Before potato storage managers close up their storages this season and start the cooler air and humidity, they must first consider disease-control.
According to Walt Hardy of International Dioxide based in Norman, OK, growers using chlorine dioxide as a disease suppressant must keep their piles dry.
Hardy was misquoted in an article in the September issue of Potato Grower magazine. Hardy says good management practices should always be employed with the use of chlorine dioxide.
"We want to guard against an accumulation of liquid water which can be detrimental to storage. Therefore we recommend that the standard practice of ventilating the excess heat and moisture from the pile be continued."
Hardy added that once excess moisture is removed, then the normal use of the humidifying system could be employed, allowing for the dosing of chlorine dioxide. He said problems might arise if moisture is not removed from the tubers.
In past storage seasons when growers did not use disease-control products like chlorine dioxide, they used heavy doses of air to cool their potatoes. Many then used humidity to control tuber dehydration, especially when harvesting in dry, warm conditions.