Improve potato quality by minimising mechanical damage

Page last updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 - 8:41am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Recommendations

  • Manage soil temperature and moisture by irrigating before harvest if soil is too dry or tuber temperature is above 18°C. See Manage temperature in potatoes to improve quality.
  • Minimise bruising by keeping conveyors full of potatoes. Increasing ground speed by shifting the tractor transmission to a higher gear can speed up harvest, increase and smooth out the flow of tubers through the harvester and reduce tuber damage.
  • Ensure the speeds of individual conveyors are matched to the speed of the preceding or following conveyor.
  • Assess harvesting equipment and identify high impact areas with an instrumented sphere. Modify equipment accordingly.
  •  Lower the number and energy of impacts. Avoid excessive drop heights. Keep drop heights on harvesting equipment and bin filling to less than 40cm to prevent blackspot and shatter bruising.
  •  Use cushioning material where possible. Adding cushioning and removing steel at transfers can reduce impacts and related damage.
  •  Be aware of varietal susceptibility to bruising. Some varieties are more tolerant than others and machinery and operations should be set up accordingly.

Acknowledgments

This work was undertaken as part of the Horticulture Australia Ltd project PT06047 Improving the visual and internal quality of WA ware potatoes to meet consumer needs, managed by Western Potatoes Pty Ltd.

Contact information

Peter Dawson
+61 (0)8 9892 8461