Title: Preliminary report on the Florida phase of the southern regional project SM5 "spoilage in marketing early Irish potatoes"
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Title: Preliminary report on the Florida phase of the southern regional project SM5 "spoilage in marketing early Irish potatoes"
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Full Text







February, 1949


Agricultural 'ge Series No. 49-4
Preliminary Report Not for Publication


PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE FLORIDA PHASE
OF THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL PROJECT SMV
"SPOILAGE IN MARKETING EARLY IRISH POTATOES"





by

R. E. L. Greene
Agricultural Economist,

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Department of Agricultural Economics,
Gainesville, Florida






Report of a study in wnich certain phases were carried
on under the Research & Marketing Act of 1946


This Project is Conducted
In cooperation with the Agricultural Experiment
Stations of Alabama, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Virginia, Bureau of Agricultural
Economics and Bureau of Plant Industry of the
United States Department of Agriculture, the
Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency and the
Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau.








SPOILAGE IN MARKETING EARLY IRISH POTATOES


TABLE OF CONTENTS


FOREWORD

SUMMARY


INTRODUCTION . . . . .

PURPOSE OF REPORT . . . . .

METHOD OF STUDY . . . . .
Collection of Information at the Shipping Point ..
Collection of Information at the Terminal Market .
Examination of Samples of Potatoes . .

NUMBER AND DESTINATION OF TEST SHIPMENTS . .

SUMMARY OF GROWING AND SHIPPING CONDITIONS IN 1948 .
Dade County . . . .. . .
Hastings Area . . .. .

PRACTICES IN HARVESTING, GRADING AND PACKING POTATOES BY
COOPERATING SHIPPERS IN AREAS STUDIED IN 19L8 .
Number and Type of Cooperating Shippers . .
Temperature and Relative Humidity during the Harvest
Period . . . . . .
Harvesting .... . . . .
Variety and Age of Potatoes . .
Defoliation . . . .
Soil Temperature at Digging . .
Time between Digging and Picking up Potatoes .
Time between Picking up ahd Hauling Potatoes from


the Field . . .
Time Required to Haul Potatoes t
house . .
Grading and Packing .. . .
Time Spent in the Packinghouse b
Temperature of the Potatoes .

SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF TEST SHIPMENTS .
Grade Out Records of Test Lots .
Temperature of Potatoes in Transit .
Loss in Weight of Test Shipments .
Summary of Inspection of Samples .
Estimated Skinning . .
Cuts and Bruises . ..
Bacterial Soft Rot . ..
Browning .. . .
Scald Spots . ....
Miscellaneous Defects .

CONCLUSIONS ,. . . .


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APPENDIX .. . . . . .


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FOREWORD


The five Southeastern States of Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North
Carolina and Virginia in cooperation with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics
and the Bureau of Plant Industry of the United States Department of Agricul-
ture, the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency and the Western Weighing and
Inspection Bureau are conducting research under the Research and Marketing
Act on Spoilage in Marketing Early Irish Potatoes. (Sub-project 2 of the
original regional research project "Marketing Early Irish Potatoes".) This
work is being carried on under a Regional Advisory Committee on Marketing
Early Irish Potatoes. Members of the committee are:

H. M. Love, Chairman, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station
H. N. Young, Administrative Advisor, Virginia Agricultural Experiment
Station
A. H. Eddins, Plant Pathologist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
0. C. Stine, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, United States Department
of Agriculture
D. F. Fisher, Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of
Agriculture
C. V. Noble, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Ben F. Alvord, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
G. H. Aull, South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station
G. U. Forster, North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station

Preliminary work was begun in 1947 in North Carolina and Virginia to try
out schedules and procedures for obtaining the necessary information. Work
was carried on in all cooperating states in 1948. The marketing of potatoes
was followed from the time they began to move in volume from Florida until
the deal was over in Virginia. Arrangements were made with cooperating ship-
pers in the principal potato producing area for following test lots of
potatoes from the time they were dug in the field until they reached the
terminal market and in some cases to the retail store, A research team
composed of men from the various states, followed the movement from state to
state and collected certain information on harvesting, grading and marketing
practices.

Mr. J. M. Johnson of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was
project leader and was responsible for coordinating all phases of the work.
Each state supplied a state leader to work with the project in his state.
Mr. L. J. Kushman of the Bureau of Plant Industry was Physiologist with the
field crew and was responsible for the collection and examination of repre-
sentative samples of potatoes from each test shipment at the shipping poiht.
Representatives of the Bureau of Plant Industry also collected and examined
special marked bags of potatoes in test shipments that went to New York or
Chicago. Inspectors of the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency or the
Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau made an inspection of test cars that
went to markets other than New York or Chicago.

This report is prepared to give a summary of results obtained from
test shipments in Florida in 1948.







SUMMARY


The five Southeastern states of Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North
Carolina and Virginia are engaged in a cooperative research study under the
Research and Marketing Act to determine:
1. Factors now causing spoilage in marketing early Irish potatoes;
2. The extent of damage caused by various factors;
3. Economic losses resulting from the various type and severity of
spoilage; and
4. .,ays and means of reducing spoilage.
These states are being assisted by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Bureau
of Agricultural Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture, the
Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency, the western n Ieighing and Inspection
Bureau, and cooperating shippers, receivers, and farmers in various potato
producing areas.

Test lots of potatoes were followed from the time they were dug in the
field, through the grading and packing shed, to the terminal market, and in
some cases through retail stores in New York City. Records were obtained on
weather conditions at time of harvesting, production practices prior to dig-
ging, time of digging, and method of handling the potatoes both in the field
and the grading and packing process. A series of duplicate 25 pound repre-
sentative samples were collected from each lot at three points in the digging
and grading process to measure extent and place of damage occurring. A
special bag was marked in each lot and the condition of the potatoes in this
bag was checked when the shipment reached the terminal market.

Areas studied in 1948 in Florida were Dade County and the Hastings area.
Seventy-four test lots were sent out from Dade County and 61 test lots from
the Hastings area. Fifty-six of the test lots went to the New York City area,
25 to Chicago and the others were scattered over 26 different markets.

The 1948 potato season in Florida was characterized by very unfavorable
weather during the planting and early part of the growing season. This was
followed by favorable weather during the remainder of the growing season and
very favorable weather during the harvest period. For the most part, the yield
and the quality of the crop was good and demand was strong during most of the
shipping period. Losses from spoilage and other factors were less than normal.

Practices in producing and harvesting potatoes in Florida vary from area
to area depending on location, type of soil, variety, individual grower,
shipper, etc. Production practices are almost completely mechanized. In Dade
County, most of the potatoes are picked up and handled in bushel size field
boxes. In the Hastings area, old potato and used fertilizer bags are used for
field containers. The potatoes are picked up in one-half bushel wire baskets
and two baskets are placed in a bag. In both areas, practically all of the
potatoes are washed, graded and packed at modern packinghouses before they are
shipped to market. lost of the potatoes are dried with hot air after being
washed. A few packers attempt to dry their potatoes by blowing cold air over
them with fans. Only a relatively few potatoes are packed without any attempt
being made to dry them.
Work was carried on with four cooperating shippers in both Dade County
and the Hastings area. Of the 74 test lots sent out from Dade County, 43 were
of the Bliss Triumph variety, 30 rontiac and one Dakota Chief Pontiac. Fifty-
nine of the test lots from the Hastings area were of the Sebago variety and










two were Pontiac. The average age of test lots from Dade County was 106 days
as compared to 96 days from the Hastings area. Vines were killed by chemicals
on 57 of the lots sent out from Dade County. This practice was not used by
any growers in the Hastings area. An average of 8.5 days elapsed between
defoliation and digging.

