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Storage Bulletin - January 2016

Publication Date: 
15 March 2016


As we head into 2016, we are hearing increasing numbers of reports of quality issues in crops coming from stores.

Rots were featured in last month’s bulletins and remain prevalent but fry colour problems are also beginning to surface at an earlier point in the season than we might expect them, especially as the weather has been so mild.

Or perhaps it’s because the weather has been so mild…

Warm, moisture-laden air is always a threat to potatoes in store as, first and foremost, it is the precursor to the old enemy, condensation.

And the sad fact is that, despite many column inches of diatribe from SBCSR and others urging industry to invest in storage, we still have too many stores where our level of control is no better than it was a generation ago.

Temperature gradients within stores result in condensation; the humidities we are dealing with are usually so high that only a small change in temperature can move the surrounding air from, for example, a safe, high but dry 96% relative humidity up to 100% where free-moisture condenses and the crop becomes wet. At temperatures between 5 and 10C, the tolerance between these two conditions is just 0.6C, so the chances of condensation in most stores, especially when no ventilation is taking place, is quite high unless specific steps are taken to manage it.

Temperature variation can also be a cause of inconsistent fry colour but mild weather in ambient stores brings with it the additional challenge of aeration. Many store managers understand the need to introduce fresh air to a store, especially after CIPC application but warm ambient conditions can prevent this from happening. This increases the stress on the crop from heightened levels of carbon dioxide. And where fresh air is vented in, the methods being used for this are varied and, in general, often poorly controlled. Simply opening a door can result in little air exchange if there is no through flow and, on manual systems like this, the risk of condensation is high if it’s warmer outside than in the store. Stand-alone fan systems work best if they extract from the store (providing there is an equivalent inlet) whilst the option to mix air as part of the temperature control process is preferred as it ensures the introduction of fresh air is fully controlled.

Do be aware that, in very cold conditions, some flush systems can also be problematic. This occurs if they shut the ambient louvre to such an extent that they run forever to compensate for the lack of air entering the store, adding considerably to the electricity bill.

Does your store stand up to inspection in terms of temperature variation? Are you on top of your CO2 management? Are you coping with fry colour issues? If not, speak to the team at Sutton Bridge on 0800 02 82 111 to see how you might adopt changes that really make a difference.

Finally, don’t forget that if you are re-applying CIPC over the coming weeks, you need to Be CIPC Compliant. All of the arguments for uniformity in temperature translate directly to achieving even CIPC distribution. Legally, if you are using CIPC, you must be working to a recommendation by a BASIS-qualified advisor and you, as the store owner/operator, need to complete a Store Checklist prior to each application to comply with Stewardship and Red Tractor protocols; the application contractor cannot do this for you. Further information is available at

NextGen 2016/17 closes 31 January – don’t miss out!

A reminder that the application process for AHDB Potatoes’ 2016/17 Next Generation Programme is now open; the 12 month scheme aims to help potential future leaders and influencers of our industry. It provides exposure to the whole potato supply chain via a series of events, meetings and dedicated visits held throughout the year. If you are interested in developing a more enhanced role in your industry, why not apply?

Full details are available at and application forms must be received by 31 January 2016.

Sutton Bridge: developments afoot

AHDB currently has an active tender process underway for the provision of new 2 and 6-tonne capacity experimental stores in two phases during 2016/17 at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research. This is to provide new capability at a small scale to replace ageing stores built in the mid-1980s and will complement the stores installed in the RDPE-funded building erected on the site in 2010.

As part of the capital development plan for the facility, refurbishment is also planned for the 25 year old stores in the site’s former RAF hangar over the next two years.

The tender can be accessed at

Storage Forum programme announced

AHDB is pleased to announce the programme for its forthcoming Storage Forum, to be held at the Hilton East Midlands hotel, adjacent to Junction 24 of the M1 (where it meets the A453, A6 and A50) and just a short taxi ride from East Midlands airport.

The event is being held on Tuesday 1st March with registration open from 9.30am. The event starts at 10am and will include presentation and workshop elements.

AHDB Potatoes’ team from SBCSR will be speaking on a range of topical issues ranging from the latest on CIPC management as we head towards the new requirements for the pan-European regime next year. Adrian Briddon will be urging you to ‘Be 2017 Ready’ whilst Glyn Harper will develop recent research on ethylene and looking specifically at combining ethylene and CIPC together for processing storage.

The event will feature speakers from industry including leading Shropshire grower Michael Bubb and Andersons’ costs expert Nick Blake. The workshops will focus on rot management and include sessions led by well-known potato guru Stuart Wale and our own storage specialists Adrian Cunnington & Glyn Harper from SBCSR. It is also hoped to be able to include further contributions from industry to all three groups. We look forward to seeing you on 1st March. 


Tuesday 1st March, Hilton East Midlands, M1 Junction 24, Lockington, Leics. DE74 2YW




MORNING SESSION – Chair: Adrian Cunnington, Sutton Bridge CSR



Rob Clayton

Strategy Director

AHDB Potatoes


CIPC: how to ‘Be 2017 Ready‘

Adrian Briddon

Sutton Bridge CSR


Ethylene: its potential for use alongside CIPC

Glyn Harper

Sutton Bridge CSR


Coffee Break


‘Why I invested in storage’

Michael Bubb

JM Bubb & Son


The new AHDB Potatoes Storage Cost Calculator

Nick Blake


WORKSHOPS: Storage Rot Management



Philip Burgess

AHDB Potatoes


Session I

Workshop 1: Rot Identification and Control Options

Group A                                                   

Workshop leader:
Glyn Harper

Workshop 2: Factors influencing Rot Susceptibility

Group B

Workshop leader:
Stuart Wale, SRUC 

Workshop 3:  Practical Rot Management in Store 
Group C

Workshop leader:
Adrian Cunnington



1.55pm Session II

Workshops: 1B; 2C; 3A


2.25pm Session III

Workshops: 1C; 2A; 3B




Return to Main Room


AFTERNOON SESSION – Chair: Philip Burgess


Storage 2020: the journey so far, barriers to progress and challenges we still need to solve

Adrian Cunnington


Workshop overview

Key ‘take home’ messages from the day

Philip Burgess




Please pre-register for the Storage Forum at

Winter Forums

Don’t forget our forthcoming winter forums. These agronomy-focused events will be held at three locations; please see for registration and 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.

Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL.  Jan 2016. © AHDB

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