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More expertise needed for potato storage 2020

Tjaart Hofman, Certis Europe's Portfolio Development Manager Europe, writes for Potato World of the challenges to be faced in potato storage in 2020

A few years ago, I was one of the speakers at a seminar in the UK under the title “Storage 2020”. At that time, the main objective was to reduce CIPC inputs and avoid MRL exceedances. Several speakers highlighted how to optimize air flows during CIPC fogging in order to ensure the product reaches all parts of the store. In the UK more than 50 % of all potatoes for the processing industry are stored in box stores. Most of these stores lack a positive ventilation system resulting in poor sprout suppressant distribution. Other speakers were presenting “new” sprout suppressants, like 14Sight, Biox-M, SmartBlock and Restrain.

That seminar seems ages ago, but the lessons learned from the investments made by AHDB for the UK potato industry on CIPC, are now becoming valuable for the use of alternative sprout suppressants. We have entered the year 2020, CIPC is dead, although it left a legacy in once treated stores…

With the use of new sprout suppressants, storing potatoes for 4 – 8 months will require much more craftsmanship. In past years, many store managers treated their potatoes with CIPC during store loading, switched on the storage computer and then worried again in spring about the condition of the potatoes. A drastic change of attitude will be required and very frequent inspections necessary when using new sprout suppressants.

Some of the major challenges will be: investments in layout and design of box stores for better air distribution; make bulk stores less leaky; managing store climate during the 48 hours closure required by several products without venting with outside air;  also consideration of investments in safer application equipment.   

At Certis, over the past 20 years, we tested new sprout suppressants extensively and developed a vast knowledge base to serve the European potato industry with robust advice on long term potato storage. We challenge all store managers to build up the same expertise urgently. We are there to support you.

Tjaart Hofman

Portfolio Development Manager Europe