Cold Weather Best Harvest Practices

Published online: Sep 30, 2019 Articles Mike Thornton, UI Southwest Idaho R&E Centers
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Generally, as tuber temperature increases, less bruise occurs. Temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit are considered to be best for harvesting and handling tubers. Temperatures above 65 degrees are considered undesirable because of the increased risk of tuber decay in storage.

Tuber temperature and susceptibility to bruising are influenced by the time of day tubers are harvested. In the fall, low early-morning soil temperatures result in the highest amount of bruise. In mid-afternoon, higher soil and potato tuber temperatures reduce tuber damage.

Soil temperatures in individual fields may vary from regional soil temperatures due to soil water and organic matter content, soil texture, slope, aspect, and localized environmental factors. Soil or tuber temperatures in a specific field are important considerations in deciding the best time to harvest potatoes.