Spud watch: Store improvements cut spud losses

At the time of writing the last few potato crops are being harvested and loaded into store.

Conditions have been exceptional, even the odd shower was welcome to assist with keeping soil on harvester webs.

For some, harvest finished ages ago, stores have settled down and the first applications of CIPC (chlorpropham) have been made.

See also: Imazalil label change creates harvesting headache

A general observation is stores are certainly not bulging at the seams, like last year, although some varieties, and particularly those with irrigation, have done well.

John Sarup

Now it is all about maximising marketable yield and minimising store loses.

A few clients have recently converted box stores from passive ventilation to positive ventilation and it is amazing seeing the difference.

The crop is dry and cured in two weeks and there is much less weight loss as the fans are now running less frequently and any soft rots have mummified.  

Thoughts are already turning to next season and I have completed fertiliser recommendations for some already.

In addition, abel changes concerning buffer zones have occurred over the past year making the use of the more popular blight spray products more challenging.

Last season, products containing fluazinam were affected and I understand some products containing cymoxanil and mancozeb have gone the same way for next season.

Finally, the relatively mild autumn has allowed stubbles to green up nicely and volunteer potatoes are clearly evident, if possible get some glyphosate on before the first frosts of winter, to avoid pest and disease carry over in to next year.