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Storage risk management: are you asking the right questions?

Publication Date: 
25 October 2019

Here are some of the problems being reported from the present harvest:

  • Wet crop entering store
  • Black dot
  • Rots
  • Virus
  • Variable size
  • Growth cracking
  • Bruising
  • Excess soil
  • Blight
  • Early sprouting

Wet conditions are always a concern and the use of plenty of air, ideally delivered positively to the crop, is paramount if crops are to be stored for a significant time. As we move towards the end of  October and coping with a later-than-usual store-loading period, remember the increasing need for curing as temperatures fall and disease risk increases. Inevitably, there will be a range of issues, such as those highlighted above, to deal with for store managers. However, it is important not to lose sight of the primary objectives of the storage you want to undertake.

First and foremost, the crop should be being stored for a specific market and that market should be dictating the storage strategy and decision-making.

Can the following questions be answered confidently and positively?

  • Is the crop suitable for the intended market?
  • Will it meet the specification that market requires?
  • If not, will there be any flexibility if quality is poorer than usual?
  • Can the crop be harvested in a condition suitable for that market?
  • Will the crop remain in a suitable state to store for the intended delivery date?
  • Are there any significant risks associated with the planned storage, eg disease, sprouting?
  • If so, can any of these risks be managed adequately without compromising saleability?

For help and advice, call the SBCSR Storage Advice Line free of charge on 0800 02 82 111.

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