Potato storage: Frequently assess late-lifted crops

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Late-lifted potato crops have inevitably been difficult to deal with in stores, due both to the crop being wet and high soil content. Drying has particularly been a challenge at low temperature and high humidity. As there is always a high risk of residual moisture in these crops, it is important to inspect crops frequently and to assess their condition closely. Any rots should be quantified and monitored; most at risk will be crops from waterlogged soils and these should be scrutinised well for any sign of breakdown.

An incidence of 1% (i.e. 1 in every 100 tubers affected by rot) is seen as a threshold level for soft rot in storage. If there is more, arrangements should be made to progress unloading. If rots are visible but the level is below 1%, maintain ventilation to dry the problem out, being careful not to re-wet crops through condensation.

Warm, moist air landing on cooler potatoes is the scenario to avoid at all costs, as these are the perfect conditions for condensation that will only accelerate disease progression.

Fungal diseases can still be a threat at this time of year. Watch out for the rusty-coloured lesions of tuber blight and the pimple-like pustules of skin spot (both right) which often become evident around Christmas. If weather is present, seek advice on how to manage the problem from SBCSR on the Storage Advice Line 0800 02 82 111 or email sbcsr@ahdb.org.uk.

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Storage snippets

Request for store samples with sprayfoam insulation

Do you have a store in the south Lincolnshire/north Cambridgeshire/west Norfolk area that has accessible polyurethane sprayfoam insulation, and has been recently or more historically treated with CIPC?

Storage specialists at SBCSR are continuing research on store cleaning and are looking for samples from stores with sprayfoam insulation that have been previously-treated with CIPC. Damage from taking core samples out would be repaired as part of the process. If your store meets these criteria and are happy for it to be sampled, please get in touch with Adrian Briddon on 01406 359412 or email adrian.briddon@ahdb.org.uk

More snippets

  • Places remain on the AHDB Store Managers’ Course which will be held on 4 & 5 February 2020 at the Kenwick Park Hotel, Louth, Lincolnshire. This is a two day course covering all aspects of storage and a fully updated module on sprout suppression will be included. For booking information, please contact Emma Bates at SBCSR on 01406 359419 or email bates@ahdb.org.uk
  • Listen back to the AHDB Potatoes podcast on the future of sprout suppressants
  • Easier than ever to look for info on AHDB storage research, tool and resources, thanks to the Storage Hub
  • Not up-to-date with the latest SBCSR trial results? Have a read here
Visit the potato storage hub

SOFT ROT: Above close up, below in stored crop

Above: Tuber blight. Below: Skin spot