Published at 2:30pm on 24 July, 2023
By Filmore Foam

However, precise planning goes into harvesting that perfect potato, which can only be achieved with ideal storage temperature and conditions.

We provided a South-Canterbury farm with a controlled environment for its 3500 tonne annual yield of five varieties of the great Kiwi spud. Crichel Down Potatoes produces for the likes of Talley’s for its frozen fries.

“Low temperatures makes potatoes too high in sugars, not great for frying,” says Simon Binnie, operations manager for Guy and Jane Slater’s Wakanui farm.

“Too hot, and the moisture evaporates causing a wrinkly potato. You need to store them in a constant temperature for the perfect yield.”

Three years ago, Simon enlisted NZ Foam to insulate the farm’s pole shed. After great success, two concrete tilt slab room extensions with a drive on drying floor were built in January last year. He then called up the team at NZ Foam who were on the job the next month.

“They completed it very quickly and were very pleasurable and reliable to work with.”

Blending in well will the rural environment, the outside walls and roof were sprayed with 90mm of foam and 50mls on the inside.

“When storing potatoes you don’t want any condensation, just a consistently dry environment. The foam really improves that.

Pump warm air in from outside first to dry the potatoes; about 12 degrees warms them up a bit and stops bruising. Then we hold the temperature at a constant 9-10 degrees for five months of the year, until late September. It could be -1 to 15 degrees outside, but the temperature won’t change inside.

I heard really good reports by NZFoam as being the best foam insulation, from Nigel Reith who owns The Rakaia Hub produce storage sheds, and also Talley’s where I worked for 15 years.”

He says they used to outsource all the potato storage, so now having onsite storage sheds is by far more economical.

“We also foamed the shed’s engine room – our fan room – where the three huge fans make a hell of noise – but the foam stopped any sound from annoying the neighbours!

Once we move out the potatoes, the inside walls are so easy to water blast down, then we move in 400 tonnes of grass seed, wheat and barley. So the sheds are in use at least 10 months of the year. Fertilisers and the tractor are stored there too.”

He says they used to outsource all the potato storage, so now having onsite storage sheds is by far more economical.

“The spray foam certainly pays for itself.”

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