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Storage Bulletin - December 2015

Publication Date: 
17 December 2015

Storage Bulletin - December 2015


At this time of the year it may be nice to receive one or two surprises for Christmas but a store going wrong is not one of them… So it is important to put arrangements in place to ensure that crops are checked thoroughly during the holiday period.            

Wet rot management            

Reports continue to be received on the prevalence of wet rots, especially in processing stocks but seed and ware have been affected too. Worst hit are ambient stores as the mild climatic conditions have capped the availability of cool and, most importantly, dry air and this has limited store managers’ options to drive out free moisture resulting from local infection. This, in turn, has allowed cross-contamination of stocks and areas of breakdown to develop to such an extent that some stores have had to be unloaded.            

Where refrigeration or, in some cases, heating has been available, the problem has been kept much more in check. Fridges, in addition to cooling, tend to remove excess moisture from the circulating air helping, over time, to dry out any suspect tubers.            

Samples received at Sutton Bridge have largely shown symptoms of soft rot (Pectobacterium spp.), frequently developed from blackleg, but there have also been rots caused by fungal infections, such as watery wound rot (Pythium ultimum) and pink rot (Phytophthora erythroseptica).            

These problems tend to emanate from wet conditions in the field combined with high temperatures prior to or at harvest and, in the case of the fungal rots, can be exarcebated by any factors which allow ingress into the tuber such as handling damage or poor skin set. Blackleg, of course, is a more difficult problem to deal with as the bacterial infection takes place through the stolon (stem).  A workshop to discuss management of rots will feature as part of the forthcoming AHDB Storage Forum.

For more comprehensive information, see AHDB Potatoes’ Pests & Diseases gallery at or call Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research on 0800 02 82 111 for specific advice.

Also, you may wish to order this new ‘Diseases and defects of potato’ A2-sized poster, produced by SBCSR, which shows a range of nasties you would prefer to avoid, but may find useful to identify should they affect your crop. Single copies can be sent to AHDB Levy Payer addresses free of charge – again, call 0800 02 82 111 to order yours. If you happen to call out of office hours, please ensure that your message includes your business name and postcode.


CIPC re-treatment

Christmas, or shortly after, is often the time when processing potatoes receive a second dose of sprout suppressant and many store managers will be contemplating whether to re-treat.

It must be stressed that, with the advent of recirculation to assist in the application of CIPC, distribution efficiency can be greatly enhanced and this means that a dose of CIPC can often last longer than might have previously been the case. As always, the input of a qualified BASIS advisor is important to establish the need for any treatment and a crucial factor is to establish whether the bud is actually growing.

The soft tissue around the growing point will readily absorb CIPC that is present as a vapour and this has a tendency for the sprout to swell (right) which can sometimes give the impression that active growth is underway when, in actual fact, it is the opposite; CIPC has been taken up and any development of a sprout has been suppressed.

For more information on CIPC best practice, please go to

BP2015 at HARROGATE, 12/13 November

Thanks to everyone who came to visit us on the AHDB Potatoes storage stand at this event. We would also like to thank everyone who was involved in helping us create our stand from the researchers working on ‘electronic noses’ at Warwick University and CIPC de-contamination at SUERC to partner companies Dawbarn and Rappibox who kindly provided materials for the display.

The main feature of the stand, forming part of our Storage 2020 campaign, was aimed at driving uptake of store enhancements, such as air divider curtains, to improve airflow in stores. This remains a major issue in many box stores and is instrumental in some of the problems experienced over the past couple of months in processing stores.

Another feature of our stand was the launch of the new ‘Be 2017 Ready’ campaign for CIPC which highlights the transitions we need to go through to meet new labels which will govern its use. These are likely to require ‘active recirculation’ of CIPC at the time of treatment at application rates which will continue to step down each year until we comply with the 36g per tonne limit, which forms part of a new pan-European regime.

Lastly, thank you to all who contributed to our industry survey. We were able to gather information on CIPC use for a whopping 1¼ million tonnes of crop over the two days of the show which will be invaluable in building a picture of how industry is tackling this important subject.

Calling all youthful growers and store managers…

The application process for the AHDB Next Generation Programme for 2016/17 is now open. The 12 month programme looks to develop future leaders of our industry and gives them exposure to the whole potato supply chain through a series of meetings, visits and events held across the year.

Applications details are available at The closing date is 31 January 2016.

Forthcoming events

Register for all of the events below at

AHDB Welsh Potato Day: Thu 14 January 2016

This  technical-focused event will include expert talks and practical workshop sessions. Venue is The Pavilion, Gate 3, County Showground, Withybush, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 4BW.

AHDB Store Managers’ Course:  Thu/Fri 21/22 January 2016

Sorry but this course, to be held at SBCSR, is now fully booked.

AHDB Winter Forums: These are agronomy-focused events being held at three venues across the country. See for agenda details.

19 January 2016: Holiday Inn, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, Cambs. PE3 6SG.

28 January 2016: SASA, Roddinglaw Road, Edinburgh, EH12 9FJ.

03 February 2016: Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB.

AHDB Storage Forum: Tuesday 01 March 2016

Hilton East Midlands, Lockington, Leics. DE74 2YW (adjacent to J24 M1 and A50).

Full programme details will be available shortly.

Season’s greetings                              

Finally, we wish all our subscribers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2016.

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