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Essential tips for successful long-term potato storage

Bayer Crop Science in the UK posted an article on their blog earlier this week related to potato storage good practices. The article focuses on five main considerations for growers, saying that there is more to the long-term storage of potatoes than sprout suppressants. These considerations include store hygiene, box stacking, air movement, store intake and tuber diseases.

As for tuber diseases of potatoes in long term storage, the article reads that the 2020 season in Britain is 10 to 14 days earlier than a typical season, so there is a good chance that quality will be better than average, but it pays to monitor crops closely at intake if problems are to be avoided later.

“It’s worth understanding how much soil is present in the box or if there are any rots present. Hopefully, these will have been dealt with on the harvester, but if they make it into store then it pays to know at what level.  Is it limited or is there something to worry about? if there a lot of rots then the stock will either need to be monitored more frequently or put to one side so they can be cleaned up at later,” says Dr Stuart Wale, potato consultant and researcher at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Whether or not to apply a fungicide at intake will be a decision growers with seed crops will be pondering.

“If you have a persistent silver scurf problem then it may be that a fungicide treatment is necessary to preserve quality. Similarly, there are varieties that particularly susceptible to storage diseases for example, King Edward and skin spot, where fungicides are almost a routine application,” says Dr Wale.

Diseases such as dry rot, gangrene, silver scurf and skin spot can develop during storage leading to grading losses at unloading.  To control these growers can apply either Gavel (imazalil) or Storite Excel (thiabendazole) though there are resistance considerations that will influence which product should be applied.

“Thiabendazole is a benzimidazole fungicide offering systemic, curative and protectant activity. The issue with Storite Excel arises with benzimidazole-tolerant strains of silver scurf and skin spot which are common across the UK and resistant strains of dry rot have been reported. There are few resistance issues with imazalil,” says Dr Wale.

While the prospects for most growers look promising, some endured wet weather in August and with it will have come the increased risk of blackleg.

Source: Bayer Crop Science. Read the full article here

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