A docuemnt by Frank Ward outlining the reasons behend and methods of storing potatoes.
WHY STORE AT ALL?
A valid question to ask at this stage is why store. For many of us this question can be answered with “Because I have to!”. Simply there is no market when the potatoes are harvested. However, many people do not store, many will sell the entirety of the crop off at harvest and shed the risk of keeping the crop. However the effect of every one attempting to sell their crop immediately would be to flood the market and a dramatic depression in prices. It is therefore essential that a large proportion of the crop is stored, to flatten out the supply curve in order to meet the demand curve. Those growing for the processing market have in the past been able to move the crop to the processor who would store it until ready to use it. There is a tendency for many processors now is to shed their own risks and to hand the storage back to the farmer. This may pose problems for some of us as it does require capital investment and yet another management task. However there can be significant benefits for those who can store, enabling you to control the stage at which you sell your crop onto the market and hence the possibility of higher prices at the latter end of the season as the non store potatoes start to run out. There are of course costs involved in such storage, which must be weighed against the benefits achieved from the higher prices. There is also the added excitement of speculating on the market in order to achieve the best prices and avoid the danger of the market collapsing beneath you.