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Storage Bulletin - January 2013

Publication Date: 
25 January 2013



Following the recent spell of cold weather, especially in areas where temperatures have plummeted to almost double figures below freezing, more pressure is being put on to the already-threatened crop in store. 
Fry colours are already reported to be problematic and where crop temperatures have dropped these will deteriorate further. Frost damage will also be a risk in buildings with marginal insulation or where stores have been inadequately sealed. 
Very cold external temperatures frequently test the insulation in the roof space, in particular, to the limit. If it is unable to adequately protect against the temperature difference between inside and outside, the roof panel will become slightly colder than the store and this will usually result on condensation on the underside of the roof.
If stores have not been checked during the cold weather, do so now. There are widespread reports of bacterial rots in crops which were waterlogged and in poorly-ventilated potatoes. There are also now reports of breakdown from tuber blight and secondary bacterial infection in parts of the country and tuber quality decline in store due to high sugars and/or disease development is a general concern.
The key to combatting spread of any of these infections is to keep the tubers dry. If condensation does form on the roof it is important to protect the crop from drip-back as wet potatoes will quickly degrade.
Where roof space heating is deployed, this can lower the risk condensation in two ways: (a) by increasing the temperature of the roof surface and (b) by lowering the relative humidity so the roof space air remains below the dew point.
If there is no heat available, ventilation is the other means of control. Recirculation is often the only option if external temperatures are too low and outside air is at high humidity, which has been the case over recent, foggy days.
Keeping air speed high in the roof space will help to alleviate condensation so, if supplementary fans are available, these should also be used to combat the problem.
Further information
FREE storage advice 0800 02 82 111
A few places remain on the AHDB Potatoes’s 2013 Store Managers’ Course which takes place on Wednesday/Thursday 13/14 February at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research in south Lincolnshire. 
The cost to levy payers is from £310 + VAT but AATP bursaries are available to offset this. 
Please register in advance if you wish to attend. Full details at
Winter Forum
Wednesday 6 February, Harper Adams University College, Edgmond, Newport, Salop, TF10 8NB
Storage Forums
Tuesday 26 February, Windlestrea Hotel, The Muirs, Kinross, Perthshire, KY13 8AS
Includes presentations by Ian Toth of James Hutton Institute & Adrian Cunnington of SBCSR
Thursday 28 February, Sutton Bridge CSR, East Bank, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, PE12 9YD
Herefordshire Potato Day 
Tuesday 6 March, Royal National College for the Blind, College Road, Hereford, HR1 1DT

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