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Storage Bulletin - March 2014

Publication Date: 
31 March 2014

Storage quality
Pectobacterium (soft rot) remains a threat to crops coming out of cold storage as the low temperature suppresses the bacterial disease’s development whilst in the store. Once crops lose that control (eg on seed or ware after despatch) there is a risk of bacterial multiplication and problems developing especially if moisture is present due to condensation.
Best practice advice for storage of seed in bulk bags is to stack these on pallets on receipt to ensure a flow of air under the bag. But avoid prolonged storage in bags and transfer where possible to boxes and use ventilation to keep the tubers dry. Of course, avoid the use of CIPC-contaminated stores, boxes and ventilation systems when dealing with seed.
Defects linked to respiration rate can also be ‘suppressed’ at temperatures around 5°C as the rate of respiration is at its lowest at this temperature. But at very low (<3°C) Blackheartor high temperatures (>15°C) - or if the crop becomes stressed for any reason - respiration rate increases significantly and this can result in the development of problems such as blackheart (pictured). Blackheart results from necrosis of the innermost parts of the tuber due to the inability of oxygen to transfer through the potato tissues quickly enough to satisfy the respiration demand.
AHDB Potatoes is currently running a three year study into the disorder at Sutton Bridge CSR and Cranfield University, in conjunction with the Fresh Potato Suppliers’ Association. The work aims to identify the high risk factors which increase the likelihood of blackheart development in store. For further details, visit the Potato Disorders section of the Pests & Diseases Tool and click on Blackheart.
We featured advice on CIPC re-treatment in our last bulletin but it is worth repeating that this season’s new label recommendations for cold stores (those held at 5°C or below) limit treatment to just one application per season.
Several growers have asked why this has happened. The answer is to minimise the risk of MRL exceedances which, if they were to continue, would probably result in the total withdrawal of CIPC.
Levels of CIPC, when applied to crops below 5°C, decline much more slowly than at higher temperatures and therefore when crops come to be sold, residual CIPC can still be present.
Applying one standard dose early in the season reduces that risk but still requires careful management to plan which crops need treatment and which don’t. Putting on high doses is not an acceptable solution under stewardship as it still runs the risk of MRL exceedance as there will be even more CIPC to volatilise. This will be compounded if the store has a history of poor control which essentially comes down to uneven airflow and taking action to even out a known CIPC distribution problem is the only solution. So, in overhead box stores, for example, minimise any risk of high residues by ensuring fog cannot short circuit around the store, enter the roof space directly and ensure application is not made to crop until it is at an even temperature throughout the store.
Details of best practice for CIPC treatment are available at For all CIPC use, a store checklist must be completed before use and written recommendations taken from a BASIS-qualified advisor. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
Advice on improving airflow uniformity can be obtained from Sutton Bridge CSR on 0800 02 82 111.
Storage 2020
Many thanks to everyone who supported our Storage 2020 International Storage Conference held last month at Peterborough Arena. We had a terrific turnout of over 250 people and plenty of thought-provoking debate on storage and how we can make it more successful, cost-effective and sustainable.  


For any of you who were unable to attend, a selection of presentations in video format are now loaded onto the AHDB Potatoes website at Slides from all the talks are also available in the Presentations section of the website.
A reminder that our Storage 2020 T.I.P.S. information platform is now online. Access to The Interactive Potato Store is directly available at
StoreCheck: preparation for our new store auditing service, which is being introduced by Sutton Bridge in conjunction with Farm Energy this spring, are going well. Store leakage measurement and energy usage advice will feature as major facets of the test. Equipment for carrying out the audits has now arrived and has been successfully used in some trial assessments at Sutton Bridge. Further set-up work will be done on commercial stores during April and it is hoped that the service will launch during May. Please call 01406 359419 for more information.

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