Australia: New tech doubles potato production at Bornholm potato farm

A potato farm in Bornholm is the first in the country to receive game-changing sorting technology, allowing them to more than double production. A Visar Sorting machine separates unwashed potatoes into grades using high-speed cameras to capture photos of the potatoes and direct them to the correct conveyor belt.

The potatoes are shot through the machine at 3.2 m/sec; up to 7 tons of the vegetable can be sorted in an hour.

Potato farmers Colin and Janine Ayres and their son Chris received a $200,000 State Government grant in 2018 which went towards making the almost $800,000 project come to life. The farm supplies the WA and national market, which has now reopened after the tomato potato psyllid bio-security incident in 2017 forced growers to dump thousands of tons of potatoes.

Chris told that prior to the investment, their human labour-run sorting was failing to meet the speed required to keep up with demand: “We now have a much better capacity to harvest potatoes, sort them and get them to our consumers as quickly as we can. The grant really helped to get this up and running after the tough couple of years with the detection of TPP where we had to bury $1.6 million worth of potatoes.”

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