On the average, 27 minutes elapsed between digging and picking up potatoes
in Dade County and 10 minutes in the Hastings area. In Dade County, the
potatoes were hauled out of the field, on.the average, 100 minutes after they
were dug but in the Hastings area they were allowed to remain in the field 26h
minutes before they were hauled out. It required l minutes in Dade County and
28 minutes in the Hastings area to carry the potatoes from the field to the
packing shed. In Dade County, the potatoes were held in the packing shed an
average of 28.6 hours before they were graded. In the Hastings area, they
were held only 3.5 hours before being graded.

The temperature of the potatoes in Dade Gounty averaged 80.80F. and in the
Hastings area 78.90F. when they arrived at the shed. The potatoes from Dade
County lost several degrees of heat while being held in the packing shed. The
temperature of the potatoes that were dried with hot air increased an average
of four degrees in Dade County and 2.6 degrees in the Hastings area in the
washing and drying process. Potatoes that were fan dried dropped two to three
degrees during the washing and fanning process. The temperature of the
potatoes in transit was obtained by the use of Ryan recording thermometers for
18 cars from each area. potatoes from Dade County, packed in nonperforated
paper bags stacked tightly in the cars, travelled much warmer than potatoes in
burlap bags from the Hastings area.. Although the temperature at the time of
shipment was about the same, potatoes from Dade County did not get as low as
70oF. until the fourth day out, while shipments from the Hastings area reached
700F. within 24 to 36 hours after loading.
Potatoes in Dade County were handled with only about three percent of the
total skin being removed in the entire handling process as compared to 3l
percent in the Hastings area. Factors affecting skinning were maturity, defo-
liation and method of handling. In the Sebago variety, skinning amounted to
42 percent for potatoes averaging 88 days old compared to 22 percent for
potatoes that averaged 103 days old. Skinning decreased in both the Bliss
Triumph and Pontiac varieties as age at digging increased.

Bacterial soft rot amounting to one percent or more was found in 46 per-
cent of the special bags examined at the terminal market in test lots sent out
from Dade County but in only six percent of the bags did it amount to this
much from the Hastings area. The amount of soft rot was greater in lots
containing cut and bruised potatoes although there was no direct relation
between amount of cuts and bruises and amount of soft rot.

In the Red Bliss variety, 71 percent of the special bags inspected at the
terminal market showed more than one percent soft rot in comparison with only
27 percent for the Pontiac variety and six percent for the Sebago variety.
Although the Sebago variety contained very little soft rot at the terminal
market, 64 percent contained potatoes that developed soft rot infection around
the lenticels. These areas usually dried out before the potatoes reached the
market and the soft rot stopped. ihis condition often resulted in dark sunken
areas that gave the potatoes an unattractive appearance and in severe cases
caused rejection by the buyer.









Only about four percent of the potatoes by weight from Dade County
showed browning upon arrival at the terminal market. This amount increased
to about six percent when the potatoes were held five days. Ten percent
of the potatoes from the Hastings area showed browning Then they reached
the terminal market. During the five day holding period, browning increased
until 42 percent of the potatoes were affected. Browning was associated
with variety, amount of skinning and in some cases, age at digging. In
the Sebago variety, every lot showed browning at the end of the five day
holding period in the terminal market. This compared with 66 percent of
the lots for the Pontiac variety, and only 43 percent for the Red Bliss
variety. In the Red Bliss variety, in the lots affected, only one percent
of the potatoes showed browning, compared to 14 percent in the Pontiac
variety and 42 percent in the Sebago variety. In the Sebago variety,
browning, at the end of the five day holding period, averaged 8.6 pounds
per 25 pound sample for the group with the least skinning as compared
to 12.1 pounds for the group with the highest skinning. In the Pontiac
variety, browning was almost twice as great in the group with high skinning
as compared to the group with low skinning, Browning was much higher
in this variety in the low age group as compared to the more mature potatoes,
partly due no doubt to the increase in skinning in this group. There
was no relation between age and amount of browning in the Sebago variety
in the 1948 results.

The samples were inspected for other defects such as scald spots,
deep pitted scab, greening, insect injury, other rots, etc. Scald spots
were rare in test lots from Dade County. In the Hastings area, 29 percent
of the lots inspected at the terminal market showed scald spots and 23
percent sticky scald spots. A small amount of scab was found in about
one-third of the lots from Dade County, but potatoes affected were thrown
out in the grading process. Practically no scab was found in the Hastings
area. About three-fourths of the lots from the Hastings area contained
potatoes that showed greening but these were also usually thrown out in
grading. About three-fourths of the lots from each area contained pota-
toes that showed injury from insect damage. Blight was well controlled
in both areas in 1948. Occasionally potatoes were found showing damage
caused by such diseases as blackleg, brownrot, rhizoctonia, stem end
browning, etc. The total amount of damage from these sources was small.

In both areas the major sources of trouble in handling potatoes
could be eliminated without excessive cost. One of the major problems
in Dade County is reducing the amount of cut and bruised potatoes. More
attention should be given to the elimination of long drops in packinghouse
machinery and the use of padding where drops are unavoidable. Special
attention should be given to proper adjustment of diggers and the elimi-
nation of excessive exposure in the field. A serious problem in the
.Hastings area is the large amount of skin removed from the potatoes in
the handling process. On the basis of the data collected during the
1948 season, it appears that the most important contribution to improved
quality would be in allowing potatoes to mature properly either through
delayed digging or defoliation, avoidance of long periods of exposure
in the field between picking up and hauling, careful checking of equip-
ment to eliminate long drops, padding of unavoidable drops, and a more
careful operation of washing and drying equipment.










SPOILAGE IN MARKETING EARLY IRISH POTATOES


INTRODUCTION

The Five Southeastern States of Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North
Carolina, and Virginia, assisted by the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Bureau
of Agricultural Economics, the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency, the
Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau, and many cooperating potato receivers,
shippers and farmers, cooperated in 1948 on a research project under the
Research and Marketing Act to determine:

(1) factors now causing spoilage in marketing early Irish potatoes;
(2) the extent of damage caused by the various factors;
(3) economic loss resulting from the various types and severities of
spoilage; and
(4) ways and means of reducing spoilage.

Areas studied in Florida were Dade County and the Hastings area (Fig. 1);
Alabama, Baldwin and Escambia counties; South Carolina, Charleston area;
North Carolina, Aurora and Elizabeth City areas; and Virginia, Princess Anne
County and the Eastern Shore.

PURPOSE OF REPORT

This report is prepared to give a preliminary summary of the data
collected in Florida in 1948. In studying these data one must keep in mind
the fact that they are preliminary. In some instances they are contrary to
what is commonly believed to be the situation. Final conclusions must await
accumulation of information for several seasons.

Cooperative work was carried on with four shippers in Dade County and
a like number in the Hastings area. Separate summaries were made for each
shipper and each area. Results of the two areas were not summarized together
because the variety of potato, time of shipment, and other conditions are
widely different. The material presented in the main part of the report is
limited to an average of the results for the two areas. A summary of the
data for each shipper cooperating in the study is included in tables in the
appendix.

METHOD OF STUDY

To obtain data relating to spoilage and economic losses resulting from
spoilage, arrangements were made with cooperating shippers to follow test
lots of potatoes from the time they were dug in the field, through the grad-
ing and packing shed, to the terminal market and in many cases through the
retail stores. A test lot usually consisted of a truck load of potatoes as
they came from the field. All operations in connection with the test lot
such as harvesting, grading, packing, and transporting to market were the
same as for other potatoes; except each lot was followed in such a way it
could be identified through all stages of the marketing process.


























































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A research team, consisting of a shipping point crew and a terminal
market crew was formed to collect the necessary information. The team was
directed by a project leader who had the responsibility for seeing that the
information needed was collected and for synchronizing the operations of the
field and terminal market crews. The shipping point crew attempted to obtain
a record of the condition of each test lot of potatoes shipped and the factors
producing those conditions. The terminal market crew recorded the condition
of the potatoes when they arrived at the terminal market and what happened to
them in the selling process.

