Carrot field storage

By Steve Roberts 01 Sep 2015

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Strawed carrots crops

UK industry practice is to store carrots for winter / spring marketing in-situ, typically covered with a thick layer of straw (+/- polythene) to provide insulation against frost damage during the winter and to prevent warming and re-growth in the spring. However, the sustainability of field storage using straw (+/- polythene) is becoming increasingly challenged: due to the increasingly high cost and volatile supply of the large quantities of straw required; and also due to agronomic concerns such as nitrogen lock-up and weed issues. Consequently, carrot growers urgently need to examine and evaluate alternative options to current in-situ field storage practice. A previous project, (FV398a), identified inefficiencies (in terms of insulative value) in the current straw-based systems, some possible mis-conceptions, and alternative systems and materials that could have equivalent or better insulative value to the current system. However, estimates of insulative value of current and alternative systems were theoretical. This project will begin practical investigations of the current and alternative systems by (a) validation of the theoretical insulative values for alternative materials and their effect on crop quality and (b) investigate the requirements for practical implementation of alternative systems. AHDB Project no. FV 398b