Exclusive Interview: Start Precision Storage Now!
In this exclusive interview with Jan van Maldegem, marketing manager of Tolsma Techniek Emmeloord b.v. we talk about the latest innovation regarding ventilation equipment for potato storage operators and the challenges and solutions associated with this segment.
Dan Orehov (D.O), Potato Processing International (PPI): Which world markets are more technologically advanced in terms of potato storage facilities and ventilation?
Jan van Maldegem (J.M.), Tolsma: The most technologically advanced market in terms of potato storage facilities and ventilation is Western Europe. Other markets are looking at the technology developed there. Especially the research on universities and institutes (already in the 50 – 60’s) did bring the knowledge on storage to a high level. In especially the Netherlands, the integration between (industrial) technology and the knowledge of arable products is on a high level. It’s not only the technical equipment but more the way how to apply the technological possibilities to the products. The last years big improvements have been made in systems for the ventilation of box storage of potatoes.
D.O.: What are your thoughts on smart farming?
J.M.: It seems that there is a big difference in the implementation of smart farming in the field and in storages. GPS technology (yield mapping, site specific planting, spraying and fertilizing) is widely adopted nowadays in large scale farming. But the strange thing is that when crops are put into storage much of this information is lost by putting all potatoes in one big bulk storage. As we treat crops independent in the field and try to meet the specific needs, we forget about this in storage. Although the technical possibilities are there. Also growing takes 3-4 months and storage takes 8 – 11 months. Why don’t put at least the same amount of energy and technological innovation in storage?
D.O.: How open are storage operators to new technology? What challenges do you face and what are the demands from operators?
J.M: Not all storage operators are so open for new technology. The difficult thing is that the effect/result of improvements/new approaches are only visible a couple of months later. This is totally different from new technology in the field, especially GPS guidance and steering control systems show directly the advantage and show their benefit. Where we as producer of ventilation equipment are going to improve is to show/inform/communicate what the effects of changes in settings of the climate control computer will be on the storage efficiency.
D.O: What does installation require and how will the market evolve?
J.M: New IT based developments require a good (stable) internet connection with/to the storage. Also new ventilation and refrigeration technology with more sensitive electronics requires a stable power supply. The market will evolve by featuring some of the below characteristics:
Increase in box storage systems due to new potato varieties
Increase in additional refrigeration equipment for ventilated storages to maintain quality and extend the storage period.
More CO2-control technology and sensors
You can read more in our print magazine Potato Processing International (Nov/Dec 2018)!