Collection of Information at the Shipping Point

The shipping point crew consisted of a representative of the Bureau of
Plant Industry, who was in charge of collecting and examining representative
samples from each test lot, and a staff of enumerators who recorded the
necessary information.

To supply information on the causes of damages to the potatoes that
occurred during digging, picking up, hauling to the packing shed, grading and
packing, and transporting to market, the field crew obtained records on
production practices prior to harvest, time of digging and on how certain
operations such as digging, picking up and hauling to the grading shed were
performed. Records were also obtained on time of arrival and method of hand-
ling the potatoes at the grading shed prior to grading and during the grading
and packing operation and on weather conditions such as temperature, relative
humidity, wind velocity and rate of evaporation.

A series of samples of potatoes was collected from each test lot at
various stages in the marketing process to measure the extent of damage
occurring from one point to the other. Two samples of approximately 25 pounds
each were taken from three places in the processing line. Each test lot was
identified and the series of samples designated by a number. The first set
of samples was referred to as samples 1 and 2 and was collected from the
field containers just prior to loading the potatoes on trucks to be hauled
to the packing shed. The second set of samples was referred to as samples
3 and 4 and was collected at the shed just as the potatoes started through
the grading and packing process, The third set of samples was labeled 5 and 6
and was collected after the potatoes had been run through the grading and pack-
ing process but just before they were put in bags. One bagl/ in each test lot
was marked for special inspection at the terminal market. When the test lot
reached the terminal market, two 25 pound samples were taken out of this bag
and inspected. These samples were labeled 7 and 8. The remainder of the bag
was held for five days and the potatoes divided into two additional samples
and inspected.2/ This set of samples was referred to as samples 9 and 10.


1/ In Dade County, potatoes were packed in 50 pound bags. Two bags in each
Tot were marked for inspection at the terminal market.

2/ If the test lot went to a terminal market other than New York or Chicago,
the test bag was inspected by inspectors of the Railroad Perishable Inspection
Agency or Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau. In this case no second
inspection was made. The first inspection was reported as 7 and 8.










The testshipments were loaded into cars or trucks along with other
potatoes to be shipped. A record was made of the position in the car of the
bags from eaci test truckload and a copy of the loading record tacked to the
inside of the car. In as many cases as the destination of the car was
satisfactory a Ryan recording thermometer was placed in the test bag designated
for examination at the terminal market. This instrument made a continuous
record of temperatures from the time the potatoes were loaded until they were
unloaded.

Collection of Information at the Terminal Market

The terminal market crew consisted of representatives of the Bureau of
Plant Industry at New York and Chicago, a terminal market enumerator at New
York and inspectors of the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency and Western
Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

When a car containing a test shipment was sent out from a local shipping
point, a representative of the Bureau of Plant Industry was notified giving
the destination of the car and the receiver. This person in turn contacted
the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency/ and the. receiver and arranged to
trace and receive the test shipment. The Railroad Perishable Inspection
Agency inspectors were responsible for furnishing a general conditions report
on the test car. The Bureau of Plant Industry personnel were responsible for
recovering the special test bag of potatoes and for taking it to their
laboratory for inspection. In cases where test cars were sent or directed to
markets other than Chicago or New York, the Railroad Perishable Inspection
Agency inspectors made an inspection of the car and the specially marked bags
in each lot and recovered the Ryan recording thermometers.

The terminal market enumerator at New York was responsible for seeing
that special lots marked for retail follow-up were clearly identified and that
the wardhouse man was instructed to handle the lot in such a manner that it
could be followed into the retail store. The terminal market enumerator
obtained the following information about these lots: (1) from the receiver:
price paid shipper plus transportation and handling charges to the terminal
market; price of subsequent sales to jobbers and retail stores or if handled
by a chain store warehouse, the price at which the retail store manager was
billed; charges for handling potatoes from the wholesaler to retail stores
also were obtained and the approximate cost of repacking, if any was done;
and (2) from the retailer: retail price to consumers of potatoes sold, and
the quantities of potatoes sold as well as the quantities of potatoes discarded
out of the original amount purchased. If the potatoes were repackaged any-
where in the marketing process, the terminal market enumerator obtained the
results of this repacking operation and a sample of the discarded potatoes.
If the potatoes were displayed in bulk, he purchased a sample of them.

Examination of Samples of Potatoes

The samples at the shipping point were examined by a representative of


3/ The Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau was contacted if the car was
outside of the area served by the Railroad Perishable Inspection Agency.






-5-


the Bureau of Plant Industry. They were inspected carefully for such defects
as cuts and bruises, insect damage, blight, rots, etc.i/ The inspector also
estimated percent of total skin removed from the potatoes of each lot and
recorded any miscellaneous information about it. The weight of the sample and
the weight of potatoes with various defects in the sample were recorded on an
inspection sheet by the identification number of the sample. Samples taken
at the shipping point were examined the day collected and re-examined at the
end of a three-day holding period to determine developments of defects that
were not apparent at the first examination, The second examination was limited
to an inspection of the potatoes for the presence of browning, scald spots,
sticky scald spots, bacterial soft rot, late blight, and other rots. Rot of
all type was removed after the first examination so any rot showing up in the
second examination was in addition to that present in the first examination.
Browning, scald spots and sticky scald spots were not removed after the first
examination as these are different stages of the same type of injury and
may change from one classification to another while holding.

The special bag included in each test lot was examined when the potatoes
reached the terminal market. The terminal market inspection was the same as
the shipping point inspection with three exceptions. Instead of examining
the entire bag on arrival and holding the potatoes for a second examination,
one-half of the potatoes was examined on arrival and the rest were held for
a period of five days before they were examined. The five day holding period
was selected because this corresponds about to the usual time for the potatoes
to pass through the retail store. In cases where test lots were sent or
directed to markets other than Chicago or New York, inspectors of the Railroad
Perishable Inspection Agency or the Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau
made an examination of the car and the specially marked bag in each lot. Only
the initial examination was obtained for these bags. The terminal market
inspection for the most part did not give an estimate of skinning or amount
of cuts and bruises, insect injury, deep pitted scab and greening.

The results obtained from the examination of the series of samples for
each test lot make it possible to trace the changes occurring in the potatoes
during the various stages of the marketing process.

NUMBER AND DESTINATION OF TEST SHIPMENTS

In 1948 work was carried on under this project in Dade County and in the
Hastings area. Test shipments were made from Dade County during the period
March 3-27 and h0 cars and trucks containing 7h test lots were sent out. Ship-
ments from the Hastings area were made during the period April 12 to May 7
and h5 cars and trucks containing 61 test lots tar3 sent out. The total for
the two areas was 94 test shipments containing 135 test lots (Table ).

Table 2 gives the destination of test shipments. A total of 44 cars
containing 56 test lots went to the New York City area and 10 cars containing
23 test lots went to Chicago. The rest of the shipments were scattered over
27 different markets. Cooperating shippers were asked to send test cars to
New York or Chicago if they could do so conveniently. The Bureau of Plant
Industry had representatives in these two markets only and more complete infor-
mation was obtained where the services of these men were available,

U/ Defects were scored or listed according to standards set up by the Bureau
of Plant Industry.






-6-


Table 1. Number of Test Shipments, Florida 1948.
Item Dade County! Hastings Area Total

Time of shipments March 3-27 Apr,12-May 7 Mar.3-May 7
Number of shippers cooperating 4 4 8
Number of test shipments
Railroad cars 39 51 90
Motor trucks 1 3 4
Total "0 9 91
Number of test lots included
Railroad cars 73 59 132
Motor trucks 1 4 5
Total i3/ 133/

i/ Two lots of potatoes were divided and part put in a motor truck and
part in a railroad car. The total is corrected for this duplication.

