Good airflow is essential to potato storage facilities. A consistent climate is key to preventing potato diseases. Josh Brood of Techmark Inc, says growers should evaluate their existing structure based on five factors: location, structure, insulation, ventilation, and control system.
“Are you near a main trunk line or an easy path to a factory or packing shed? Are you located where there’s sufficient electrical power?” asked Brood. “Do you have a sound structure to protect the crop from weather and support the load of bulk potatoes? And are you able to make sure that the potatoes are kept dry and have the correct moisture within the facility?”
Airflow in your ventilation system is a function of its design, and air takes the path of least resistance. To determine where your air is going, it needs to be measured. Brood uses a hand-held anemometer to check air speed at each duct.
“Quantifying the flow of air through your bin will allow you to identify areas where redesigns could improve ventilation uniformity,” he said. “A poorly-designed ventilation system can cause air to be pulled from and directed to the wrong places in your bin. The result is non-uniform ventilation. We want to maintain proper potato temperatures, provide oxygen for respiration, and remove carbon dioxide from that respiration.”
So how much or often should the fan be running? Brood added that the fan shouldn’t be ran at less than 50 percent capacity because there might not be uniform ventilation.
To listen to his full presentation as part of the Michigan Potato Live Series, click here.