This article was written by Canadian potato specialists, Dr Eugenia Banks (Ontario Potato Board) and Mark VanOostrum (WD Potato Ltd), and we publish it here with permission. They write: An essential requirement for a long storage period is that the storage conditions match the needs and the end use of the crop. The storage requirements of the crop can be assessed before harvest by doing several test digs which allow to determine – if present – the distribution and level of tuber infection. If there are risky areas in a field such as low spots that have blighted potatoes, skip those areas, do not harvest them.
With the Scottish seed potato harvest beginning a fortnight ahead of normal, SRUC consultant Dr Stuart Wale has reminded growers of the threat from dry rot, according to a news article published by Potato Review magazine. He recommends two fungicide options in this situation: Gavel (imazalil) and Storite Excel (thiabendazole) which can be used alone or in mixture. Dr Wale urged growers to have a conversation with their seed suppliers sooner rather than later to discuss treatment.
British potato growers have entered some uncharted waters this season, as they cope with the first season without desiccant diquat for many years. In addition, spuds are now being loaded into store, with no prospect of treatment using the cheap, but now-banned sprout suppressant CIPC, adding further uncertainty to the production process this year. Two potato storage experts give tips on how to minimise losses as we enter the 2020-21 storage period: Norfolk-based storage specialist Tim Kitson of Potato Solutions, and Adrian Cunnington, head of AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.
According to AHDB in the UK, the 2020/21 potato storage season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet for the British potato industry. With storage season fast approaching, harvest provides the best opportunity to familiarise yourself with your crop and refine your storage plans accordingly. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Unit are providing the key aspects that growers and storage operators should focus on during the onset on the 2020/21 storage season.
Restrain offers solutions for the maintenance of low level ethylene gas in potato and onion storages, as well as tomato ripening on the vine. According to John Hutchison, Restrain Manager in the UK, the Restrain sprout inhibition solution is being applied by more than 1.500 growers and other customers in potato storage facilities in 38 countries around the world. A total of more than 1.3 million tonnes of stored potatoes are being treated with the Restrain technology. “This makes Restrain not only a lot cheaper compared to the other alternatives to CIPC, but also more user-friendly,” Hutchison says.
Relative Humidity (RH) is the measure of the quantity of water vapor in the air at a certain temperature. Maintaining desired pile temperature is important but equally important is to maintain the optimum humidity, explains JD Wasir, Sr. Vice President at Ontario, Canada based Kooljet Refrigeration Systems..“Kooljet Systems helps to maintain high RH levels in the storage facility, and minimizes water loss from the produce, maximizing product quality and value.” JD Wasir notes that Kooljet indeed has a global footprint, and has been assisting farmers since 2001.
Advanced Coating Solutions, headquartered in Kirkland, WA in the US produces a thin insulation coating material that works by blocking heat transfer. Instead of using mass to work as a heat sink and absorb heat (fiberglass), the thin insulation coating works like the ‘Low E’ window concept, where thin oxide coatings diffuse infrared radiation. Thin air gaps also provide additional conductive resistance. Founder of Advance Coating Solutions, Richard Stratton is keen to discuss the benefits of his company’s products for potato storages and processing facilities.
A well-sealed store will decrease your energy bills, and increase the efficiency on sprout suppressants like ethylene and spearmint oil. In this article, Adrian Cunnington, Head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research at AHDB Potatoes shares some tips for assessing and improving your potato store. The loss of approval of CIPC will inevitably mandate change within the potato industry. For many it may mean using alternative sprout suppressants. Others may choose to go chemical-free, moving to varieties with a longer dormancy period, or by storing at lower temperatures. For all though, optimising storage conditions and reducing operating costs are likely to be high priorities.
A number of factors contribute to effective potato sprout suppression and, where possible, strategies should make the best use of all of them. One such factor is dormancy, say specialists at AHDB’s at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research unit. The current data on varietal dormancy is of variable quality and AHDB has commissioned a trial to generate relative dormancy data from a range of varieties representative of the different end markets for potatoes.
Can you use an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar? According to Bill Menkveld at Ontario, Canada-based Greentronics, the company offers a solution. Greentronics recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. These enhanced features were developed to assist potato growers with an easy process to automate their harvest and storage data recording.