SUMMARY OF GROWING AND SHIPPING CONDITIONS IN 1948

The kind of weather and variation in the weather during the growing and
harvesting season is an important factor affecting the amount of loss in hand-
ling and marketing potatoes. Price conditions, that is whether prices are
stable, rising or falling, affect the number of claims received by shippers
from receivers for adjustments due to spoilage and other factors../ Weather
and market conditions are discussed in this section because they were very
important in the results from this study in 1948.

The 1948 potato deal in both Dade County and the Hastings area was
considered a success despite very unfavorable weather conditions at the time
of planting and early part of the growing season. This unfavorable weather
was followed by favorable weather during the remainder of the growing season
and unusually favorable weather during the harvest period. Production on the
acreage that was harvested was normal or better and quality was good. The
demand for the crop was strong during most of the shipping period. A more
detail discussion of the conditions in the two areas is given below.

Dade County6

Heavy rains and flooded fields prevented planting during most of October.
Rain during the latter half of November caused some loss of seed and irregular
stands in some fields. Final planting was completed about January 10. In
spite of excessive moisture, the older plantings made good growth. Blight
threatened the crop but constant spraying kept it pretty well under control.


5/ Studies of losses have shown that the number of claims increase when
prices are falling and decrease when prices are rising. The amount of adjust-
ment usually is less also on a rising market.

6/ The information in this section was adapted from a report of the Federal-
State Market News Service. Belle Glade, Florida. May 21, 1948.










-7-


Table 2. Destination of Test Shipments Florida, 1948.

: Number of test shipments : Number of test lots
Destination : Dade : Hastings : Total : Dade : Hastings : Total
: County : Area Tota: County : Area :

New York City Area 13 31 44 23 33 56
Chicago, Ill. 10 10 23 23
Philadelphia, Pa. 5 2 7 8 2 10
Berwick, Pa. 4 4 4 4
Cleveland, Ohio 2 2 3 3

Dallas, Texas 2 2 4 4
Pittsburgh, Pa. 2 2 3 3
Scranton, Pa. 1 1 2 1 1 2
Albany, N. Y. 1 1 2 2
Atlanta, Ga. 1 1 1 1

Boston, Mass. 1 1 1 1
Cincinnati, Ohio 1 1 2 2
Columbia, S. C. 1 1 1 1
Detroit, Mich. 1 1 2 2
Flint, Mich. 1 1 2 2

Geneva, N. Y. 1 1 1 1
Greensboro, N. C, 1 1 1 1
Lynchburg, Va. 1 1 2 2
Minneapolis, Minn. 1 1 2 2
Menands, N. Y. 1 1 1 1

Nashville, Tenn. 1 1 2 2
Oklahoma City, Okla. 1 1 1 1
Richmond, Va. 1 1 2 2
Sacramento, Calif. 1 1 1 1
San Antonio, Texas 1 1 2 2

Uniontown, Pa. 1 1 1 1
Wilkes Barre, Pa. 1 1 1 1
Youngstown, Ohio 1 1 2 2
Unknown 1 1 2 2

Total 40 54 94 74 61- 1351/

1/ Two lots of potatoes were divided and part put in a motor truck and part
in a railroad car. The total is corrected for this duplication.










Weather during the digging period was exceptionally favorable. Some growers
dug their entire crop without losing any time because of rain.

Yield and quality of the crop was generally good. Light shipments from
Dade County began the last week in January. Shipments gradually increased
until the week of March 15 when the peak movement was reached. Prices for
50 pound sacks from February 4th to 13th on U. S. No. 1 quality stock ranged
from $2.25-3.00 for size A and $2.00-2.75 for size B, From February 16 to
March 12 prices declined to $2.00-2.25 for size A and $1.75-2.00 for size B.
Starting the week of March 15 demand increased and prices began to rise and
by the time the deal was over, the price for size A was $3.50 and size B,
$3.25 per 50 pound bag. Prices received were higher than last season and the
strongest demand occurred during the time when shipments were highest.
Potatoes carried well in transit and shippers received very few claims for
damage from receivers in terminal markets.

Hastings Area7/

The planting of the early spring potatoes in the Hastings area was drawn
out over approximately an eight weeks period due to the excessive rainfall.
Planting of the crop was completed around the middle of February. Considerable
replanting was necessary due to seed rotting in the ground. Stands were
irregular and below average. The crop made good progress during the second
half of February when weather conditions were favorable. Heavy rains during
the first two weeks in March caused some damage from washing of beds and
leaching of fertilizer. Favorable weather during the last of March and April
greatly improved the general condition of the crop. Blight was heavy in some
of the fields that were planted early but this condition practically disappear-
ed with an improvement in the weather.

Harvesting of the crop was extended over a longer period than usual
because of the irregular plantings. Light digging started during the last
few days of March. Diggings reached a peak during the week of May 8 and the
deal was practically completed by the 21st of iay. The weather was cool and
ideal for harvesting with only occasional light showers during the period. The
quality as a whole was generally good. The earlier plantings were more imma-
ture and ran more to the smaller sizes than the stock from the later plantings.
The yield for the 1948 season was reported locally on a packed-out basis as
low as 35-40 100-pound bags per acre from some of the earlier plantings to as
high as 175 100-pound bags per acre and in some instances higher, from the
later plantings.

The demand was generally good except for the period from April 26 to May
5. At the beginning of the season the market was about q6.00 per 100-pound
bag for U. S. No. 1. The market moved up slightly and on April 12 the f.o.b.
price for 100-pound bags U. S. No. 1 Sebago was $6.25 and for U. S. No. 1 size
B was $4.50. The U. S. No. 1 stock held steady through April 23 while the
size B stock declined to $3.50. During the period of April 26 to May 3 the
f.o.b. price declined on both grades until a low of $4.00 for the U. S. No. l's
------------------
7/ Data in this section were adapted from a report of the Federal-State
market News Service, Hastings, Florida. May 21, 1948.








-9-


and $2.00 for the size B stock was reached. Prices held steady at these
figures for the rest of the season.

Favorable harvesting weather and the absence of late blight resulted in
very little trouble from spoilage in transit. The greatest trouble was from
severe browning and shriveling due to the digging of immature potatoes when
prices were at their peak.

PRACTICES IN HARVESTING, GRADING AND PACKING POTATOES
BY COOPERATING SHIPPERS IN AREAS STUDIED IN 1948

Potato production is almost completely mechanized in the commercial
potato areas of Florida. Practices in producing and harvesting vary from area
to area depending on location, type of soil, variety, individual growers, ship-
pers, etc. A description of harvesting and grading practices used by
cooperating shippers in the two areas studied is given in this section.

Number and Type of Cooperating Shippers

In selecting cooperators, an attempt was made to work with houses that
were handling potatoes in as many different ways as possible. Test shipments
were made from four houses in each area. In Dade County, house A handled
Bliss Triumph potatoes. They were handled in field crates, usually held 12 to
24 hours before grading, and washed and dried by Food Machinery Corporation
equipment. House B handled Pontiac potatoes in bags from the field to the
shed. The potatoes were poured into bins, usually held 12 to 24 hours before
grading, and washed and dried by American Potato Drier equipment. House C
handled both Bliss Triumph and Pontiac potatoes. They were handled in field
crates, usually held 24 to 48 hours before grading, and washed and dried in
specially designed Food Machinery equipment. House D handled Bliss Triumph
potatoes from the field to the shed in field crates. The potatoes were graded
as soon as they were brought to the packing shed with the exception of a few
lots held overnight. They were washed in a home-made washer, fanned with
cold air and run over brass rollers to remove some of the moisture. Potatoes
from houses A, B and C were packed in 50 pound paper bags for shipping while
potatoes from house D were packed in 50 pound cotton mesh bags. All of the
test lots from each house were shipped under standard ventilation.

