Lorraine MacKinnon, PEI potato industry coordinator with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, says it’s not a nice position to be in now to start contemplating potential issues going forward with storage after a difficult harvest. MacKinnon created a checklist for producers to use during their daily warehouse visits that help identify symptoms of larger problems. Storage problems are better tackled sooner rather than later.
MacKinnon encourages producers to be diligent in monitoring their storage daily:
- Is there condensation on the walls, ceiling or on the top of the pile?
- Are there depressions in the pile?
- Are there fruit flies?
- Is there a foul odour (like ammonia)?
- Is there water on the floor?
- Are there rotten potatoes in the pile (three per cent or more; or an increase over time)?
- Are there air flow leaks in/out of the building (intakes, doors)?
- Are there any obstructions in air flow?
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, immediate action must be taken. More subtle storage issues can be detected by taking daily and accurate readings of conditions in your warehouse. Keeping a log of these will help you notice changes that could signal problems in the bin.