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PSI Bulletin: September 2023

No. 9/23 SUBSCRIBER EDITION: please go to to sign up

Welcome to September's Synopsis, PSI's update of the latest news, technical content and information from the world of potato storage.

September is a big month for most of us as we embark on another crop's journey with stores being loaded and a full season's work ahead of us. So, this month's Best Practice slot is looking at how to get everything right to minimise risk and maximise returns from that new storage season. Our Technical Insight feature has information about sprout suppression options which we plan to expand upon as we head through the early winter months.

Recent weeks have seen some drier and definitely warmer conditions coming into play on the back of a pretty wet period. But the heavy showers are still around and the combination of warm and wet conditions increases risk for crops going into storage.

Variability appears to be high between crops and, in some cases, within crops in individual fields which always adds a layer of extra challenge for store managers.

Managing diseases and defects will be a key element of pre-harvest management and store managers will need to be on the lookout for problems such as hollow heart which are expected to be a product of some of the very large and green canopies that have persisted into the autumn.

There is a consensus that rots will also be present this harvest so please be vigilant for blackleg and blight in particular (these have been reported quite widely in recent weeks) whilst there is also potential for issues such as dry rot, pink rot and watery wound rot to be around depending on local temperatures and moisture status prior to (and at) harvest. For assistance on disease ID, please go to the AHDB archive or speak to Adrian on 07970 072260.


Caythorpe Potato Breeders Days

PSI ventured over to Sleaford to this event at the end of August to catch up on some of the developments from the breeding companies.

It was good to see some positive attributes in the new stocks for addressing some of the major current 'issues' such as PCN resistance and, in the same way, it was encouraging to see some seed-houses (not all) making a play of new varieties' dormancy and storage capabilities (above and right).

This is something that has often been pretty low in the selection 'pecking order' but, with ever-increasing storage costs and less effective chemistry available for use in store, we need the back up of good genetic traits to tackle some of the basic challenges facing today's producers.

Vegetable Farmer

Adrian Cunnington (right) featured in the September edition of Vegetable Farmer, in an article entitled 'Getting the most from the currently available sprout suppressants'.

You can find more details on the article on the PSI website here:

Or read on to see our Technical Insight feature for more on early use of sprout suppressants,

BP2023 seminars

A reminder that we will be a contributor to the seminar programme which will return at this year's BP2023 event, The show is again being held at the Great Yorkshire Showground site in Harrogate on 22 & 23 November.

The storage seminar is on Day 1. PSI's Adrian Cunnington will be speaking on energy efficient management of stores and will also chair the session on optimising use of sprout suppressants featuring an expert panel of Jeff Beever (McCain), Gary Collins (PI) and Richard Baines (LWM). Tickets can now be booked via the event website and registration is FREE.

BEST PRACTICE for September/October

Are your crops ready to store?

Around my area in south Lincs, I am seeing a lot of crops at various stages of desiccation (below) and the concern at the start of lifting is that crops are only harvested when they have sufficiently 'set' skins to withstand handling.

The tried and tested 'thumb test' is still a decent way of assessing skin suitabillity.

If the harvesting process starts to remove the skin to any significant degree, that is bad news. Curing is not a substitute for the loss of tuber skin and, if crops are lifted too soon, they will lose moisture readily and be at much greater risk of infection. They may also be more vulnerable to damage from early application of sprout suppressants (see Technical Insight).

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