Production/Agronomy, Storage

Potato Storage: Hotel or Hospital?

The U.S. potato industry estimates losses during storage at right around 7 percent. Much of this is due to lost water, which is one of the reasons that high relative humidity (RH) is recommended for storing potatoes. Most weight loss also occurs during the first two weeks in storage, before the tuber skin has completely matured. Unfortunately, little to none of this moisture loss can ever be recovered, but there are some things that can be done to minimize it. One of the most frequent mistakes growers make is to harvest potatoes when conditions are too warm. After the potatoes have been gently placed in storage, suberization and wound healing are key tools in the battle to prevent storage losses. I can’t take credit for this phrase, but it pretty well sums up the challenge of storage management: “A potato storage is a hotel, not a hospital.” In other words, you can’t improve the condition of your potatoes during storage. However, with good management, you can keep them from getting any worse. Philip Nolte, Univ of Idaho. More

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