POTATO GROWERS must watch out for signs of lenticel breakdown in stored crops following the wet harvest.

Poor harvest weather and the resulting deterioration in potato quality raise the risk of breakdown, potentially devaluing the entire crop, warns the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

Symptoms include depressed brown lesions developing on the surface of potatoes, as lenticel breathing pores degrade. “Growers should avoid long-term storage of affected tubers,” advises NIAB potato pathologist David Kenyon.

Although lenticel breakdown will not spread to other tubers, it can be associated with erwinia infection. That can readily spread between affected tubers, leading to more rapid crop breakdown.