Current weather forecasts predict that rain and unsettled conditions are likely as we move into the autumn, and this may create challenges for growers with concerns about potato storage and disease control this season.
Store cleanliness and hygiene should also be top priority for growers before harvest.
“I can’t stress enough the value of ensuring the correct preparation has been put in pre-season, and that stores have been cleaned thoroughly to remove any debris or dust that can harbour fungal spores,” explains Morley Benson, key account manager at Certis.
In line with ongoing product stewardship, new CIPC application rates have also come into effect this year, which means consideration will have to be given to tighter product control, in addition to managing crops following a potentially wet harvest this year.
“We would always recommend treating before any signs of sprouting, the earlier the better. With sprout control, prevention is always better than cure.
“The first application of CIPC is critical, so this means as early as three weeks after harvest for some, or at the earliest opportunity thereafter, as once tubers break dormancy it is difficult to regain adequate control.
“Before going into store, make sure the crop is as dry as possible, and has cured before treatment. This is important to minimise skin damage and reduce the risk of storage diseases.
“Growers will also need to pay careful attention to tubers in store - frequently looking out for any signs of dormancy break is important,” he urges.
“Continued control and management of stores is a must – this includes temperature and ventilation. Keeping stores cool will reduce the sprouting risk, but the perfect temperature does depend on the variety and target market.”
CIPC recirculation in-store will also be a key area of focus. Additional statutory measures are likely to be introduced in 2017/18 requiring active air recirculation as a statutory section of the label.
“Good active recirculation of CIPC can ensure a better overall coverage of the suppressant, reducing the risk of residues. It will also ensure maximum efficacy at the new lower dose rates. Store modifications such as variable frequency drives and the creation of plenums can help achieve more positive airflow through the crop.
“Whichever is the storage method of choice, ultimately, growers will need to ensure their crop is in the best possible condition before being stored, and before treatment” Morley concludes.