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27 March 2015


27 March 2015


When unloading, try to maintain a status in the store where there is a free air path that allows air to get to the potatoes to do the job of cooling them and then return to the fans. Don’t leave ways for it to short circuit as air always takes the path of least resistance. Think about shutting off laterals or blocking any gaps with sheets or empty boxes to maintain some ventilation during the unloading process. See our latest storage bulletin  for more best practice advice.


25 February 2015


At this time of year, seed will be coming out of store and heading to farms for planting. Most seed will be transported in bulk bags or boxes and it is important that, having incurred expense to get the seed through a winter’s storage, that this doesn’t all come to nought through inadequate management before it gets the opportunity to be put into the ground.

Weather can still play a major part during seed transport and influences how quickly it can be planted. Clearly protection from frost is paramount at all times but if seed is moved to a new location, it is important that it can still be ventilated to prevent condensation which can encourage unwanted sprouting (below) and spread of disease.


16 January 2015


For the 2014/15 storage season, like last year, approval holders have limited the use of CIPC in low temperature stores (those operating at storage temperatures of 5°C or less) to a single application, early in storage. This is because decline in CIPC residues is reduced at low storage temperatures because the volatility of the chemical is low and it is therefore less readily lost from cold stores. The risk of exceeding the MRL for CIPC is therefore increased in such stores especially if best practice has not been followed.


20 November 2014


As ambient temperatures start to fall, especially at night, the risk of structural condensation within stores increases. There is continual moisture release into the store environment by evaporation through the skin and from respiration by the crop. This means the storage environment typically equilibrates at humidities in excess of 90%.

Depending on the level of insulation in a store, it usually only needs a relatively small change in ambient temperature to result in structural condensation. Have you checked your store?


14 October 2014

Check potato stores carefully and frequently in this post-harvest period...

SBCSR is urging growers and store operators to check recently-loaded stores carefully amid increasing reports of breakdown. Several samples submitted to Sutton Bridge have tested positively for the fungus Pythium (watery wound rot) and others have had high levels of soft rot, which may have developed as a secondary infection. There are also reports of Phytophthora (tuber blight) being found in store.

These disease problems have been seen in all types of crops and a range of varieties so it is important that store managers remain vigilant especially during the pull-down phase.




10 July 2014

Growers urged to look to the future at 50 Years of Storage Research event

Thanks to everyone who attended our storage day on 3rd July and to Crop Systems our sponsors. Thanks also to Produce World and Pipers crisps for their support. In addition to celebrating 50 years since storage research began at Sutton Bridge, some important messages were conveyed to the audience as AHDB Potatoes continues its Storage 2020 campaign for sustainable storage in the British potato industry.

Dr Clayton who began his potato industry career 20 years ago at GB’s leading post-harvest applied research facility said:  “Today we celebrate the key milestones and achievements over the last 50 years at SBCSR with a serious undertone.”


The acclaimed author Bill Bryson, in his in notes on American culture, describes ‘Islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity,’ this provides a perfect description that fits our national storage capacity, noted Rob. Addressing the delegates Rob said, “You are the islands of excellence; today we see innovation, thought leadership and state of the art technology around us.”

“But when we travel around the country, we find an industry blissfully sleepwalking into situations that put our mainstay sprout suppressants at risk. We find an industry prepared to tolerate a 3 fold difference in energy costs. We find growers content to sacrifice airflows to squeeze 1,100 tonnes into a 1,000 tonne store.”

We need to change and we need to do so quickly

Having a team that can provide the impetus and the toolbox for change is half of the jigsaw, our new StoreCheck ( store auditing service, which is just a phone call or a click away is a great example of this.

“You [the industry] are the other half, you must be prepared to evangelise about what you have, you must put aside your competitive interest and you must become agents for change.”

The day provided evidence of the ever-growing toolbox. Key achievements over the five decades have included: the move from clamps to storage buildings; disease control; condensation management; CIPC distribution; bloom meters; self-audits; diagnostics; controlled atmospheres; ethylene management and inverter technology. And the focus at SBCSR has always been on getting messages out to engender change within industry.

“The innovation at SBCSR has been driven by a willingness to collaborate, to understand industry needs, to seek out funding and to deliver results in a language we all understand,” said Rob. “Coincidentally, these are the same credentials required to exploit opportunities created by Governments’ new funds under the Agri-tech strategy, that’s high on the AHDB and AHDB Potatoes agenda right now.”