Practices in the houses in the Hastings area were not quite so variable
as practices in Dade County. All but two of the lots of potatoes followed
were of the Sebago variety. Each of the houses used old potato bags and washed
fertilizer sacks as field containers in handling the potatoes from the field
to the packinghouse. Each house packed potatoes for shipping in 100-pound
burlap bags, the only variation being in the quality of the bag. Test lots
from all houses were shipped under standard ventilation. In house A, the
potatoes were poured from the field bags into sloping bins with slatted
bottoms. The house had eight bins and the potatoes were graded as soon after
arrival as the house could handle them. They were washed and dried by American
Potato Drier equipment. In house B, the potatoes were usually placed in racks
in the original field sacks and held until the house could grade them. At
times the potatoes were graded directly from the truck but this was the
exception rather than the rule. The potatoes were washed and dried by Food
Machinery Corporation equipment. In house C, the potatoes were graded as fast








-10-


as they came from the field. They were dumped directly from the truck on a
wire chain that took them to the washer. All of the equipment in this house
was home-made. The potatoes were dried by blowing cold air over them as they
passed under three sets of double fans. In house D, the potatoes were also
graded directly from the truck as they were hauled from the field. A home-
made washer was used to wash the potatoes but they were dried by American
Potato Drier equipment. The hot air driers in houses A and B were not
thoroughly drying the potatoes, while the drier in house D was getting them
thoroughly dry. The fan-type drier in house C was getting the potatoes rela-
tively dry, though some moisture was detected, especially on humid days.

Practices in handling the potatoes varied by area and by houses. In some
cases the vines were killed by spraying with a commercial vine killer some
days in advance of digging, while others were dug without killing the vines.
The potatoes were exposed for varying lengths of time in the field both prior
to picking up and after picking up and prior to hauling. All of these varia-
tions were carefully recorded and weather conditions were kept during the
entire period over which test shipments were made.

Temperature and Relative Humidity During the Harvest Period

As pointed out in the previous section unusually favorable weather pre-
vailed during the harvest season in both Dade County and the Hastings area.
Continuous temperature and humidity readings were obtained during the period
in which test shipments uere made.O/ In Dade County the mean temperature
from March 3 to 25 was 74F. (Table 3). The average daily variation was
15.0 degrees. In the Hastings area the mean temperature was 69.30 F. from
April 10 to May 7. The highest temperature recorded during the period was
91 degrees and the lowest temperature was h3 degrees. The average daily
variation was 26.4 degrees. These data show that during the two periods
that test shipments were made in 1948, the mean temperature was lower in the
Hastings area than in Dade County. This difference was due mainly to a lower
temperature at night. A comparison of the average temperature of the two
areas from hour to hour shows that during a large part of the day the temper-
ature was about the same.

Harvesting

Potatoes are dug with a machine digger in both Dade County and the Hastings
area. The majority of farmers use various makes of two-row tractor drawn, power
take-off diggdrs but a few old one-row machines are still in use. In Dade
County most of the growers have their own machines, while in the Hastings area
much of the digging is done on a custom basis.

The digger places the potatoes on top of the ground where they are
gathered up by hand and placed in containers. Usually Negroes are employed for
this job and are paid on the "piece" basis. In Dade County most of the potatoes


8/ A portable hygrothermograph was used to obtain a continuous reading of
temperature and relative humidity. Tosave space only daily averages are
presented here.










-11-


Table 3. Mean Hourly Temperature and Relative Humidity
March 3-25, 1948 Goulds, Florida
April 10-May 7, 1948 Hastings, Florida.-


Time Mean Temperature : Mean Relative Humidity
: Goulds : Hastings : Goulds : Hastings
Degrees F Percent


68.6 60.3
68.3 59.7
67.9 58.8
68.1 58.0
67,6 57.1
67.8 56..5


67.5
70.2
75.1
78.9
81.1
82.3

82.9
82.3.
81.8
81.3
80.6
77.8

74.4
72.1
71.0
70.4
69.6
69.3

74.0


Average


58.5
65. 6
72.1
75.7
78.4
80.7

81.9
82.9
82.7
81.1
80.2
77.5

74.2
68.9
65.9
64.0
62.6
61.2

69.3


83.3
84.4
83.8
84.0
84.2
84.0

83.5
76.4
68.1
61.9
59.3
58.0

57.0
59.7
59.8
59.8
61.9
66.8

73.6
78.3
80.1
81.3
82.2
82.5

73.1


89.7
91.1
91.1
91.0
91.5
92.5

93.0
91.4
82.0
70.9
63.8
59.1

55.7
53.6
52.7
55.0
55.4
57.7

60.7
68.7
78.1
81.8
84.6
87.7

74.9


I/ See tables 1 and 2 in appendix for mean daily temperature and
relative humidity


12:00
1:00
2:00
3:00
4:00
5:00

6:00
7:00
8:00
9:00
10:00
11:00

12:00
1:00
2:00
3:00
4:00
5:00

6:00
7:00
8:00
9:00
10:00
11:00










are picked up and handled in bushel-size field boxes; only a few farmers use
bags for field containers. In the Hastings area potatoes are usually picked
up in one-half bushel wire baskets and poured into used fertilizer bags, two
baskets to the bag. Wire baskets are used in picking up to reduce the amount
of dirt taken from the field to the packinghouse with the potatoes.

In both areas trucks are used to haul the potatoes from the field to the
packing shed. In Dade County many of the growers have their own trucks
although some are hired on a contract basis. In the Hastings area the major-
ity of the hauling is done on a contract basis. As a rule a man contracts to
haul the crop and also agrees to supply the labor for picking up the potatoes.
The hauling is usually done on a "piece" basis, the amount varying with the
distance to the packing shed. 1ihen potatoes are handled in field crates, they
are usually stacked on trucks three rows wide and four or five boxes high, with
150 to 200 boxes being carried to a load. When field bags are used for hand-
ling the potatoes, the bags are quite often placed on their sides and "lapped"
over each other about four bags wide in loading. They. may be piled as much
as eight high with 250 to 300 bags or more being hauled at one time.

Variety and Age of Potatoes.- Bliss Triumph and Pontiac are the principal
varieties grown in Dade County. Sebago is the main variety in the Hastings
area. Of the 74 test lots sent out from Dade County, 43 were of the Bliss
Triumph variety, 30 Pontiac and one Dakota Chief Pontiac. Fifty-nine of the
test lots from the Hastings area were of the Sebago variety and two were
Pontiac.

The varieties grown in these two areas are usually dug in 90 to 115 days
after planting. As a rule, growers in Dade County tended to allow their
potatoes to mature more than growers in the Hastings area. The average age
of test shipments from Dade County was 106 days as compared to 96 days for the
Hastings area (Table 4). No lots in the Hastings area were more than 110
days old when dug, while almost one-third of the lots in Dade County were this
age or older. In 1948 there probably was a tendency for some growers in the
Hastings area to dig their potatoes younger than usual to take advantage of
the high prices that existed during the first part of the season.

Table 4. Variation in Age of Potatoes at Digging,
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of lots : Percent of total
Age of potatoes : Dade : Hastings: Dade : Hastings
: County Area : County : Area
Days Number Number Percent Percent
Less than 80 -- 1 1.6
80 8 3 -- .9
85 89 2 8 2.7 13.1
90 9 -- 14 23.0
95 99 10 15 13.5 24.6
100 104 14 12 18.9 19.7
105 109 25 8 33.8 13.1
110 114 15 -- 20.3 --
115 119 7 9.4
120 12 1 1.4 -
Total 10. 100.0
Average age (days) 106 96





-13-


Defoliation.-Digging potatoes before their skins have thickened properly
results in a high percentage of skinned areas, cracks, digger cuts and bruises.
To aid in setting of the skin, killing of the vines by chemicals before harvest
is practiced by some growers in Dade County but not by any growers in the
Hastings area. In Dade County vines were killed on 57 of the 74 test lots
sent out. An average of 8.5 days elapsed between defoliation and digging.

