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Storage Bulletin - March 2013

Publication Date: 
15 March 2013

The end of the storage season is already here for many but there is a lot to keep on top of, both for the remaining, long-term crops in store and in readiness for next season’s crop.

For those crops still in store, the main objective should be to move the crop to maximise its quality potential. This means keeping abreast of any issues which might influence its saleability.

Skin finish for fresh market and suitability for processing are important attributes and must be maintained at all costs.

Take care when unloading cold stores in warmer conditions to avoid condensation forming on the crop. Try to warm crops up gradually to avoid creating a large temperature difference, as a layer of moisture can still be sufficient to prompt an outbreak of silver scurf as there will probably still be viable spores present.

For processing crops, ensure that crop temperatures are maintained as, at this time of year, we have been getting a lot of cold nights and further frosty mornings could still adversely affect fry colour if crop is being moved on unprotected transport.

Across all crops, always make sure CIPC limits are adhered to and that, where a crop is sold on, its CIPC record is supplied to the new buyer. Crops treated with more that 36 g/t must only be used for processing – please be vigilant and ensure you get a full crop history, including the CIPC record, if you are buying in crops for fresh market from a new or unusual source. See for guidance.

Reconditioning of processing crops (i.e. holding at higher temperature, eg 12-15°C) may be in use to try to recover some loss of fry colour due to the cold conditions experienced over winter. Be aware that, at high temperature, any bacterial rot present will multiply rapidly. The key when conditioning is to monitor the crop closely and assess it frequently for whatever qualities are crucial to your market, so you can react to any changes. An over-reconditioned crop that is pushed into senescent sweetening cannot be recovered; further conditioning will only make colour worse.

Seed handling

Seed deliveries will be coming on to farm very soon and it is important to look after seed  carefully after delivery, especially if there is any delay in getting it planted.

One tonne bags will be susceptible to condensation if they are simply stored on a concrete floor. Warm air from the living seed rises from the centre of the bag and is replaced by cooler air at the shoulders. The resultant temperature difference is usually sufficient (in an unventilated bag) to trigger condensation under the surface and this will encourage disease development. On receipt of seed, ensure ventilation takes place to keep it dry by discharging into (CIPC-untreated) boxes or, at the very least, place tonne bags on pallets to allow air circulation underneath and between the bags.

Consult the new AHDB Potatoes technical note (TN03) entitled ‘Best practice for seed handling and storage’ which is now available at .



British Potato 2013
Wednesday/Thursday 27/28 November, Gt Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, Yorks.
Date for the diary. FREE visitor entry. Exhibitor bookings now being taken. See

International Potato Processing & Storage Convention 2013
4 – 6 June, Philadelphia, USA. See

European Association for Potato Research, Post-Harvest Section Meeting
22 – 24 October, Warsaw, Poland. EAPR bursaries available for young researchers to attend.


Storage advice line: 0800 02 82 111        Storage information:

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