8 January 1998
By FW reporters
IMPROVING prices for top-quality potato samples are increasing the pressure for careful storage, according to experts.
Most known suspect samples are now cleared and overall quality is gradually improving, according to Rob Burrow of the British Potato Council. But wastage is running at 19% and pre-packers are having to grade hard to get acceptable quality, he adds.
Skin finish is now the main concern, reports Simon Bowen of Anglian Produce. Many crops going into store had shown high levels of silver scurf, he says. Black dot is also a concern.
Quality out of store can be tricky to judge, according to John Manchett of Cambridgeshire-based MBM Produce. Processors and packers tended to rely on their own stores over Christmas while many farmers were on holiday, he says.
Growers should keep an eye out for black dot in King Edward and Squire, warns Peter Hewett of Branston Potatoes.
“We have seen a bit of frost damage, but it has been easy to grade out,” he said.