Potato Grower

January 2022

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Page 79 of 95

80 POTATO GROWER | JANUARY 2022 DIGGIN' IN STORAGE | By Ken Young, Director of Product Quality, Agri-Stor Companies I recently came across a news story about a newly constructed, state-of-the-art potato storage. It was a good article. You could feel the excitement and pride shared by both the new owner and the builder. Potato growers everywhere would envy this storage. It promised to deliver everything a pile of potatoes would ever need to make it through the storage season in great condition. I have personally visited this storage, and it really is a nice building with good controls. Plenty of bells and whistles. But I've had to ask myself: Is this storage designed for high performance? What are the qualifications of a "high-performance" storage ventilation system? Can those qualifications be verified? Are traditional storages too archaic to function well? Do they just point fans toward the pile and hope the air gets where it needs to go? What criteria are used to compare storages with different ventilation system designs? The goal of the Agri-Stor ventilation system is high performance. I like to think of performance as something that can be measured. In his book The Effective Executive, business author Peter Drucker famously states, "If you can't measure something, you can't manage it." His book obviously refers to success in business management—and I doubt he knew about or wrote about potato storages—but the principle applies wherever performance must be evaluated. It is impossible to evaluate success if there are no metrics. Successful ventilation systems need to be measured to verify they'll be able to create and maintain a uniform climate within an acceptable range. Performance can be assessed with just a handful of specific measurements, which, of course, have an acceptable range of variation. That being said, the better the system, the tighter the climate controls. Specifically, I want to be able to evaluate performance in the following key areas: • Ventilation rates • Temperature control • Humidity control • Post-harvest crop protection applications/Purgeability Ventilation Rate The ventilation system should deliver precisely the right volume of air at precisely the right speed in a uniform fashion. To verify performance of the ventilation system, measure speed at the discharge holes with a handheld anemometer. It should be uniform across all the discharge holes. If the discharge holes cannot be accessed, measure air speeds at the duct entrances. Again, ensure uniformity in every duct. Run this test at upper and lower fan operating speeds. Temperature Control The internal temperature should be maintained consistently within a few tenths of a degree of the temperature set point. First, routinely verify the accuracy of all internal and external temperature sensors using a calibrated thermometer. Use a handheld thermometer to verify the temperature of the air in the duct entrances, preferably while the system is running. Check the pulp temperatures of potatoes near the What is a 'high-performance' storage? Back to Basics The benefits of Cell Power ® SLYCE ® Cell Power ® SLYCE ® Call 559-661-6138 Visit www.omexusa.com The primary components of SLYCE ® Ca8% act to greatly increase the soil available fertility, especially when applied after granular fertilizers (like DAP, MAP or KCl) Email omexusa@omexcom ® . Helps regulate pH of soil and increase soil fertility. Promotes the rapid development of chlorophyll, sugars and amino acids in plants and aids in photosynthesis. Helps stimulate seed germination in short time, greatly increasing the harvest and fruits quality. Greatly increases the plant's ability to counter stress and disease. Increases the organic matter of soil and improves soil structure, promotes the buffering power of soil, and nutrient capacity. Helps create a good living environment for microbial masses. 4096-16OmexAgrifluids13h.indd 1 4096-16OmexAgrifluids13h.indd 1 11/19/21 2:18 PM 11/19/21 2:18 PM

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