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Key to success in potato storage is to secure control of the store environment, says specialist

As the UK harvest nears its end, albeit with some wetter weather to deal with now, the key to success in storage this month is to secure control of the store environment, advises Adrian Cunnington of Potato Storage Insight (pictured).

The processes of drying, curing and pull-down are focused on removal of moisture and heat from the crop as a priority after loading, he says.

In many stores, this reduction will continue for some time to come but, as temperatures reduce, so does the tolerance for variation in the crop before there is a risk of re-wetting which can initiate sprouting and/or disease development.

“It is important to minimise temperature gradients and focus on achieving a uniform storage condition,” according to Mr Cunnington. “Beyond that, premature sprouting remains a problem in many crops entering store so early treatments are having to be made. Where there are any signs of sprouting activity, growth needs to be checked through the reduction of temperature and/or the application of a sprout suppressant.”

Reports to date suggest that maleic hydrazide, where it was applied, even quite late on, has generally done a better-than-expected job and the residual control this offers is valuable during storage to keep growth at bay between applications of other sprout control products, Mr Cunnington says.

If sprouting has already started, there will be a need to get an effective treatment on early. Otherwise wait until crops shown signs of dormancy break before applying.

“Under NO circumstances should sprout suppressant be applied to wet crop or where there is a risk of condensation”, advises Mr Cunnington. “This is a simple management step but is often overlooked leading to serious consequences such as pitting or scorch.”

The Synopsis newsletter this month also provides updates on the latest developments from UK  storage equipment companies looking to maximise the use of renewables for potato storage.

GB Potatoes presses ahead with its launch to build membership of the fledgling organisation looking to take up the reins on industry representation.

And Potato Storage Insight visits Rowlinson Packaging, a major potato box manufacturer based in Norfolk.

Read more of this content from Adrian Cunnington by subscribing to the Synopsis newsletter at www.potatostorageinsight.com

Source: Potato Storage Insight
Photo: Adrian Cunnington

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