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Storage Bulletin - June 2012

Publication Date: 
29 June 2012

Storage is coming to a close for the 2011/12 season for all but the very long term material.

Overall, given the problems with the 2011 harvest, especially in the north, it is commendable how many managers’ crops have kept well with good quality potatoes continuing to be delivered from store right through into June.

The key to much of this success has been investment in good quality ventilation systems. In many seasons, it may seem like overkill but when a wet season comes along, the availability of plenty of air to dry crops and keep them dry is vital. For optimal efficiency, that air has to be forced through the crop wherever possible. Where many growers have made improvements in the last few years, to bulk stores, is by upgrading their airflow to provide higher capacity when it’s needed and by fitting an inverter to allow fans to be speed controlled to reduce the flow for the holding period or to assist with the application of CIPC.

In box stores, achieving forced ventilation is often more difficult but the best performing stores this season will be those which have been correctly loaded to maintain an air circulation through the pallet slots to allow the air delivered to the crop to efficiently pick up heat and moisture to keep the crop cool and dry.

Take a look at our Store Performance Guide, published a few years ago, for a reminder of the key points to consider in getting the best from your store.


If your store is already empty, now is the time to start preparation for next season.

• Before the pressures of cereal harvest, vacuuming can be carried out to remove dust and arrangements made for any additional hygiene treatments.

• Probes need to be checked and calibrated; these must of course be replaced if cables have been stretched or sensors broken to avoid the risk of skewing temperature averages through faulty readings.

• Get a specialist fridge engineer to service any refrigeration equipment (a fridge low on gas will be expensive to run and slow to pull down temperature). Don’t forget to ask for information to enable you to meet the F-gas regulations (see April’s bulletin).


Do you use multi-purpose buildings as storage for potatoes and other crops such as onions, or cereals and oilseed rape?

Buildings which have been used to store potatoes treated with CIPC may carry a risk of contamination to subsequent crops. The problem is that CIPC contaminates the store fabric. The fog can invade the concrete and other substrates – floors, walls and roof. Boxes used to store CIPC treated potatoes will also be affected. CIPC is difficult to remove even if the store is extensively cleaned and can persist for several years. It can then migrate out of these surfaces or be transferred through ventilation systems into other crops if they are subsequently stored in the same building. This can leave illegal CIPC residues in other crops which, if found in a residue test, will render them unsaleable. Secondly, if it is a seed crop or malting barley, it can ruin germination.

When using or taking over buildings – 
• Ask questions about the store’s history 
• If there is a history of CIPC use on potatoes, do not use it for other fresh produce or storage of crops which do not have an approval for CIPC.
• If in doubt, it is possible to have the fabric of the building sampled and tested for CIPC residues. Please call 0800 02 82 111 for further information.


Sutton Bridge CSR had a strong representation at the recent World Potato Congress in Edinburgh, attended by over 700 delegates from more than 40 potato producing countries around the world.

Adrian Cunnington, Head of SBCSR, gave a workshop on storage with Nora Olsen, the senior storage specialist from the University of Idaho’s Kimberly Research Centre in the USA.

Members of the team were on hand to man the SBCSR stand in the main trade area and posters were presented on sprout suppression, ethylene and machine vision projects.

Storage also featured strongly on the industry interaction tours undertaken to many businesses across Scotland and northern England on the final day of the Congress. Additionally, delegates from as far afield as New Zealand, China and Argentina visited SBCSR in the weeks immediately prior to, and following, WPC.

Continuing the international theme, Adrian Briddon of SBCSR is speaking at the International Potato Processing & Storage Convention in Riga, Latvia on 26-28 June.


Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research are running an Introduction to Store Management Course on Wednesday 29 August. This one day course will include talks, group discussions and practical interactive sessions at SBCSR, focusing on the basics of potato storage. There will be opportunity for delegates to raise specific concerns and for these to be addressed during the course on a 1:1 or group basis. Delegate numbers are limited so early application is recommended.

Details are available on our website at

Some applicants may be eligible for grant assistance under the BBSRC Agri-Food Advanced Training Partnership (ATP). ATP bursaries are limited to those currently employed in the UK agri-food sector. Application forms are available on the webpage or can be supplied on request. For further information please contact Kate Balloch on 01406 359418 or email


There are many AHDB Potatoes events coming up throughout the rest of 2012. See for further information.

PCL regional summer meeting dates:
East Midlands Potato Day, Holbeach Hurn, Lincs. 5th July
Fife Potato Day, Cupar. 19th July
Potatoes in Practice, Dundee. 9th August
East of England Potato Day, Bury St Edmunds, 30th August
North of England Potato Day, Tadcaster, Yorks. 4th September
North West Potato Day, Runcorn, Cheshire. 6th September.
CUPGRA Members’ Day, Cambridge 7th August.

PCL Seed Industry Event 2012, Crieff. 20 November.

PCL Storage Day, Sutton Bridge CSR, Lincs. 29 November
 Save the date! Look out for more details in our next bulletin.

Potato Europe 2012, Villers-Saint-Christophe, France, 12-13 September.

                                                                                 Storage Advice Line      0800 02 82 111 

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