Soil Temperature at Digging.-The temperature of the soil was taken at the
time each test lot was dug. The average soil temperature in Dade County was
75.0F. while the average temperature in the Hastings area was 77.20F. (Table
5). There was a much greater variation in the soil temperature in the Hastings
area than in Dade County. In 86 percent of the cases the soil temperature was
from 70 to 790F. in Dade County but only 62 percent of the cases fell within
this same range in the Hastings area.

The difference in soil temperature was due partly to a difference in soil
types and partly to a greater variation in air temperature. The Larl soils of
Dade County do not warm up or cool off as fast as the sandy soils of the
Hastings area. Also there was usually a lower temperature at night in the
Hastings area which resulted in a lower soil temperature in the early morning.

Table 5. Variation in Temperature of the Soil at Time of Digging Potatoes
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of lots : Percent of total
Soil temperature : Dade : Hastings : Dade : Hastings
: County ; Area : County : Area
Degrees F. Number Number Percent Percent
65 69 1 5 1.4 8.2
70 74 32 18 43.2 29.5
75 79 32 20 43.2 32.8
80 84 8 8 10.8 13,1
85 89 1 10 1.4 16.4
Total 7 1 100.0 100.0
Average temperature.
(F) 75.4 77.2

The viarl soil of Dade County is usually damp and sticks to the potato
when it is dug, more than the sandy soil in the Hastings area. This moist
soil covering tends to reduce the height to which the temperature rises when
the potatoes are exposed to the sun. In both areas special samples were taken
as soon as the potatoes were dug and exposed for one hour on several days from
9:30 to 10:30 o'clock in the morning and from 2:00 to 3:00 o'clock in the
afternoon. The temperature of the potatoes was taken at the beginning of the
exposure and at the end. In each case the record temperature at the end of
expose was much less for the potatoes in Dade County than for potatoes in the
Hastings area even though the air temperature in the morning was higher in
Dade County than it was at Hastings (Table 6). This means that growers in
Dade County run less danger of damage from exposure. In this area, digging
is not usually discontinued in the hottest part of the day.

Time between Digging and Picking up Potatoes,-To prevent injury from the
sun, an effort is made in both areas to pick up the potatoes as soon as they
are dug. Pickers are usually stationed the length of the field and each







-14-


Table 6. Variation in Temperature of Potatoes of Exposed Samples
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: : Dade County : Hastings Area
Item Unit;Beginning: End : Change :Beginning: End : Change
Potatoes Exposed 9:30 10:30 A. M.
Number of samples No. 11 20
Soil temperature OF. 72.3 74.1
Air temperature OF. 82.5 84.0 1.5 77.6 79.9 2.3
Relative humidity OF. 57.3 55.6 -1.7 65.2 59.4 -5.8
Temperature of potatoes
Sunside oF. 76.0 89.0 13.0 76.6 96.6 20.0
Center oF. 73.3 85.2 11.9 74.3 91.2 16.9
Shadeside oF. 74.7 80.7 6.0 75.8 86.6 10.8

Potatoes Exposed 2:00 3:00 P. M.
Number of samples No. 7 8
Soil temperature oF. 77.0 86.4
Air temperature OF. 83.7 83.8 0.1 85.5 84.4 -1.1
Relative humidity OF. 55.1 54.1 -1.0 51.9 55.0 3.0
Temperature of potatoes
Sunside OF. 80.1 91.9 11.8 87.2 96.9 9.7
Center OF. 78.7 87.4 8.7 86.6 93.9 7.3
Shadeside OF. 79.4 83.6 4.2 86.2 90.4 4.2

person assigned a definite area depending on the speed at which he works. As
soon as the diggerpasses, the potatoes are picked up in the assigned area. In
the majority of cases in the two areas studied potatoes were picked up within
15 minutes after they were dug (Table 7). In some cases, however, more than
an hour elapsed between digging and picking up. Such cases were unusual for
the operator usually kept close check and stopped the digger if it was getting
too far ahead of the people picking up.

Table 7. Lapse in Time between Digging and Picking up Potatoes
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of lots : Percent of total
Length of time : Dade : Hastings: Dade : Hastings
: County : Area : County : Area
Minutes Niaber Number Percent Percent
15 or less 34L 9 S299 80
16 30 19 10 257 16.4
31 45 11 1 14.9 1.6
46 60 6 1 8.1 1.6
61 and over 4 -- 5.4 --
Total 7T "M 100.0 100.0
Average number of
minutes 27 10

Time between Picking up and Hauling Potatoes from the Field.- On the
average less time elapsed between picking up potatoes and hauling them from the
field in Dade county than in the Hastings area (Table 8). In Dade County 72
percent of the lots were hauled out of the field within less than two hours
after being picked up, while in the Hastings area only 41 percent of the lots







-15-


Table 8. Lapse in Time between Picking up
from the Field, Dade County and Hastings
: Number of lots :
Length of time : Dade : Hastings:
: County : Area :


and Hauling Potatoes
Area, Florida 1948.
Percent of total
Dade : ifastings
County : Area


Minutes Number Number Percent Percent
Less than 60 21 9 28.h 14.8
60 119 32 16 43.2 26.2
120 179 15 18 20.3 29.5
180 239 3 6 4.0 9.8
240 299 1 3 1.4 4.9
300 over 2 9 2.7 1l.8
Total T "61 100.0 100.0
Average number of
minutes 100 264


were hauled out within this time. Occasionally lots in the Hastings area were
left in the field over night. Farmers in Dade County said the weather was too
uncertain to risk this practice.

Time Required to Haul Potatoes to the Packinghouse.- In Dade County it
required an average of 14 minutes and in the Hastings area, 28 minutes to haul
the potatoes from the field to the packing shed (Table 9). In Dade County
many of the growers have their own packing shed and seldom do more than five
or six use the same shed. Large storage space is usually provided at the
packing shed, so no time is lost waiting in line for others to unload. In the
Hastings area many of the growers use cooperatively owned sheds or private
sheds. These sheds usually have space for storing potatoes before grading.
In 1948, the harvest was spread over a longer season than usual so the volume
of movement was probable more evenly distributed than is the case in some years.
In a large number of cases, trucks did not have to stand in line before they
could unload. Even when there was a line, it was unusual for a truck to have
to wait more than 30 minutes to an hour before it could be unloaded.


Table 9. Length of Time Required to Haul Potatoes from Field
to Packinghouse, Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of lots : Percent of total
Length of time : Dade : Hastings: Dade : Hastings
: County : Area : County ; Area
Minutes Number Number Percent Percent
Less than 10 10 10 13.5 16.4
10 19 41 20 55.4 32.8
20 29 22 13 29.7 21.3
30 39 1 7 1.4 11.5
40 49 -- 3 -- 4.9
50 59 -- 3 -- .9
60 and over 5 -- 8.2
Total -7 -61 100.0 100.0
Average number of
minutes 14 28







-16-


Grading and Packing
Practically all of the potatoes grown in the two areas studied are washed,
graded and packed at modern packinghouses before they are shipped to market,
In most houses, potatoes are dried with hot air after being washed. In a few
houses drying is attempted by using fans to blow air over the potatoes. In
some houses potatoes are packed without any attempt being made to dry them;

The operation of the individual house depends on the alertness of the
operator, type of equipment used, condition in the area, etc. In Dade County
it is a common practice to hold potatoes 24 to 48 hours before they are graded.
They are left in the field boxes in which they are picked up and these boxes
are stacked in the storage shed until the potatoes are graded. In the Hastings
area potatoes are graded as soon as possible after they are hauled from the
field. In a number of houses the potatoes are poured from the field bags into
bins to be held until they are graded. Otherwise they are stored in racks in
the packing shed or unloaded directly from the truck onto the washing and
grading equipment.

