For over 50 years the potato industry has relied on the chemical CIPC to control sprouting and potato quality in storage. However, CIPC has now been withdrawn in the UK.
The range of alternatives not only are less effective but also require precise control of storage conditions. This is challenging because environmental conditions can vary significantly within a store and the requirements of the crop also change over time. This variation can result in reduced shelf life, quality issues, and waste. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that most potato stores rely on fixed wired sensor technology for monitoring, with inherent drawbacks in terms of cost, accuracy and flexibility.
Ceres translational funding is supporting the development and commercial testing of a low cost multi-sensor system to monitor the environmental parameters within potato stores, allowing fast remote optimisation of the storage conditions.
This sensor technology will provide growers with an easy to use potato store management system that will help to reduce waste and quality issues, as well as enabling growers to improve the energy efficiency of their stores. It will also have longer term environmental benefits by reducing food waste and improving the carbon footprint of potato storage.