UPL’s new orange oil product, ARGOS, has received official approval for the treatment of sprouting in stored potatoes in Ireland. ARGOS is made from a natural substance, d-limonene (terpene), which is obtained by physical extraction of oil from the orange peel. There is said to be no residue, no smell or taste to the end product, and no withholding period. This means the product is flexible for fresh and processing sectors, with no effect on fry colour.
The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) recently approved the ethylene-based sprout inhibitor Restrain as a safe crop protection product with immediate effect. The approval applies to the treatment of potatoes (for both domestic consumption and starch production), as well as for onions, garlic, shallots, propagating material, and tomatoes. According to Andreas Fust, Sales Manager for Restrain in Germany: “Germany is a big market for us, so we are very pleased that Restrain has been officially approved here as well.
Spearmint oil has the potential to play a more prominent role in sprout control programmes post-CIPC, but users must prepare stores adequately to ensure success, reports Adam Clarke for Farmers Weekly in the UK. Marketed by Kent-based Juno Plant Protection, Biox-M – a 100% spearmint oil product applied as a hot fog – made it to the UK in 2012. One early adopter was fresh potato producer and packer Branston.
Folks, the following note was sent to us here at Global Potato News, and we are happy to publish it for your information as such. AHDB: We are pleased to invite you to this open session of the AHDB Potato Board where we will be discussing the potato levy and storage research. In response to what was said in Defra’s Request for Views about how the potato levy is collected, we are reviewing the basis of how your levy is calculated this summer and welcome businesses sharing their views with us. We will outline how the levy is collected, and why the system was created in its current form, before sharing some ideas we’ve already received on potential options for the future.
Wyma Solutions announced today the appointment of Danny Burns as Global After Sales Manager. This appointment follows several years of sustained growth and further recognition by Wyma of the ever-growing importance of maintaining strong after sales and operational relationships with customers. The appointment of a dedicated After Sales Manager position is a strong indication of Wyma’s confidence in the current market as well as their continued focus on delivering excellent customer care and ongoing support.
Earlier today, UPL Open Ag in the UK published a short video on Twitter in which UPL agronomist Don Pendergrast discusses potato storage issues with Adrian Briddon, storage specialist with Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR). SBCSR is the leading post-harvest applied research facility for agricultural storage in the UK. It is the primary independent centre providing potato storage research and advice to the GB industry.
The 2020 storage season is the first where store managers in Europe cannot apply Chlorpropham (CIPC) in store. However, they have an important job to do in reducing CIPC levels left over from previous applications, in order to meet any forthcoming temporary maximum residue level (tMRL) for future crops. AHDB Potatoes expect any tMRL that is announced to be set at a level that is achievable for the industry – but only if a rigorous programme of cleaning is followed.
Maleic Hydrazide (MH) is a potato sprout suppressant that was first identified as a plant growth regulator in the 1940’s. In an article published by AHDB Potatoes this week, it is said that the reduction in permitted treatments rate for CIPC have driven an increase in MH use in recent years. Interim data from AHDB at Sutton Bridge has shown that in the absence of CIPC, MH can offer good sprout control and boost efficacy of alternative treatments when used in combination with them.
The sprout suppressant DMH is currently going through the registration approval process in the UK. AHDB says it is hoped this may expedite the availability of DMN to industry but, at this stage, there are no guarantees the application will be successful or what the terms and timeframe may be.
Potato growers in Alberta province in Canada have a boatload of potatoes in storage. As of June 1, stocks of processing potatoes in Alberta were 5.37 million hundredweight, which is 37.2 percent higher than the three year average for stockpiles in early June, reports Robert Arnason for The Western Producer. Processing acres in the province could be 10,000 fewer than in 2019.
Total Canadian potato storage holdings 12.5% above 3 year average; some chipping potatoes may need to be imported
Kevin MacIsaac, General manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, reported earlier today that the current Canadian potato storage holdings figures were released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on June 1. According to Kevin, “good demand for table potatoes has lowered fresh supplies 15% below the 3-yr. average. Processing stocks are up 14.4%. Seed growers are also in a difficult spot with seed left.”
In a news release issued by Potatoes New Brunswick, the association says delays rolling out a COVID-19-related support program for Canadian agriculture may spell doom for potato farmers. While the government delays, millions of pounds of potatoes are sitting in storage and starting to rot, Potatoes New Brunswick says in its release. Early last month, the government announced a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.