The accumulative impact of Idaho’s hot days, combined with warm evenings that failed to cool down, could result in blackspot bruising early in the harvest season, according to a recent study.
The Idaho Potato Commission sponsored a study warning Idaho growers of preventative measures to avoid blackspot bruising of potatoes during the early harvest period.
The study, published by University of Idaho potato researchers Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen, cited the crop’s “extreme differences in maturity” in the first week of September as a reason of concern for blackspot bruising.
“This first part of the harvest season has been pretty warm and so again we’re just trying to make guys aware to be checking your fields and make sure they don’t get too dry,” Thornton said last week while conducting a harvest study in Bingham County.
“Water conditions have been good all summer long because of the heavy snowfall we had last year,” Thornton said. “I think the reservoir situation and the water supply is good. It’s a matter of just paying attention to soil moisture from time of vine kill up until you get ready to harvest to make sure the potatoes don’t get dehydrated because when that happens, they get susceptible to black spot bruise.”
Thornton said that dehydration under the recent dry conditions of the soil results in faster deterioration with the age of the tuber.
He said that growers also should look at every transition point where they handle potatoes, minimize the drop distance of the potato and cushion the drop with either something soft or another potato.