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Making a habit of regularly monitoring your store

Publication Date: 
7 February 2019

As we move into the long-term storage season, it is important to maintain all round vigilance in stores. From temperature to diseases, regular monitoring and visual checks are necessary to identify any problems and prevent them from further developing.

Effectively managing a store starts with closely monitoring and recording temperature. This is a crucial component of storage that governs a range of biological and physical processes. Following a dormancy break, temperature is the primary driver of sprout growth. Condensation can be caused by fluctuations in temperature. With the cold temperature we are experiencing at night, a difference of as little as 1-2°C can lead to condensation.  To capture potential temperature differentials, make sure to place sensors at the top and bottom of the stack in box stores and ideally at the top and base of the pile in bulk. Store-control systems now offer options for receiving data in real-time on different devices.

With reports of diseases like soft rots developing in store from long-term breakdown, it is crucial to be checking potato stocks on a weekly basis. Watch for signs of ‘drips’ in pallet slots and use your nose to check for unusual smells indicative of soft rots.

Depending on your target market, your supplier may also be requesting additional checks on quality. Ensure that any samples taken are as representative of your whole crop as possible to avoid any unwanted surprises with rejected loads later.

Energy consumption is another key target for monitoring. Requiring relatively little investment, keeping a close eye on energy consumption will enable store managers by fitting a dedicated meter will help managers spot equipment that is not running efficiently. It will help to gather information to establish whether it needs replacing. In the longer term, it is valuable data to have for informing your decision-making when it comes to investing in a new refrigeration or ventilation system, for example.

Making a habit of regularly monitoring key variables and visually inspecting crops will go a long way in spotting issues before they become problems. While, 24/7 all-round monitoring may not always be justified, technology is making recording increasingly straightforward with information easily accessible remotely and in real time. This kind of technology is also becoming cheaper so perhaps it’s time to consider a store upgrade?

For further information on store management, browse our Storage Hub and the Store Managers’ Guide.  If you have any specific questions, email us at sbcsr@ahdb.org.uk or call the Storage Advice Line on 0800 02 82 111.

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