Planting is on the horizon in some areas and in full swing in others! After a frustratingly cool and slow spring in most potato-growing parts of Canada, most growers are finally now able to prep for planting and, in some cases, are already rolling into fields. Though your sights are undoubtedly on the growing season ahead, keep storage season – both the one almost past and the one to come – top of mind too.
You Worked Hard for Your Crop — Get It Through The Homestretch
Many growers still have at least some 2022 potatoes in storage. While it might be tempting to ignore them in the busyness of planting… don’t! As spring temperatures warm, stored tubers are particularly at risk of peeping, sprouting and breakdown. Things can happen fast.
Rescue products exist if sprouts appear. 1,4 ZAP, which offers 95 per cent burn-back, is proving among the most effective. Available in Canada for the past three years, 1,4ZAP has no scent issue and offers enhanced worker safety: no personal protective equipment is required in storage 24 hours after a custom thermal fogging application.
Plan now for the storage season that’ll start a handful of months from now. Tubers’ storability is influenced by every factor in the growing season, starting right from planting. The more stressed or pressured the mother plant is at any point (even if it appears to catch up or recover later in the season), the less storable its tubers will be. Jot quick notes about which acres undergo what stresses throughout the season. At planting, record which fields, zones or rows suffered excessive or inadequate moisture, which featured cold soils, which were planted earliest and latest. Where possible at harvest, sort storages, work in flexibility, and plan shipping based on the cumulative stresses your tubers have withstood. Higher-stress acres may fare best with shorter-term storage.
Now is also a good time to start thinking about storage inputs. 1,4SIGHT is the only true dormancy enhancer available on the market today. Based on a synthetically produced version of a hormone that naturally occurs in potatoes, 1,4SIGHT triggers enzymes in the potato that keep the tuber in a resting state. Applied right at bin close-up and/or throughout the storage season, 1,4SIGHT maximizes salable yield by reducing water loss, promoting overall tuber health and reducing the opportunity for pathogens to attack and spread. 1,4Sight is a workhorse every year but shines especially in more challenging storage seasons by quieting stressed tubers that would otherwise suffer early sprout and/or loss to disease.
The Importance of Potatoes’ “Second Season”
Ultra-early Sprouting is a Storage Nightmare