30 November 2001

Advice to fight potato storage breakdowns

UNSEASONABLY warm weather earlier this autumn means potatoes are at severe risk from breakdown in store, warns the British Potato Council.

"There is a significant amount of soft rot about," says Adrian Cunnington, of the BPCs Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit. Blight, blackleg and rubbery rot are also reported.

Processing growers with no air mixing or blending capability could be at particular risk. They have been unable to exploit recent cold spells which have been too cold for direct ventilation, he notes.

Growers can find topical advice on safe storage of their potato crops via an on-line bulletin at www.potato.org.uk/sbeu, a BPC Storage Advice Line (01406 351621) and the BPC Store Managers Guide and BPC Pest & Disease Handbook, both of which are available free to levy payers (01865 782222).

Practical storage workshops will run on 15 & 16 Jan at Forfar in Angus, contact Sandra Chalmers (01224-711080) and 27 & 28 Feb at March in Cambridgeshire, contact Adrian Cunnington (01406-351998). &#42