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Storage Bulletin - October 2011

Publication Date: 
5 October 2011

 

With store loading now well underway in many parts of the country, the focus has been on ensuring crop quality is maintained during the harvesting process and this is something that needs to extend into the initial phases of storage. More…
 
Drying and cooling requires high airflow delivered in as direct a manner as possible for a rapid and efficient crop response. Positive ventilation systems work best for this but if the store is ‘space ventilated’ (eg box storage with ‘overhead throw’ air discharge) then it is worthwhile taking steps to ensure air can’t short circuit back to the fan.
 
Whenever there is a need to ventilate a crop in store, it is important to make the air being discharged from the fan do some ‘work’ before it is exhausted or recirculated. This usually means either removing moisture or heat - or both. If the air doesn’t come into contact with the crop it can’t do this efficiently. Remember too that, if a crop is wet, then the drying process will reduce temperature as any moisture is evaporated.
 
If outside air is being used for drying without automated control, be careful with condensation risk if the ambient temperature increases. Warm moist air being blown on to cooler potatoes is likely to cause condensation which will encourage disease. This also means the crop has to be dried again.
 
In some wetter parts of the country, field conditions have been described as anything from “difficult” to “diabolical”. Bacterial disease will be a threat in these circumstances so every effort has to go into drying the crop. But it is also important to try to prioritise on the crop’s ‘storability’ and manage any risk of breakdown or further disease development accordingly. 
 
For example, consider putting any areas of crop which have been waterlogged in easily accessible boxes - or leave them out of the store altogether. That said, with current market conditions, even short term storage may be worthwhile rather than having to sell off the field. If temporary storage is being considered, the inclusion of ductwork under the crop ought to be a minimum requirement as this allows a convective air flow through the pile. 
 
Call Sutton Bridge CSR on 0800 02 82 111 for specific advice.
 
 
Sprout suppression should also be on any store manager’s list of priorities and, if CIPC or ethylene is being used, getting the timing right is absolutely crucial to success. It is important to speak to the ethylene supply company for variety specific advice where this treatment is being used for fresh market supplies.
 
For CIPC, early application has been shown to be the key to improved control in most crops. If processing potatoes are already going into store, there ought to be a dialogue happening with the CIPC contractor NOW. Indeed, some crops have already been treated.
 
By applying CIPC early and evenly, the active ingredient is available to stop any initial growth and this can then prevent the need for re-application, saving money and reducing the risk of high residues. With CIPC under the spotlight and the subject of a stewardship process, this latter point is crucial to make sure this important sprout suppressant is retained. Get up to speed on best practice by visiting the CIPC Stewardship webpage on the newly-revised AHDB Potatoes website at www.potato.org.uk/cipc. And before CIPC is used, don’t forget to do a self-assessment using the Stewardship Store Checklist as this will become an Assured Produce requirement.
 
 
Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research will have the latest news and views on storage developments on the AHDB Potatoes stand at British Potato 2011 being held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate on 23/24 November. 
 
Entry to the event is FREE on registration. This is an easy process which should be done beforehand to avoid any queues at www.potato.org.uk/events. If you have any questions, call the AHDB Potatoes events team on 0247 647 8782 or email miya.kotecha@ahdb.org.uk.
 
AHDB Potatoes will be running its annual two day Store Managers’ Course at SBCSR on 9/10 February 2012. Contact Kate Balloch at Sutton Bridge on 01406 359418 or email kate.balloch@ahdb.org.uk if you would like to receive full booking details when these are released in November. 
 
Using CIPC on potatoes? Be sure to APPLY EARLY for best control and use a Stewardship Store Checklist from www.potato.org.uk/cipc
For more information see below or call 0800 0282111 for further advice.
 

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