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“Hollow heart” in potatoes is a physiological disorder that manifests as a hollow cavity or hole in the center of the tuber, often resulting in reduced quality and market value. While it’s not a disease, hollow heart can be a significant concern for both growers and consumers. Addressing this issue involves implementing good agricultural practices and taking specific measures to reduce the incidence of hollow heart in potatoes:

1. Adequate Nutrition and Water Management:

  • Ensure balanced nutrient levels, especially calcium, in the soil to support overall tuber development and prevent physiological disorders like hollow heart.
  • Maintain consistent and adequate irrigation to avoid water stress, which can contribute to hollow heart formation.

2. Proper Soil Preparation and Management:

  • Ensure proper soil pH and structure for optimal root and tuber development.
  • Avoid compaction and maintain good soil aeration to support healthy tuber growth.

3. Genetic Selection and Seed Quality:

  • Choose potato varieties with lower susceptibility to hollow heart.
  • Source high-quality seed potatoes from reputable suppliers to reduce the risk of hollow heart development.

4. Temperature Management:

  • Maintain appropriate temperatures during tuber development, avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations, which can contribute to hollow heart.

5. Harvest Timing and Handling:

  • Harvest potatoes at the appropriate maturity stage to minimize the risk of hollow heart.
  • Handle potatoes carefully during harvest to prevent damage that could lead to hollow heart.

6. Moisture and Watering Practices:

  • Manage moisture levels carefully, avoiding excessive irrigation followed by dry periods, as this can contribute to hollow heart development.

7. Post-Harvest Storage:

  • Store potatoes under appropriate conditions, including proper humidity and temperature, to minimize the risk of hollow heart development during storage.

8. Regular Monitoring and Assessment:

  • Monitor your potato crop regularly during growth and development to detect signs of stress, diseases, or disorders like hollow heart.
  • Implement corrective measures promptly based on observations and assessments.

9. Integrated Pest Management (IPM):

  • Implement IPM strategies to control pests and diseases that may indirectly contribute to hollow heart by weakening the plants or tubers.

Addressing hollow heart in potatoes involves a holistic approach, combining proper crop management practices, attention to soil and nutrient requirements, and careful handling throughout the growing season. Collaboration with agricultural experts and professionals can also provide valuable insights and guidance in mitigating this issue effectively.

Talk to your OMEX representative today to learn more about the causes of hallow heart in vegetable and root crops and how to prevent it in your production.