A potato storage system has been launched that allows managers to monitor and control store performance from anywhere in the world on their smartphone or tablet device.
Family-owned British company Crop Systems has developed the SmartStor technology, which can be installed to new and existing infrastructure.
A central “brain” monitors, controls and records store performance – including temperature, humidity and any faults – and can be linked with a mobile device via the web for 24/7 access.
Where set parameters are breached, an alarm can be sent to the store manager and adjustments made remotely to ensure there is no impact on crop quality.
There is also an optional extra of carbon dioxide monitoring, which at elevated levels can cause increased tuber weight loss and taste taint in stored tubers.
Crop Systems’ managing director Ray Andrews described it as a “potato store in your pocket” and the advantage it has over similar technology is its simple and user-friendly design.
There is also the benefit of its LoneWorker safety feature, which monitors lone staff as they move in and out of the store and sends an alarm if the person does not log out in a set time.
“The LoneWorker system takes the worry off the farmer, as they are legally responsible for their staff’s safety.
“Often you can’t get a phone signal in store, so it may be impossible to contact anyone if an accident happens,” Mr Andrews told Farmers Weekly at BP2015, a potato industry event on 12-13 November in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
The system also keeps a record of store performance throughout the season, allowing growers to benchmark against other similar stores to improve efficiency.
The basic SmartStor unit costs about £3,750 plus the cost of sensors and installation, which will vary with store size. The carbon dioxide monitoring option is an extra £800.