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Browsing articles by Duane Gorman

Preparation Matters: Get Your Storage Ready for Harvest

With harvest season looming, it’s time to make sure your storage facilities will support rather than compromise your tuber quality. Start with inspection. Ideally, any major issues or necessary repairs were identified and rectified when last year’s stored product was removed from storage this spring. If not, repairs must be priority one. Besides fixing obvious issues that could let in pests, moisture, cold and pathogens, check for loose insulation or metal, as…

Climate Change, Cover Crops and Carbon Credits

The benefits of cover crops to soil health and, consequently, farm productivity are well discussed and widely known among scientists and farmers alike. Increasing soil’s organic carbon through cover cropping reduces erosion, fixes atmospheric nitrogen, reduces nitrogen leaching, improves soil health and structure, and increases soil’s water holding capacity. Cover crops can also make farms more resilient to extreme weather events associated with climate change. But, cover crops do much more than…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Sugar: Good for Tuber Survival, Not So Good for French Fries!

A tuber’s complicated sugar storage mechanism is designed to maximize survival through dormancy and support successful growth the following spring. To translate that mechanism into something that best suits potato production priorities, producers must first understand how sugars develop and change through tuber growth and dormancy. Potato plants produce sucrose via photosynthesis. This sucrose is transported to tubers where it is converted into fructose and glucose and eventually into starch. The process…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Tuber Dormancy: One of Nature’s More Ingenious Survival Designs

Potato tubers’ physiological and biochemical ability to rest dormant through the cold, unfavourable growing conditions of winter is a unique and highly effective biological advantage. Surviving conditions that would relegate other high-moisture crops to mush doesn’t only benefit tubers, however:  dormancy offers growers and consumers the practical advantage that tubers can be stored for many months with or without sprout suppression. Dormancy is the physiological state during which tubers are unable to…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Pre-planting Care of Seed Potatoes Can Make All the Difference

Storing and prepping seed potatoes well is a vital investment in the success of your coming year’s crop. Throughout dormancy, seed should be stored between 37-39°F/3-4°C and at 90-95% relative humidity. Several weeks prior to planting, however, growers should begin to think about pre-planting seed preparation. Seed must be warmed prior to cutting and planting to avoid shatter bruise, to help break dormancy and to accelerate crop emergence. Warming seed also helps…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Successfully Storing Problem Potatoes

Storing hot or cold, wet or disease-infected potatoes is challenging but, with the right care and attention, possible. First, know your risk: wet tubers combined with disease infection is a dangerous combination. Wet tubers combined with disease pressure and high temperature is deadly. Second, manage airflow. Uniform airflow is absolutely critical to managing all tubers, especially problem potatoes. Wet soil and broken-down tubers will limit airflow through those sections of the pile….

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Prepping Problem Potatoes For Long-Term Storage

For the best chance of long-term storage success, potato tubers at harvest should be dry, disease free, and uniformly 48 to 60°F. Reality is rarely so kind, however. A wide variety of field and environmental factors often contribute to tubers entering storage in less than ideal condition. Tubers can be wet, infected with disease and/or too hot or too cold. In some cases, daily and hourly temperature fluctuations mean over-warm and over-cold…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Storage 101: Why Humidity Matters

Maintaining proper humidity in one’s bin or shed is a critical component of tuber storage. The first step towards achieving that goal is understanding the somewhat complicated science of air moisture. The total amount of moisture in air is termed air’s absolute humidity. Equally important in potato storage is relative humidity (RH): the amount of moisture held in air at a specific temperature, expressed as a per cent of the maximum amount…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Ventilating Correctly After Cool Down Pays Off

Adequate ventilation, done in order to manage the by-products of respiration and maintain a uniform pile temperature, is critical to managing one’s potato pile through long-term storage. Yet, over-ventilation can cause significant quality and weight loss, as well as increasing power consumption unnecessarily. Potato tubers oxidize glucose in their mitochondria to produce the nutrients that keep them viable through dormancy. This process of respiration produces significant heat, moisture and carbon dioxide as…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Optimal Tuber Cooling a Key Step Towards Successful Pile Management

Harvest is complete, your crop is in storage and the November skies are threatening snow. As fall turns into winter, your tubers’ respiration is slowing as they prepare for dormancy. Once your potato crop is dry, suberization is complete, and – in the case of processing varieties – colour is achieved, turn your attention to cooling your tubers to an optimal storage temperature so your crop holds its value through the months…

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