The sudden removal of the potato sprout suppressant CIPC, which is used to maintain potato quality in storage, created a big issue for the industry, but LiveTrace was quick to respond and by sharing knowledge and best practice the industry managed to adopt new approaches to storage.
LiveTrace was established by brothers Jon and Phillip Kemp, to provide potato suppliers with improved supply chain management. The LiveTrace Grower Management system brings together data from a variety of sources such as Farmplan, Muddyboots, Gatekeeper and John Deere Ops Centre, with weather data from Sencrop all on to one platform and offers bespoke apps to help manage variety trials and storage.
Jon explains that seed trials are a big part of the supply side. “The industry is always looking for the perfect potato variety and commercial trials. It needed a robust way of collecting the growing crop’s data, then reporting on the findings. Our Livetrace Growth Stage app does just this offering full traceability.”
The system also supports knowledge sharing and best practice
Although the potato tubers are naturally dormant, after two months in store they can begin to grow sprouts. Sprouts are unwanted, they contribute to increased weight loss, quality issues and therefore less margin.
Following the ban of CIPC new and untried sprout suppressant treatments such as Biox-M (spearmint oil) and DMN were introduced, but to ensure the quality of potatoes kept in storage for 6-8 months much more management and attention will be required.
Jon explains: “Managers are now required to frequently inspect and record, then apply the new sprout suppressant quickly using a hot fog. Applying the fog (fogging) requires new skills, better timings and understanding of how & when to apply. So, every person looking after stored potatoes has had to learn fast.”
LiveTrace Fogging for sprout suppressant
To support the industry, LiveTrace developed a new app – ‘LiveTrace Fogging’. This is an online store diary which records crop temperature, fan hours and crop condition (sprouting, breakdown etc) with photographs and a comments section.
“Our Cloud SAAS software allows sharing of information, the photographs are timed and dated to enable store managers to look back at previous visits and compare. Each store has its own record page to show target temperature, variety and photo gallery for example.”
The company has been an early facilitator of information sharing and the software is designed with sharing in mind, with seven layers of access depending on the user’s permission status.
Jon firmly believes knowledge-sharing is the future.
“We made the decision to share our new Fogging app with companies in the processing supply so all the major players have access to the database. Each fogging application is recorded using the app, this creates an invoice for the grower alongside sprout suppressant quantity, crop condition, date, fan speeds and, as always, a photograph. Live reporting on the dashboard is graphed by variety which is very useful to gain confidence to change the fogging process to make improvements to the application techniques.”
“Sharing data reduces administration and improves traceability, for example we are working with a haulage firm to allow paperless passports, load ticket weight and GPS tracking. Everything is in one place.”
Join LiveTrace as well as a number of other speakers on Tuesday 13th April as they discuss the use of data in agriculture – Data Management – More than A Numbers Game. Book now!