In both areas most of the packinghouses are reasonably modern. The speed
at which the potatoes are run through the washing and grading process can
usually be varied depending on their condition. If there is an excessive
amount of mud, insect damage, disease, etc., they are run through at a slower
rate so a better job of grading can be done. The grading tables are usually
well lighted and are long enough to provide for a sufficient number of graders
to do a thorough job of grading the potatoes. The method of handling the
potatoes in the shed and running them through the grading and packing process
varies. In some houses they are handled fairly carefully while in other houses
they receive rough treatment. As a rule, potatoes are dumped on a conveyor
which takes them to a washing machine and then into a hot air dryer. From the
dryer, the potatoes move on a sizing chain and then pass over a grading table.
People stationed on each side of the table take out the cull potatoes by
hand. Potatoes too bad to sell are discarded and others are placed in a.
separate grade. The rest of the potatoes move on to chutes where they are
bagged.

In Dade County mot of, the No. 1 potatoes were packed in 50-pound nonper-
forated paper bags. ~i' potatoes were usually put in burlap bags. Fifty
pound bags are ordinarily used for these grades although some houses pack in
100-pound bags. In the Hastings area practically all of the potatoes were
put in 100 pound burlap bags. Occasionally a buyer specified 50 pound bags
especially in the case of the Pontiac variety. A few growers packed all of
their crop or certain grades in 50 pound burlap or cotton mesh bags, but this
practice was unusual. Paper bags were seldom used in the Hastings area.

Time Spent in the Packinghouse before Grading.- As pointed out above, a
common practice in Dade County is to hold the potatoes in the packinghouse
24 to 48 hours before grading. This varies, however, and at times they are
graded as soon as they come from the field if the ground is fairly dry and
there is little mud on the potatoes. On the average potatoes stayed in the
packinghouse about 29 hours before they were graded (Table 10). No digging
was usually done on Saturday and quite often the packinghouses did not operate
on that day. Lots that stayed in the packinghouse more than 48 hours were
usually ones brought in on Friday and graded the following Monday, In the







-17-


Hastings area more than half of the lots were graded within an hour after they
arrived at the packing shed. Very few lots were in the shed more than six
hours before they were graded.

Table 10. Length of Time Potatoes Remained in Packinghouse
before Grading, Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
Length o: Number of lots : Percent of total
in gackighouse : Dade : Hastings: Dade : Hastings
in packinghouse : County : Area : County : Area

Hour Number Number Percent Percent
Less than 1.0 7 34 9.5 55.7
1 5.9 7 19 9.5 31.1
6 11.9 1 3 1.3 4.9
12 23.9 30 3 40.5 4.9
24 35.9 7 1 9.5 1.7
36 47.9 7 -- 9.5
48 59.9 4 1 5.4 1.7
60 and over 11 -- 1.8 -
Total -7 -~; 100.0 100.0o
Average number of
hours 28.6 3.5

Temperature of the Potatoes.- The temperature of the potatoes was taken
when they arrived at the packing shed, when they started through the washing
and grading process and when the washing and grading process was completed.
On the average the potatoes in Dade County were warmer when they arrived at the
packinghouse than the potatoes in the Hastings area (Table 11). However, since
they were usually held in the packinghouse several hours and quite often over
night, they lost several degrees of temperature. The temperature at time of
grading was lower than the potatoes in the Hastings area.

In each area test shipments were made from three houses in which potatoes
were washed and dried with hot air and one house in which they were washed and
dried by blowing air over them with a fan. The temperature of the potatoes
that were dried with hot air increased on the average four degrees in Dade
County and 2.6 degrees in the Hastings area in the drying process (Table 11).
The temperature of the potatoes that were fan-dried dropped two to three
degrees during the washing and fanning process. Many of the test lots that
went through the hot air driers in the Hastings area were not thoroughly dried
which probably accounts for the smaller increase in temperature in the drying
process, in this area.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF TEST SHIPMENTS

Seventy-four test lots were sent out from Dade County, 23 of which went
to the New York City area and an equal number to Chicago. Sixty-one lots went
out from Hastings, 33 of which went to the New York City area but none went to
Chicago. All of the lots were examined at the shipping point but terminal
market inspection was obtained on only 54 lots from Dade County and 52 lots
from the Hastings area. Inspection at the end of a five day holding period
was obtained for 43 samples from Dade County and 31 samples from Hastings that
went to the New York City and the Chicago areas. In showing the results of the







-18-


Table 11. Temperature of Potatoes
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.


: Number of lots : Percent of total
Temperature : Dade : Hastings : Dade : Hastings
of potatoes : County : Area : County : Area


Degrees F


Number Number Percent Percent


Temperature arriving at packinghouse


70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
90-94
Not recorded
Total
Avg. Temp. (OF)


8
18
31
13
2
2

80.8


478
78.9


10.8
24.3
41.9
17.6
2.7
2.7
100.0


18.0
34.4
34.4
6.6

6.6
100.0


Temperature going in washer
65-69 3
70-74 20
75-79 26
80-84 14
85-89 --
Not recorded 3
Total 6"
Avg. Temp. (OF) 76.0


Temperature coming
70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
Total
Avg. Temp. (oF)


(washed anc
1
12
19
8
2

77.2
77.2


out of dryer (washed


2
28
33
3

80.0


4
18
14
6

79.8


i hot air dried)
4.5 2.4
30.4 28.6
39.4 45.2
21.2 19.0
-- 4.8
1.5 --1
100.0 100.0


and hot
3.0
42.4
50.0
4.6
100.0


air dried)
9.5
42.9
33.3
14.3
100.0


Temperature going in washer (washed


70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
Not recorded
Total
Avg. Temp. (OF.)


Temperature
70-71
75-79
80-84
Total
Avg. Temp.


coming oI


(F)


76.0
76.0


1
19
79.4


and fan dried)


37.5
37.5
25.0


100.0


ut of drier (washed and fan
6 8 75.0
1 8 12.5
1 3 .12.5
8 19 100.0
74.4 76.4


21.1
26.3
36.8
10.5
5.3
100.0


dried)
42.1
42.1
15.8
100.0


A I







-19-


inspections of the test lot, the average of all samples has been used for
the examinations at the shipping point. The results at the terminal market
and the additional five day inspection include only those samples inspected
at these points.

Grade Out Records of Test Lots
In each area a test lot consisted of a field truck load of potatoes. In
the Hastings area slightly larger loads were hauled than in Dade County so the
average size test lot was 12,s08 pounds/ in comparison with 8,007 pounds for
Dade County (Table 12). Seventy-nine percent of the potatoes in Dade County
were packed as U. S. No. 1A, seven percent as U. S. No. 1B and two percent were
taken out a culls. In the Hastings area, 66 percent were graded as U. S. No.
1 ahd lA,-V 19 percent as U. S. No. 1B and 3 percent thrown out as culls.


Table 12. Grading Record of Test Lots
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
:Average weight' of lot: Percent of total
Grade : Dade : Hastings : Dade : Hastings
: County : Area ; County : Area
Pounds Pounds Percent Percent
U. S. No. 1 and
1A 6294 8221 78.6 66.2
U. S. No. IB 576 2380 7.2 19.2
U. S. No. 2 and/or
Commercials 888 515 11.1 4.2
U. S. No. 3 and 4 81 904 1.0 7.3
Culls 168 388 2.1 3.1
Total 8007 1208 100.0 100.0


Temperature of Potatoes in Transit

All test cars from Florida were shipped under standard ventilation with
vents open. Vents were closed in transit depending on the weather. A Ryan
recording thermometer was placed in the special bag marked for inspection in
most of the cars that went to New York or Chicago and occasionally in other
cars. This instrument gave a continuous recording of the temperature from the
time the bag was placed in the car until the instrument was removed at
destination. Instruments were placed in 18 cars from each of the two areas
over the period that shipments were made. The records of the temperature
during transit from day to day are given in tables 13 and 14. Even though

9/ Test truck loads of potatoes were not actually weighed, The weight was
calculated based on the number of units packed out for each lot multiplied by
the average weight per unit.

