North America: Top 5 potato storage diseases

Tubers infected with late blight. PHOTO: EUGENIA BANKSPotato growers are familiar with the expression ‘a potato storage is not a hospital’, which reflects the simple truth that diseased potatoes going into storage are not going to get better. It is essential that growers carefully monitor potatoes going into storage and keep a close eye on storage conditions to keep infections from spreading to maintain the value of their crop. It’s also important to understand that managing potato diseases in storage is both an art and a science. As Steven Johnson, crop specialist with the University of Maine, puts it: “Storage management is not just following general guidelines and recommendations. Every storage manager will be faced with situations requiring special management techniques and corrective measures. This is the art of potato storage management.” The top five storage diseases that require continuous vigilance during the storage period are: late blight; pink rot; Pythium leak; fusarium dry rot and soft rot. More