StoreCheck is an AHDB service being offered by Sutton Bridge CSR & FEC Energy to assess potato storage performance. It is part of AHDB’s Storage 2020 initiative, devised to help to improve existing stores and make them more cost-effective.

Why do I need StoreCheck?

Levy-funded research has highlighted a huge range of efficiencies across stores in everyday use. Running costs per tonne per day are up to 3 times higher in some stores compared with the best.

StoreCheck analyses a store’s performance; it identifies any deficiencies and their relative impact and our specialists’ report will suggest ways to improve the store, to whatever extent is necessary. After issue of the report, StoreCheck includes a consultation1 with an expert to talk through the how to make the most of your assessment. As an example, please take a look at the case study overleaf.

How much does it cost?

For a store of 1000 tonnes or more, StoreCheck costs around 55p/tonne - or less. Multiple stores at the same postcode attract a discount.

The graph shows how that stacks up against a season’s typical running costs (for 6-8 months’ storage).

When can I have StoreCheck?

Ideally, as soon as your store is empty. Book as soon as possible as availability is frequently limited close to harvest. Call 01406 359414 with your store’s approximate size and tonnage information to arrange a StoreCheck assessment.

Consultation may be by telephone. StoreCheck is a service provided by Sutton Bridge CSR and FEC Energy for AHDB. StoreCheck leakage tests cannot currently be carried out on stores without a personnel door. All checks are subject to availability and provision of suitable and safe access to stores in the sole opinion of the StoreCheck assessor. SBCSR is owned and operated by AHDB.

Case study

A Scottish grower/store manager was able to present results from a StoreCheck test to his board of directors as evidence of poor store performance. This helped to secure £12.5K of capital investment in store improvements.

When the 1,200 tonne box store was first assessed by the SBCSR/Farm Energy team, results showed an AP50 leakage figure of 17.3 m3/hr.m2.  This equates to an air leakage rate of 34% per hour – a third of the air in the store was escaping to the outside of the building every hour! Refurbishment involved a top-up covering of spray foam insulation over all store surfaces and re-fitting and re-sealing of the main door. After the work, the store was re-tested and the AP50 figure had dropped to just 2.2 m3/hr.m2, equating to a leakage rate of 4.3% per hour, a vast improvement compared with before. In relation to potato stores nationally, the graph below shows the building’s air leakage before and after renovation:

The target AP50 for a new cold store would be 3.0 (green line). Our best practice limit, which is realistically achievable for all potato stores is 10.0 (red line).

The total cost of the investment was around £11 per tonne stored.

These improvements yield a calculated 25% energy saving of £2700 pa giving a project payback in less than 5 years.

Further improvements continue...

An air divider curtain (right) has now been fitted to ensure better air delivery to the crop, whilst also meeting 2017 requirements for CIPC delivery. Other upgrades include fitment of inverter-controlled EC fans on the condenser and relocation of the set to give better fridge performance, lower run hours and further savings.

This store is now fit and ready to deliver cost effective potato storage to 2020 and beyond. Is yours?

Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL.        

E. & O.E. © AHDB, 2018.