Potato Solutions has said doubts remain about the state of the potatoes yet to be lifted following recent “torrential rainfall”.

The independent potato storage consultancy said that, although the bulk of UK potatoes have been harvested and stored in favourable conditions, there are doubts that the remaining 10% yet to be harvested will reach the same level of quality.

Tim Kitson of Potato Solutions said: “The growing season this year has been very variable, swinging between wet and hot conditions.

“However, the warm ambient weather most parts of the country have experienced in early autumn means that most crops have gone into store dry and in good condition.

“The crop still in the field will pose the biggest challenge once it is lifted. Some areas have got on better than others, but I would estimate that 10% is still to be harvested”.

Potato Solutions said stores are being closely monitored for the first signs of a break in dormancy before the first in-store sprout control treatments are applied.

Kitson said he is still determining how the potatoes will react now they are stored.

“The seed crops from which this year’s crop originated were exposed to a lot of heat stress in the summer of 2022″, he said.

“I am unsure if this will influence the daughter crop. Generally, Fazor (maleic hydrazide) was applied in good conditions. We need to sit, wait and review.

“The first application will tend to be Argos (orange oil) for shorter-term stores. If the crop is planned to be stored longer, we will probably start with DMN. The important thing is to remain flexible”.

Weather conditions

Kitson said that, with the weather stopping harvest for a while, some customers are unloading stores that they did not plan to.

“I had one store where we were preparing to apply Argos but had to cancel it at the last minute”, he said.

“The farmer needed to unload the store to meet demand because supplying freshly harvested crops is impossible right now”.

Since the loss of chlorpropham (CIPC), building a season-long sprout control programme has become much more complicated, Potato Solutions said.