Potato Grower

December 2018

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Page 16 of 63

of adequate air, can also result in blackspot and other potato damage. STOP DISEASE ORGANISM GROWTH Most common potato disease organisms increase their population growth at temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 degrees. Lower temperatures lower the possibility of disease incidence during storage. Since many of the common potato storage diseases naturally occur in the soil, they are transported into storage with the tubers. It is essential, therefore, to not only heal the exposed wound areas to minimize pathogen penetration, but also to lower the temperature as soon as possible after storing to minimize disease spread within infected tubers as well as from infected to sound tubers. This fact emphasizes the importance of careful harvesting and handling techniques to minimize bruising, skinning and cutting. If diseases or field frost damage are evident in tubers, rapid lowering of temperatures, even without the healing and curing period, may be necessary to prevent breakdown. However, do not store these damaged potatoes for long periods of time. AVOID RESPIRATION AND SPROUTING The potato tuber reacts like any living organism; respiration increases with increasing temperatures. When respiration increases, so does tuber weight loss. Since lower temperatures also maintain dormancy, temperatures need to be as low as possible without otherwise decreasing quality (e.g., sugar buildup in processing potatoes). For long storage periods of three to five months, depending on the variety, a sprout inhibitor is practical for potatoes not meant to be used for seed. 1963-32NationalPotatoCouncil12h.indd 1 10/1/18 8:52 AM WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 17

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