Looking forward

Just as industry needs to change, so does SBCSR, the facility was fortunate to receive EU funding four years ago to add to the capability of the site. “We need to use that momentum to review the facility and make decisions on what you, our industry needs as a future resource.” And Sutton Bridge continues to press hard for change as part of its Storage 2020  campaign.

Adrian Cunnington (SBCSR) & Ray Andrews (Crop Systems) spoke  about 'the case for uniformity' detailing ways to improve air distribution in store which is key to being able to improve control, eliminate variation and ensure chemical residues are not exceeded.

Adrian Briddon (SBCSR) & Tjaart Hofman (Certis) highlighted ways to improve CIPC best practice while Glyn Harper (SBCSR) reported on research assessing warmer storage temperatures for fresh market, aimed at reducing energy costs and mitigating against sugar accumulation.

The SBCSR team

Rob Clayton closed his address acknowledging Adrian Cunnington, who has worked for 30 years at SBCSR, and his similarly experienced team. “Having worked at Sutton Bridge what impresses me is an almost unique ability to work the grading lines and get dirt under the finger nails but then to scrub up, deliver world leading-science and treat storage as a business.”





13 February 2014

Fabulous turnout for our Storage 2020 international Conference

Over 250 delegates attended our Storage 2020 Conference at Peterborough. Thanks in particular to our sponsors, Certis and Omnivent. It was great to see so many people at one event focusing on storage for the day.


17 January 2014

Registrations still available for our 2014 Store Managers Course

For the first time in four years the Store Managers' Course is able to go out 'on the road' again. Funding requirements, associated with the capital development undertaken at SBCSR in 2010, precluded this until this year but the 2014 course is to be held in Cheshire, close to junction 16 of the M6 motorway, providing excellent access for growers and store managers in the west.

The date for the course is 5/6 March and the venue is the Wychwood Park Hotel, near Crewe.

With increasing pressure on returns from storage and a changing landscape over the use of sprout suppressants, now is the ideal time to attend. Two days of practical, focused training on how to get the best from your storage is available at a very competitive price. Enlist now by following this link.



18 October 2013

New report on energy use in potato stores published

AHDB Potatoes has just published the final report on reduced energy use in storage, a project undertaken by Sutton Bridge CSR and Farm Energy Centre. The report summarises work which has delved deeper into potato storage operation than ever before, assessing factors such as refrigeration efficiency and air leakage. Variability across the stores assessed remained large (as was found in the previous exploratory trial) and the work highlighted the need for attention to detail in building construction, store management practices and maintenance programmes if costs are to be controlled and returns from storage maximised.


17 October 2013

New 'Be CIPC Compliant' store diaries available: call 0800 02 82 111 to order your free copy



   16 October 2013

ACP review reports

CIPC remains firmly under the spotlight

This year the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) has carefully considered data on current CIPC use and industry stewardship, as official monitoring has continued to find CIPC residues that exceed the Maximum Residue Level (MRL).

At its meeting on 24 September 2013, the ACP agreed that product authorisations can continue, however the committee have serious concerns about the continued findings of residues in exceedance of the MRL.  It is a legal requirement that residues should not exceed these levels.  The Committee agreed that steps still had to be taken to meet the requirements set in 2007. The information provided did not provide them assurance that further MRL exceedances would be avoided and they have requested a number of further specific data requirements from approval holders and further residue monitoring by the industry. Continued authorisations will be dependent upon these requirements being met.

Richard Harris, of the Potato Processors’ Association, responding to the outcomes of the review, said ‘Approval holders have been asked to submit new data to protect the future of CIPC and in the meantime all supply chain businesses must adhere to label recommendations for CIPC use and work within Red Tractor protocols.’

David Walker of the Fresh Potato Suppliers’ Association added ‘It is crucial there are no further MRL exceedances and we will be stepping up industry monitoring to support the stewardship scheme.’

The ACP recognised that the CIPC stewardship has delivered valuable changes and were supportive of the continuation of the scheme. The industry needs to demonstrate it can ensure CIPC exceedances will not continue to occur. A loss of CIPC would have very serious implications for the potato industry and we all must work together to prevent any further exceedances.

Mike Storey, Chair of the Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group said ‘It is crucial for the whole industry to fully engage with the ‘Be CIPC Compliant’ campaign to ensure that best practice is adopted.’

Current best practice guidelines are available at


23 September 2013

ACP meets to review CIPC this month

CIPC will be reviewed at the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides to be held in York this month. See our latest bulletin above or visit for up to date stewardship and best practice information.


5 September 2013

See SBCSR at Potato Europe 2013

Join us on the AHDB Potatoes stand at Emmeloord, The Netherlands, 11-12 September