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Storage Bulletin - December 2016

Publication Date: 
20 December 2016

Storage Bulletin - December 2016


A break in activities before the Christmas holiday is generally welcomed by all, but it is important not to forget that, like us, the potato store is a living entity and, as such, needs to be actively managed and not forgotten about.

Too many crops this season are reacting adversely to disease issues so need to be watched carefully for any signs of change, which may signal that something is not quite as right as it should be. Watch out for an increase in temperature, longer cooling hours to maintain the status quo or simply an unexpected taint to the store atmosphere. Sprout growth can often be another sign that things are on the move.

It is important to manage any changes promptly to minimise any long term impact. And, at this time of the year, issues such as condensation in the store increase in frequency as cold air has less moisture- carrying capacity, so saturation point is reached more quickly. This shows first as those characteristic beads of water that form on steel purlins, for example. Ventilation or roof-space heating will help to keep such issues under control, but the important point is for the problem to be spotted in a timely way rather than being allowed to drip for a fortnight and escalate into a much bigger problem.

In summary, the assessments we make as we visit our store are essentially one big risk analysis. Understanding the implications of these developments is an important skill to have as a store manager; to learn when something needs adjusting or to sense when the store doesn't quite seem as 'fresh' as it might.

Of course, carrying the burden of risk needs to be offset by reward. Where crops are in good condition and can remain that way, premiums for long-term storage should be achieved. But more marginal crops need to be monitored closely, especially as there have already been some significant failures reported this season and clearly the reward is then lost.

Make sure that your store is not one of them; pay close attention to what's going on throughout the holiday period and hopefully those premiums will be yours in 2017!

A good way to assess your costs and returns from storage is to use the AHDB Storage Cost Calculator



CHAP workshop

Adrian Cunnington and Jon Knight recently represented AHDB at a workshop for those who have benefitted from the recent investment in AgriTech Innovation Centres. Sutton Bridge was one such site with 10 new stores added as a CHAP facility (see our October bulletin). The meeting was held at Cranfield University where this high-rise greenhouse has been built for controlled environment work on soils.

Industry partners wishing to work with CHAP are invited to visit the Innovation Centre’s website at

Sustainable Use Directive

New rules were introduced from 26th November 2016 on pesticide application equipment testing, as required by the Sustainable Use Directive.
However, please note that these requirements do not override specific stewardship measures where these exist and ask for more frequent testing than SUD. In particular, in relation to potato storage, the testing of all CIPC fogging equipment remains at a one year interval and should be conducted, as previously, through the NSTS.

Store Management Training

Places on SBCSR’s next Store Managers’ Course on 1 & 2 February are filling up fast. The course for 2017 is being held just outside Lutterworth in Leicestershire (close to the M1, M6, M69 and A14) and features two days of residential training from the Sutton Bridge team on all aspects of storage management. Emphasis is placed on interactive learning in small groups to maximise the opportunity for delegates to tailor the learning to their needs – and it is a fantastic networking environment too. More details under Forthcoming Events below.

CUPGRA Conference 2016

Sjaak Aben of LWM presented on storage at this year’s conference held in Cambridge on 14/15 December. The topical issue of new ‘thin-skinned’ varieties and their performance in store was one raised by his talk. Fundamentally, a robust skin is crucial to maintaining a healthy tuber in store (and minimising weight loss) so, as Sjaak highlighted in his talk, perhaps there is a need to raise the priority placed on such key storage attributes as part of the variety selection and evaluation process?

Season’s Greetings

We wish all our subscribers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



SPot Farms Result Days, January 2016

A summary of 2016's findings from AHDB’s SPot Farm sites in England.

  • SPot Farm West, 5 January at Kegworth Hotel & Conference Centre, Packington Hill, Kegworth, Leics. DE74 2DF
  • SPot Farm East, 11 January at Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 0TF.

SBCSR BASIS (Stored Potatoes) Course, 12 January 2017. Exam: 27 January 2017

Sorry - this course is now FULLY BOOKED.

AHDB Potatoes Welsh Potato Day, Pembrokeshire, 19 January 2017

At The Pavilion, Gate 3, County Showground, Withybush, Haverfordwest, SA62 4BW
Programme details will be at:

Winter Forum 2017, Harper Adams University, TF10 8NB,  26 January 2017

A comprehensive and timely update of key R&D and KE developments for potatoes, including a tour of the new Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre at Harper Adams.
Full agenda at:

SBCSR Store Managers’ Course, Lutterworth, Leics., 1 & 2 February 2017

At the BW Ullesthorpe Court Hotel. Two day residential course covering all aspects of potato storage management.  Full booking information available on the AHDB website or by calling Emma Bates on 01406 359419. Hurry! Only a few places left.

AHDB South West Storage Day, Ilminster, Somerset. 1 March 2017

Diary date. Details for the day will follow shortly.

AHDB Storage Forum, Red House Hotel, Coupar Angus, PH13 9AL, 9 March 2017

Further details will be available early in the New Year.

SBCSR Post-Harvest Showcase, 8 June 2017

A knowledge exchange day on storage, to be held at Sutton Bridge CSR.
Please save the date; more information will follow early in the New Year. Exhibitor space will be available.

20th Triennial Conference of EAPR, Paris, 9-14 July 2017

The next three-yearly gathering of the European Association for Potato Research is in France.
For more information visit

BP2017, Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, HG2 8QZ, 22-23 November 2017

Once every two years the whole of the Potato Industry comes together for this unique 'seed to shopping trolley' event.
2017’s date is set for November, more information at:

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