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PSI Bulletin: April 2024

No. 4/24 SUBSCRIBER EDITION: please go to to sign up as a Synopsis subscriber. Most of our bulletins are fully accessible only to our subscribers.


Welcome to the April edition of Synopsis. First an apology: this month's PSI’s monthly round-up of potato storage information and news is running a little late due to some clashing commitments, but we should be back on track next month...


At last there seems to be some significant uptake in planting (below), with growers able to take advantage of some bright, fine conditions although temperatures have remained on the cool side for many. That said, this work has been taking place in between periods of continued erratic and generally wet weather most of us have experienced throughout the winter.

Planting underway on Lincolnshire silts (picture courtesy Mike Neaverson)

This month, for our technical insight feature, we look forward to the Strategic Potato Storage Day at Long Sutton, Lincs on Tuesday 14th May. PSI is one of the organisers of this day and I have tried to provide an overview of each exhibiting partner organisation so that you can see their relevance to your business. As a PSI subscriber, we do hope you will be able to attend; there is more detail below.


Our best practice slot this time around is for those with processing crops remaining in store and focuses on senescent sweetening. And there is some key news on developments which will hopefully turn out to be for everyone's benefit in the coming months...

Technical Insight


GB Potatoes, Potato Storage Insight and SDF Agriculture are organising a Strategic Potato Storage technical event on Tuesday 14 May 2024 from 09.30 at Winters Lane Storage, Long Sutton to which all PSI subscribers are invited to attend. There is no charge. The registration link provided by GB Potatoes can be accessed here.

Morning Session – Winters Lane Storage, Long Sutton, PE12 9BE courtesy of Winters Lane Storage grower co-operative members

  • Project partners stands to be viewed on arrival.

  • Event partners listed above, with more information on each below

  • Presentations on trials and the cold storage for fresh / table potatoes strategy deployed at WLS. Topics to include:

Storage regimes – cold temperatures & sprout suppression options

Maleic hydrazide uptake – results for commercial varieties

Store design performance in terms of air flow – Aspire system and reversing of fridge coil

Evenness of temperatures throughout the stores

Energy use & storage costs

Respiration / weight loss – concepts and data from the University of Greenwich 'pod'.


New / existing PCN varieties in storage under WLS regime.

Speakers include Simon Faulkner, Richard Colgan, Adrian Cunnington, Roger Stones, Mark Taylor.


Hog roast lunch at Winters Lane site

  • Refreshments

  • View exhibitors' stands

  • Networking


Afternoon – option to visit satellite stores at Gedney Dyke, PE12 0AJ courtesy of S&S Pugh

  • 2 processing stores

  • Commercial crops for McCain

  • 2 storage strategies:

MH + DMN + Ethylene

MH + 1-MCP (ethylene blocker) + Ethylene.

Fry colour results for varieties from each storage regime.


MH results for commercial crops

Respiration information from the UoG pod

SmartStor equipment installed running one store

Insulation / airflow (closed system)

Carbon dioxide monitoring and flushing

Weight loss.

Exhibitors and partners:

  • AgroFresh - manufacturers of Smart Fresh (1-MCP) used as an ethylene blocker in processing storage

  • Branston - major supplier to Tesco and other markets

  • Biofresh/Safestore - suppliers of ethylene systems

  • Burgess Farms - major supplier to Waitrose

  • Certis Belchim - multinational agchem supplier including maleic hydrazide

  • CIPC Residue Monitoring Group - industry body seeking data on residues to keep stores compliant

  • Cornerstone Systems - storage control systems for multi-store sites including Winters Lane stores

  • Crop Systems - suppliers of storage buildings, ventilation/cooling and store control systems

  • Farm Electronics - storage and ventilation systems from Tolsma, global storage systems manufacturer

  • Frontier Agriculture - regional agronomy and agrochemical support

  • GB Potatoes - national membership organisation co-ordinating key industry initiatives

  • Greenwich University - research team working on post-harvest technological developments including respiration monitoring systems

  • HK Timbers - pallet box supplier

  • Hutchinsons - regional agchem supplier working with SDF Agriculture and Richard Austin Associates on agronomy trials (some of which were stored specially for this event)

  • McCain - multi-national potato processor

  • NFU Energy - advisors and technical specialists on energy use and optimisation

  • Potato Storage Insight - specialists on potato storage management and enhancement

  • Potato Storage Treatments - specialist applicator of post-harvest chemical treatments in potatoes

  • S&S Pugh - potato growers for multiple markets, including McCain

  • Restrain - producer and supplier of ethylene generation technology

  • SDF Agriculture - agronomy triallists and advisors to leading growers in packing and processing

  • UPL - multinational agchem supplier including maleic hydrazide (Fazor) and orange oil (Argos)

  • Welvent - suppliers of storage buildings, ventilation and cooling systems

  • Winters Lane Storage - South Lincolnshire grower co-operative supplying leading markets


Senescent sweetening: continue to monitor for optimal fry colour and avoid end of season quality drop

This month, don’t forget to keep a close eye on any stores that are still loaded. Whilst the priority is likely to be getting the next crop into the ground, remember that what’s still in store will also still need your attention at a time of year when crop condition can change quickly...

Senescent sweetening

As potatoes get older, they reach a point in storage - which varies appreciably by variety - when they can develop an irreversible form of sugar accumulation which can seriously compromise processing quality. This is known as senescent sweetening. Senescence is the tuber growing old; essentially, from a biological perspective, it has done its over-wintering job and it will be trying to convert starch to sugar to fuel new growth (even though you have stopped that growth using a chemical sprout suppressant).

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