Farm invests £263k in search of hi-tech potato perfection

Bruce van Poortvliet inside the new £263,000 potato store at Poortvliet Farms near Aylsham

Bruce van Poortvliet inside the new £263,000 potato store at Poortvliet Farms near Aylsham - Credit: Poortvliet Farms

A Norfolk farm has invested £263,000 in a hi-tech new storage building to keep its potatoes in perfect market condition for longer after harvest.

The new store at Poortvliet Farms, near Aylsham, can hold 1,300 tonnes of potatoes in an atmospherically-controlled environment.

Ventilation, refrigeration and humidification equipment is automated via electronic sensors which report on air quality, temperature, carbon dioxide levels and humidity inside the insulated building.

Poortvliet Farms near Aylsham has built a £263,000 new potato store

Inside the £263,000 new potato store at Poortvliet Farms - Credit: Poortvliet Farms

This allows the farm's potatoes to be stored in top condition until the end of the marketing season in June and July - enabling premium prices to be obtained as there is a critical shortage of UK potatoes available in those summer months before the next season's crop is harvested. 

Farmer Bruce van Poortvliet said the ability to accurately control storage conditions was increasingly important following the EU ban on chlorpropham (CIPC), previously used as a sprout suppressant for potato growers.


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"The new potato store will enable us to sell all or part of the crop later in the season when it can attract a higher price," he said. "Only modern stores allow this to be done consistently and reliably. 

"The banning of CIPC sprout suppressant means there are challenges for the potato market, so we are pleased to be investing in a new, modern store."

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A new grader and small-scale bagging line have also been installed.  The grader will ensure the crop is fit for both storage and eventual sale to packers. It will also be used prior to bagging potatoes into retail and commercial packs for sale direct to local pubs, restaurants and shops.

The project secured a grant of £65,903 from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, towards total projects costs of £263,613.

The initiative is run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority with support from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and other local authorities.

Poortvliet Farms near Aylsham has built a £263,000 new potato store

Poortvliet Farms near Aylsham has built a £263,000 new hi-tech potato store to keep its crop in perfect market condition for longer - Credit: Poortvliet Farms


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