Free water on storage floors is probably due to a common disease problem, Pythium leak, says Ontario’s potato specialist Eugenia Banks in her latest update.
The Pythium fungus is widely distributed in soils. It can’t penetrate tubers directly, Banks explains, but can infect through bruises and wounds that occur at harvest. Rotting tissues release a clear, non-smelly liquid when tubers are pressed.
Unfortunately, Banks continues, there are no products available to control leak in the field or in storage. Banks suggests that maintaining a relative humidity of less than 95 per cent should reduce disease development, but low humidity will increase tuber shrink. “It’s a no win situation!,” Banks exclaims.
However, Banks refers to Lorraine MacKinnon’s daily storage checklist to stay ahead of any problems.
According to Banks as of October 22, the potato harvest in Ontario was not complete yet. Rainy weather stalled progress, but harvest is expected to wrap up within seven to 10 days. “The good news is that storages are holding well,” Banks adds.
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