Cornish potato farm to provide £400,000 loan for robotic technology

A Cornwall potato farm that supplies major crisps makers and even uses its potatoes to make its own vodka and gin has received £400,000 funding from Lloyds Bank so it can employ robot pickers.

A fifth-generation Colwith family farm in Lanlivery used the loan to invest in new equipment that will see their productivity more than double.

Colwith Farm is a leading producer and supplier of premium Cornish potatoes, distributing to food wholesalers and brands such as McCain and Plymouth’s Burts Snacks.

The loan from Lloyds Bank enabled the company to install the latest robotic picking equipment to speed up efficiency when bagging potatoes, increasing productivity on the grading line by 25%.

Due to the desire of consumers and retailers to source food from UK farms, the company has seen an increase in demand for its products throughout the West Country and across the UK.

The new equipment will allow the farm to meet the increased demand while continuing to maintain the high quality of its products throughout the year.

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The 200-acre farm is also home to the Colwith Farm Distillery, the region’s first bottle plow distillery which uses potatoes from the farm to make its own vodka and gin, and is sold to retail outlets, pubs and restaurants throughout the West Country. .

Clare Dustow, who runs the farm with her husband Chris as part of the family’s generational partnership, believes the new technology has come at a pivotal time to allow the business to continue to grow.

She said: “Investing in the efficiency of our processes is absolutely essential to our growth. Over the past few years we have seen an increase in demand for our premium potatoes and investing in new robotic technology allows us to speed up the picking process and fulfill more orders for our customers.

Colwith Farm has been a Lloyds Bank customer for over three generations and has grown over that time with Ms Dustow saying, “The relationship with Lloyds Bank has been fantastic over the past few years. Our relationship manager fully understands our business and the competitive industry in which we operate. Thanks to his support, we have been able to develop and invest in new equipment that will only improve our productivity.

Jeremy Weekes, Agricultural Relations Manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Colwith Farm is a perfect example of a business that embodies the increased demand for high quality British agricultural produce. We are proud to have supported the farm through generations of the Dustow family and I am confident that the latest investment will enable the team to continue to thrive for years to come. We will stay with agricultural businesses to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

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