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Mild weather challenge to potato storage

With temperatures averaging 10.5degC in October, according to Met Office statistics, potatoes are particularly vulnerable to sprouting and disease this autumn, visitors to BP2015 were advised.
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Many stores were still too warm as a result of insufficient cold air. This has the greatest effect on processing stores which lacked refrigeration, resulting in risk of condensation and subsequent tuber rot.


Adrian Cunnington, head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, said: “Warm air on cold potatoes leads to condensation, making them wetter and promoting rot within the store.


“Where people have opted not to use a sprout suppressant, this is a further concern.”


Ventilation is crucial since the presence of rot can influence whether a crop is suitable for long-term storage.


Mr Cunnington said: “Given higher than usual temperatures, stores need to be regularly accessed. If rot incidence exceeds one per cent, the store should be unloaded to avoid further contamination.


“It is important to recirculate air within the store to keep temperatures even and look to maximise opportunities for cooling.


Mr Cunnington advised running store control systems on automatic to obtain maximum benefit from periods of cool air. With cooler conditions expected to arrive at the end of this week, growers should use this opportunity to get cool air into stores, he added.


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