2 November 2001

ADAS says beware spud rot in stores

WATCH for rot-inducing condensation in potato stores, warns ADAS.

Recent warm weather has been ideal for avoiding bruising during lifting. But the forecast change to much colder conditions at the end of the week could increase in-store problems if growers are not careful, says Notts-based Andy Wells.

"I am concerned because there is already quite a lot of breakdown going on in potato stores, and with a fair bit still in the ground we cant afford to lose any of the crop. There is unlikely to be a surplus in Europe."

Key to avoiding the spread of soft and pink rot is to keep tuber surfaces dry, he says. "Most people have some form of ventilation, even if it is only roof fans to stir the air."

But blowing cold air on to warm stocks risks condensation, so cooling store temperatures must be approached cautiously, he advises.

"Managing condensation is the key. People need to pull down gradually using fans little and often to remove temperature gradients. Make sure you do not lose the good you have done by re-wetting." &#42