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Storage Bulletin - Movember 2011

Publication Date: 
30 November 2011

Whilst we are already past the normally intensive period of store management, we advise you to check your store daily at the moment. Many stores have been changing condition rapidly due to the extended period of mild weather. For more information see below or call 0800 02 82 111 for advice.

Harvest has drawn to a close across the country, with a clear geographic split in the conditions experienced by growers.

With wet and difficult conditions prevailing across much of Scotland, harvest has been a struggle and crops coming into store in the last few weeks have been laden with soil and prone to breakdown where tubers have been sitting in waterlogged soil.

The priority for these crops is to ventilate them to dry them. This requires high airflow delivered in as direct a manner as possible. Positive ventilation systems work best for this and are the only really effective solution for rapid drying.

Crops which have been waterlogged will require continual ventilation to dry out any tubers which have rotted so they can be removed on grading.

If outside air needs to be used for drying without automated control, take care not to create condensation on the crop if the ambient temperature increases. Warm moist air being blown on to cooler potatoes will condense and the moisture will further encourage disease and/or sprouting.

Elsewhere in the country, dry conditions prevailed but the early harvest took place in very warm conditions and, with mild weather continuing well into November, there has been little opportunity to reduce temperatures adequately in ambient stores. This has triggered disease development in a number of stores and some of these cases have been serious.

For cooling, the best solution is to allow the store controller to regulate the ventilation automatically. Look at reducing the differential (normally 2°C) a little to capitalise on any cold air availability if this option is provided on the controller, always remembering that a fan will put ½ - ¾ °C heat back in so if it is taken down too far the air can’t actually do any cooling. Please call Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research on 0800 02 82 111 for specific advice.

The Sutton Bridge team were pleased to see so many of you amongst the 6000 visitors to British Potato 2011 held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate on 23rd-24th November. The show saw the launch of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors CIPC applicators’ group which will offer advice to those applying the chemical, including growers who make their own applications, on how to become affiliated to this new assurance scheme. Read more about the scheme at

Sprout control looks to be a major challenge this season, especially in short dormant varieties. Repeat applications have already been widely reported due to premature sprouting and this will impact on chemical availability later in the season. With a maximum of 36 g/t permitted on fresh market crop and 63.75 g/t on processing crops (including those for fish & chip shops and peeling), care will be needed in the timing of any subsequent treatments.

Get up to speed on best practice by visiting the CIPC Stewardship webpage on the newly-revised AHDB Potatoes website at And before CIPC is used, don’t forget to do a self-assessment using the new Stewardship Store Checklist as this will become an Assured Produce requirement.

The AHDB Potatoes will be running its annual two day STORE MANAGERS’ COURSE at Sutton Bridge on 9th and 10th February 2012. Please be aware that, for the first time, this course may be eligible for grant assistance under the new BBSRC Advanced Agri-Food Training Partnership being co-ordinated by the University of Nottingham. ATP bursaries are limited to those currently employed in the UK agri-food sector. Course booking forms and application forms can be supplied on request. Contact Kate Balloch at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research on 01406 359418 or email if you would like further details.

Finally, throughout the month of Movember, many of the Sutton Bridge team have been growing moustaches for the Movember charity appeal in support of prostate and testicular cancer. A man dies every hour of every day in the UK from these diseases so, if you would like to sponsor our team called ‘The Potato Dudes’ and get more information on men’s health, please take a look at the website at If you have already contributed, thank you.

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