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Storage Bulletin - March 2015

Publication Date: 
31 March 2015

When unloading, try to maintain a status in the store where there is a free air path that allows air to get to the potatoes to do the job of cooling them and then return to the fans. Don’t leave ways for it to short circuit as air always takes the path of least resistance. Think about shutting off laterals or blocking any gaps with sheets or empty boxes to maintain some ventilation during the unloading process.
Try to avoid having part-filled stores for long periods of time as these won’t function efficiently and create problems if, for example, it becomes necessary to add a further CIPC treatment. Here the dose has to be matched to the tonnage and yet there is still a building volume being treated which would normally have more tonnes in it. There can be a risk of internal sprouting (below) developing in these circumstances if under-dosing results.


Slow movement from storage can take ambient stores into a situation where temperature control can be quickly compromised by a spell of warm weather.  So maintain a dialogue with markets and alert them to any possible issues with temperature control early on.
As stores begin to unload, there is often time in May or June to do some work on empty stores in preparation for next season before the busy harvest period begins.
Basic steps which should be carried out include checking that equipment is functioning correctly, such as fans and fridges. Tidy up sensor leads, check for damaged or stretched cables and verify that they read correctly by comparing against a good hand-held thermometer, ideally in water (at a temperature in the range the store runs at) or, alternatively, melting ice (0°C).
Check that air ducts are unobstructed and in good repair and that lateral shutters work smoothly. Inspect louvres closely for damage or misalignment that prevents them closing fully. Remove any outdated chemical signage.
If the system includes a fridge, get a fridge engineer to service the system so you can be sure that the fridge gas level is correct, fridge coils are cleaned out and that condensers are clear and working properly so they can get rid of the heat outside.
AHDB Potatoes R&D has also demonstrated that store hygiene is also an important consideration for store preparation. Dust and debris can harbour fungal spores and other pathogens and airborne movement of dust can transport spores and pathogens to healthy tubers when a store is refilled. The survival of spores and pathogens is often prolonged so there is potential for subsequent contamination of stored crops if conditions allow it.
For a basic clean, vacuum the store to remove dust and debris from the previous crop and steam clean any parts of the storage system, especially boxes, that may have been exposed to soft rotting. Make sure underfloor ducts are cleaned too and that any debris blocking air outlets is removed.
For general advice on store preparation, management and hygiene please contact our Storage Advice Line on 0800 0282 111.
As has been announced in the farming press, AHDB is currently developing a simplified family of brands for its activities, but individual sectors will continue to be separately funded and identified. It is anticipated that the new identity will be revealed in the late spring/early summer. There is more information at
After 23 years as a member of the Sutton Bridge research staff, Ajay Jina is leaving AHDB Potatoes on 31 March. He has made a hugely significant contribution to the smooth running of SBCSR and his R&D knowledge, experience and personality will definitely be missed by all the team. The good news is that he is not leaving potatoes and we wish Ajay well in his new role with the sprout suppressant company, DormFresh.

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