurant and I was surprised to see everybody using frozen french fries,’’ Sanayie said. “They had these famous (P.E.I.) potatoes and I wondered why they were using the frozen ones.’’ So, he went looking for a fry cutter. In fact, he looked all over North America, but found nothing. He started up a new company called Fry Factory in hopes of changing that. Sanayie decided to buy one from the U.K., but modifications to the machine had to be made for the machine to handle big potatoes. What they’ve been left with is a machine that turns these potatoes into french fries. Sanayie’s machine can produce a 50-pound bag of french fries in one minute. More

Simplot fertilizer recognized by NASA

Simplot’s GAL-XeONE controlled release fertilizer was recognized at the 33rd annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for innovating the way fertilizer nutrients are released in a controlled manner, the J.R. Simplot Company said in a press release. The product uses a polymer coating for its controlled release capability developed by Florikan, LLC and its founder Ed Rosenthal. Simplot purchased the technology in 2012, and has helped create an international distribution channel for the fertilizer. Florikan was inducted as an “Innovating Organization” into the Space Technology Hall of Fame at the ceremony. In addition, The J.R. Simplot Company was recognized with a commendation for the role it played in allowing world-wide distribution of the fertilizer.  Continue reading

UK: One-pass Grimme potato planters boost output

Image result for grimme planterBy going wider and reducing the number of passes, one Lincolnshire grower is seeing the benefits of an all-new potato planting system. Farmers Guardian gets a user’s view of a Grimme GL430T planter. Lincolnshire potato grower Will Gagg of RJ and AE Godfrey’s Eastoft Grange Farm near Scunthorpe operates three Grimme GL430T four-row planters. The original planter with tiller and front mounted liquid fertiliser applicator plants 220 hectares (550 acres) in North Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and the Isle of Axholme. A second GL430T rig with GR360 rotary tiller plants 100 hectares (250 acres) in the Holbeach area. A third GL430T planter without a tiller is currently used to plant 120 hectares (300 acres) on rented land on the Wolds. With tillering, planting, fungicide and nematicide application plus liquid fertiliser placement all done in one pass now, and the move to a four row machine, it means planting can be done in a much more timely manner and in the right conditions, says Mr Gagg. More

Scotland: Potato growers dig the latest smartphone technology

New smartphone tech could give potato producers better data on their crop yields. Picture: Johnston PressWhile the world of high-tech wizardry tends to conjure up images of drones crowding the sky as driverless tractors till the fields below, two of the latest developments in this area for tattie growers require nothing more exotic than a mobile phone. As part of the smart farming project, a software-based potato yield model that has been developed jointly by agridata centre Agrimetrics and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is aimed at giving farmers reliable predictions on a crop’s likely yield and value via their smartphones. The developers claim that using these devices to collect information about planting date and emergence along with field images of the crop canopy taken with the phone’s camera can help growers get a better idea of what is happening under the soil. “Decades of science and field experience are being made available in a user-friendly way,” said ­Professor Mario Caccamo of Agrimetrics. More

Volm Companies and Wyma Solutions announce North American strategic partnership

Volm Companies, a leading North American supplier of fresh produce packaging and equipment automation solutions, today announced a formal strategic partnership with Wyma Solutions, a global expert in post-harvest fresh and processed handling solutions. The partnership will allow Volm Companies and Wyma Solutions to work in a closely integrated manner resulting in world-class turn-key solutions that leverage the global experience of both organizations. The combined comprehensive equipment and engineering portfolio, coupled with coast-to-coast distribution and technical service network offered via Volm Companies, is said to enable an unmatched customer experience.  Continue reading

UK: Growers missing out on increased yields that precision farming offers

Growers could be missing out on increased crop yields and improved soil quality if they overlook adopting the latest precision farming techniques. A three year AHDB project, which is now in its final year, has so far revealed UK growers could be benefiting from controlled traffic farming (CTF) techniques, resulting in better soil quality and increased yields. Part of the study assesses the use of CTF in horticulture to reduce field area wheeled by machinery in order to develop soil structure and lead to less energy intensive cultivations. Dr Paul Newell Price, RSK ADAS, said: “Controlled traffic systems can improve the efficiency and profitability of horticultural production by increasing opportunities to access the land, reducing input costs and evening up yields across each planted area.”  Continue reading

Canada: Potato growers on P.E.I. using GPS to plant more efficiently

The GPS and auto steer system that the Campbells are using cost between $40,000 and $50,000 dollars when they purchased it seven years ago. 
As potato growers across Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) plant this year’s crop, many are using the latest GPS technology to guide them. “I’d say probably 80 per cent of growers out there would have something like this,” said Will MacNeill, owner of Atlantic Precision Agri-Services, in West Devon, P.E.I. “The most common technology is auto steer, where we steer the tractor and steer the planter with one inch accuracy just to maintain perfect spacing between passes,” said MacNeill. MacNeill’s company has been selling and servicing GPS equipment since 1997, but says sales have really taken off in the last five years. “Nowadays margins are so tight in the potato industry and in all of farming, you just have to be very careful with what you do, not to waste any fertilizer, waste any chemicals or sprays, just to be very very efficient in what you’re doing,” explained MacNeill. More

Research update: Latest indicators show potatoes can indeed grow on Mars

The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth. This Phase Two effort of CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016 when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, based upon designs and advice provided by NASA, California.  Preliminary results are positive. A special potato was placed inside a sealed container that simulates Mars temperature, air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. The results so far are positive; cameras inside the canister show sprouts (see picture above). This is the second phase of the Potatoes on Mars project, which aims to figure out which extreme conditions the hardy tuber can thrive in. If they can grow on Mars, surely they can survive in areas here on Earth that have been devastated by climate change. More

US: GPS products and services add to potato growers’ tool kits

GPS systems have changed production agriculture in planting, material application and harvesting, and a number of companies have come out with innovative products to better help row crop production. Potato farmers are no different from row-crop farmers when it comes to technology. “GPS systems are evolving more than people think,” said Cody Light, strategic marketing manager for AGCO. “More autonomous features are coming to the market to make things easier for the user…” Jay Beedy, marketing manager of Micro-Trak Systems, said one of the latest trends in GPS is the availability of ISO systems to allow the operator to use the existing virtual terminal as the user interface and display for all monitoring and control operations. Mike Martinez, marketing director for Trimble’s agriculture division, noted one of the trends the company has been tracking for a few years is the increased use of smartphones and tablets in the cab for agricultural technology purposes. Farmers can keep their tractor and implement on the same guidance line with Trimble’s TrueTracker, which is an active implement guidance system that allows the implement to guide itself independently of the tractor. More