How to store potatoes for long after harvest.
Are you a potato farmer who has found himself in this situation:
- You’ve had a bumper harvest, you expect to make good profit, unfortunately you haven’t found buyers?
- Or the market prices are too low to make a profit? That you to need store your potatoes, for some time, for prices to improve?
If that describes you, then you are not alone.
Farmers around the world face these problems ALL the time.
They find that they can’t sell their potatoes as soon as they want.
The solution… store the potatoes, so that prices improve.
The good news is, “You are never going to worry those problems anymore.”
I am going to share with you amazing tricks…
…that will help you store potatoes for more than 8 months.
How To Avoid Potato Losses During Storage
Potatoes are highly perishable due to their high water content.
They are also sensitive to DIRECT sunlight.
When they are exposed to continuous sunlight, they turn green.
The exposure makes the potato produce a toxin known as solanin.
Potatoes containing this toxin can kill if eaten in large amounts.
When your potatoes turn green, it is an indication they already have the toxin.
Therefore can’t be used for planting or consumption.
For that reason proper storage of Potato is a TOP priority.
How to Store Your Potato Depends On Your Objectives…
- You may want to store part of your harvest to use as seed for planting.
- Or to store the excess harvest for food as you wait for prices to improve.
- Potatoes stored for food are known as WARE potatoes.
What is your your potato storage objective?
Whatever it is, am going to explain all the storage methods based on the two objectives.
How to Store Potato Seed for The next planting season
The role of seed storage is to have optimum growth of sprouts prior to planting.
To achieve this, Adopt the right pre and post-harvest treatment of the seed.
Harden the potatoes.
- Cut off the stems of patato plants at the base two weeks before harvest.
- This cutting reduces the loss moisture from the potatoes after harvest.
- Harvest your potatoes after the two weeks are over.
- Sort out potatoes immediately into two groups.
- Separate the big potatoes from the small potatoes.
- Use the ONLY egg sized potatoes as potato seed for the next season.
- Remove all the bruised potatoes. Diseases, rotting agents, and tuber weevils easily affect them.
- Furthermore, diseased potatoes may infect the good ones if stored together.
- After you follow the above steps, put the potatoes you’ve selected for seed in sisal bags.
- Place them on raised platforms. Putting them on a dry floor inside a rat proofed store is OK.
- Don’t store seed potatoes in synthetic bags. Sisal bags are the BEST as they allow the circulation of air.
- Alternatively, you can store them in net bags that allow sunlight and ventilation.
- Do not store potatoes in direct sunlight.
- Sunlight ,akes potaoes turn green, due to the production of solanin and cannot be used as seed or even for consumption.
The store should face an East-West direction to reduce the amount of light getting into the stores.
If you use an ordinary store, cover the seed potatoes with grass to help them sprout and to reduce the amount of light getting them.
Good seed potatoes should be:
- Well sprouted with a uniform sprout in all eyes.
- Potato sprouts should be at least 2 cm in length before transplanting.
Potatoes meant for seed shouldn’t be washed.
The water may be contaminated by bacteria or fungi—which may cause rotting.
How to Store Potatoes Meant for Eating (Ware Potatoes)
Potatoes meant for eating are known as ware potatoes.
To make them ready for storage, they have to go through a process known as curing.
Curing the potatoes is simply drying the potatoes at a temperature of 7-15 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 85-95% for 2 weeks.
Curing helps the potatoes develop thickened skins.
It also helps in the healing of any small wounds the potatoes may have had.
Once curing is done, ensure they aren’t exposed to the sun, rain or wind.
Next is to place the potatoes in bins or boxes.
Whether the potatoes are placed in bins, boxes or plastic trays the main consideration is air circulation.
For this reason, a slated plastic box is the best.
The atmosphere should have a high relative humidity the preferably 90%, temperatures should be between 15-20 degrees to allow slow respiration of the tubers.
Exposing tubers to light hastens sprouting and produces a green color or sunburn hence potatoes should be covered or shaded from light.
As the storage season advances, examine the potatoes from time to time.
If you observe sprouting, remove the sprout tubers and reject the damaged and diseased tubers.
The Use of Sawdust During the Storage of Potatoes
- Sort potatoes for storage by removing those that are bruised, those with tuber moth holes and those showing signs of rotting.
- Spread a thick layer of sawdust across the clean floor in the store.
- Then spread the potatoes on the sawdust to cover the potatoes. This method is able to extend shelf life for up to 5 months without any sign of damage.
- Using this method may benefit farmers to store their surplus potatoes until the market prices are favorable.
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