Developments in Automated Potato Storage Management


Potato is a major staple food around the world; some of this production requires storage. The need for storage is largely driven by climatic conditions which dictate when the crop should be planted and harvested. The objective of potato storage is always to keep the crop in its best possible condition throughout, limiting inputs and interventions to those that achieve this aim, whilst minimizing losses and wastage. Increasingly, the storage techniques used to provide a consistent supply of potatoes to meet demand have to be sustainable. This focus on efficiency is important as cost pressures increase. Strategically, for those who are now without CIPC in Europe, the loss of chemistry has re-focused their approach to storage. It is now necessary to consider the wider impact of multiple factors on storage.’Genotype x environment’ interactions need to be better understood now that a major non-specific control (CIPC sprout suppressant) is not available. This genetic base is crucial to provide a good starting point with new varieties. Better natural dormancy and improved low temperature tolerance will reduce the need for chemical solutions and lower the risk from acrylamide. Risk must be understood better to forecast potato performance in store so crops can be identified in advance as having better prospects of delivering markets’ needs. Having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool like CIPC allowed industry to lose sight of the holistic challenges of sustainability. The pace of development of storage solutions slowed, and it was easier to take a simple — but flawed — approach that relied on a single solution. Now that CIPC is no longer there, the European storage industry has some re-focusing and catching up to do.