Watch out for potato rot in store

POTATO GROWERS need to monitor stores for signs of soft rot and other diseases, the British Potato Council (BPC) has advised.


While the quality of crops harvested this season has been generally good, a few growers have reported concerns about rots, so there is a need for vigilance, said Adrian Cunnington from the BPC’s Sutton Bridge experimental unit.


“The first sign of trouble is usually the smell. Any rotting tubers need to be ventilated thoroughly and, if possible, cooled quickly.”


Dry lifting conditions mean most crops went into store fairly clean and are generally sound for storage, but growers must maintain their guard against diseases such as black dot – particularly for the fresh and pre-packed outlets, he said.


Crops should be cooled down to 2.5oC to 3.5oC and once this is reached, stores should be monitored closely, he advised. “A rogue temperature reading is often not a rogue probe, but an indication of trouble in store.”


For the latest storage advice, see www.potato.org.uk or for specific queries, call the BPC Storage Advice Line free on 08000 282111.