POTATO GROWERS must watch out for signs of Lenticel breakdown in stored crops following the wet harvest conditions, experts have warned.

Lenticel breakdown risk is increased by poor weather at harvest and the resulting deterioration in potato quality can devalue the entire crop, experts at NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) said.

Symptoms include depressed brown lesions on the surface of potatoes, and although it can develop rapidly in infected tubers, lenticel breakdown will not spread to other potatoes, experts said.

“This harvest has been very difficult for growers and the heightened levels of lenticel breakdown are symptomatic of this,” said potato pathologist David Kenyon.

Lenticel breakdown can also be associated with Erwinia infections, which result in a more rapid breakdown of potatoes and can spread to adjacent tubers, according to NIAB.

“Growers should avoid long term storage of affected tubers, as any Erwinia infection associated with lenticel breakdown may spread,” added Dr Kenyon.

NIAB offer tests to confirm Lenticel breakdown and indicated the presence of Erwinia species if required.