Managing temperature in potatoes to improve quality

Page last updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - 2:35pm

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Risky times for harvest

Harvest periods when there are greater risks of bruise and rot are:

  • January to April around Manjimup and Pemberton
  • September to October in Perth
  • October to December in Busselton and Myalup areas.

It will be particularly important to manage soil temperature if harvesting in these high risk periods.

Recommendations

To reduce potential damage to tubers:

  • Monitor soil temperature in potato crops in the warmest months with temperature probes or soil moisture monitoring units. The standard depth for soil temperature measurement is 10cm.
  • Manage soil temperature and moisture by applying irrigation before harvest if soil is too dry or tuber temperature is above 18°C. Enough water should be applied to sufficiently cool but not saturate the soil as this leads to increased risk of bacterial rots.
  • During summer months harvest at night or when soil temperatures are lower.

Further reading

The Potato Thermometer. Potatoes Australia February 2008 pp 16–17.

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

Author

Rachelle Johnstone

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