10/ Some of the potatoes in the Hastings area ran to small sizes in 1948.
Some of the lots contained too many small potatoes to meet size A requirements
so they were packed as U. S, No. 1 instead of U. S, No. 1A.










-20-


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shipments from each area were made over a four weeks period, the temperature
record of individual cars was quite similar. With the exception of a hot
period from March 17 to 23, all instruments from Dade County except one arrived
at the terminal market showing a temperature of 600F. or below. In 1948 only
one car from the Hastings area with a Ryan thermometer in it showed a temper-
ature of more than 600F. when it reached the market. The temperature of ship-
ments from the Hastings area dropped on the average from 84.2 to 75.50F. within
12 hours after the potatoes were loaded in the car. It took two days for
shipments from Dade County to drop from 83.3 to 77.l4F. This difference was
due partly to the fact that potatoes moving from the Hastings area move into
cooler weather in less time than potatoes from Dade County. Another factor, no
doubt, was the paper bags in which the potatoes are packed in Dade County.
Heat does not pass out of the tight paper bag so easily as out of burlap bags.
Paper bags are also packed much tighter in the car and air circulation is not
so good.

Loss in Weight of Test Shipments

A number of the bags marked for special inspection at the terminal market
were weighed at the shipping point and also at destination. Samples in New
York and Chicago held for five days were weighed at the beginning and end of
the holding period. Potatoes from the Hastings area lost more weight in
transit and also more weight during the holding period than potatoes from Dade
County (Table 15). The percent loss in weight in transit from the Hastings
area was 2.9 percent and 3.8 percent during the five day holding period.
Corresponding figures for Dade County were 2.5 and 2.2 percent, respectively.
The bags from Dade County weighed 50.7 pounds on the average at destination;
however, 23 percent failed to weigh 50 pounds. The bags from the Hastings
area averaged only 99.7 pounds at destination. In 1948 65 percent of the bags
weighed from this area failed to weigh 100 pounds at destination. Weight at
shipping point and at destination was gross weight including both the potatoes
and the bag.

Summary of Inspection of Samples

In making this study, two samples of approximately 25 pounds each were
collected at various places in the processing line. T6 reduce the amount of
detail and also eliminate variations in sampling, an Average has been calcu-
lated from each pair of samples. Samples 1 & 2 were taken from the field
containers just prior to loading the potatoes on the truck to be hauled to the
packing shed; samples 3 & 4 just as the potatoes started through the grading
and packing process; samples 5 & 6 just after the potatoes had been run through
the grading and packing process but just before they were put in bags; samples
7 & 8 were two samples from the special test bag when it reached the terminal
market; and samples 9 & 10 were two samples examined f1t the end of a five day
holding period in the terminal market. The examination of the series of
samples from each test lot showed what changes occurred in the potatoes during
the various stages of the marketing process. They also showed whether notice-
able defects were being taken out of the potatoes in the grading process. A
summary of the examination of the samples for the two areas is shown in table
16. These data reveal some important differences between Dade County and the
Hastings area and indicate some of the factors associated with losses. The
main differences in the results were in the amount of skinning, cuts and
bruises, bacterial soft rot, browning and scald spots.







-23-


Table 15, Loss in Weight of Potatoes in Test Shipments
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
Item Dade County Hastings Area

Loss in weight from shipping point to terminal market
Number of bags 73 31
Average days in transit 6.2 5.9
Average weight (pounds):
At shipping point 52.0 2/
At destination 50.7 99.6
Loss in weight 1.3 2.92/
Percent loss 2,5 2.9
Bags less than 100 pounds!/ at
destination
Number 17 20
Percent 23.3 64.6

Loss in weight of samples during holding period in terminal market
Number of samples 48 31
Average days held 5.0 4,6
Average weight (pounds):
Weight at beginning 25.0 48.1
Weight at inspection 24.4 46.2
Loss in weight .6 1.9
Percent loss 2.2 3.8
/ Fifty pounds in the case of bags from Dade County,
2/ Only 13 bags weighed at shipping point average weight 101.9
pounds, weight at destination 99.0 pounds. Loss in weight 2.9 pounds.

Estimated Skinning.- Potatoes in Dade County were skinned much less in the
handling process than potatoes in the Hastings area. Inspection of test lots
in the two areas indicates that only about three percent of the total skin was
removed in the entire handling process in Dade County. This compared to 34
percent in the Hastings area with individual lots going as high as 75 percent.
Factors affecting skinning were maturity, defoliation and method of handling.
Potatoes in Dade County averaged 10 days older than those in the Hastings area,
Seventy-seven percent of the samples in Dade County were defoliated before
they were dug while this practice was not used by any growers in the Hastings
area. The sandy soils of the Hastings area were probably more conducive to
skinning than the Marl soils of Dade County. The amount of skinning decreased
as the age of potatoes at harvest increased. In the Sebago variety, skinning
amounted to 42 percent for potatoes that averaged 88 days old compared to 22
percent for potatoes that averaged 103 days old (Table 17). In both the Red
Bliss and the Pontiac varieties the amount of skinning decreased from around
four percent for potatoes in the youngest age group to less than two percent
for potatoes in the oldest age group. The difference probably would have been
greater in both of these varieties except for the fact that all but two of the
lots in the youngest age group were defoliated before they were dug.

It is the general opinion of potato men in Dade County that defoliation
causes a setting of the skin in about eight days. This reduces the amount of
skinning and also helps to decrease the amount of cut and bruised potatoes.















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Table 17. Relation of Age of Potatoes at Digging
to Estimated Skinning, Florida, 1948.
: Variety
Age at digging : Dade County : Hastings"Area
: Red Bliss : Pontiac : Sebago
Average age at digging days
Low third 100.8 b.1 87.5
Medium third 106.8 105.3 96.0
High third 114.9 110.2 103.3
Average 107.7 104.1 95.6

Estimated proportion of total skin removed percent
Low third 3.9 4.7 42.2
Medium third 3.0 4.0 37.0
High third 1.8 1.8 22.3
Average 2.9 3.4 33.9


In order to verify this and to study the effects of defoliation on the amount
of skinning of potatoes, and the effect of this treatment on the resistance of
potatoes to bruising, several samples were collected from selected fields as
is shown in table 18. The samples were placed in an ordinary 100 pound bag and
the potatoes were rolled from one end of the bag to the other 10 times by rais-
ing and lowering alternate ends. The percentage of skinning produced was
estimated as accurately as possible. The potatoes were then rolled off of a
table two and one half feet high onto a wooden floor. The amount of split and
not split potatoes were weighed and recorded.

On the seventh day after defoliation both Bliss Triumph and Pontiac showed
a marked reduction in skinning (Table 18). Pontiac showed more reduction than
Bliss Triumph. Check samples continued to show about the same amount of skin-
ning as at the beginning. The Pontiac consistently showed less splitting than
the Bliss Triumph. There was some reduction in the amount of splitting in the
Bliss Triumph after the seventh day of defoliation; the Pontiac did not show
any consistent relationship. The check lot of Bliss Triumph never did show
as much splitting as the test lots. Vihy this is true is not known. Other
Bliss lots occasionally were seen that were quite resistant to splitting.

The method of handling potatoes in the packinghouse also affected the
amount of skinning. In three of the houses in the Hastings area, the average
age of all test lots was the same--94 days. Each of these houses handled
potatoes in a different way. In house No. 1 potatoes were unloaded directly
from the truck onto the washing and grading equipment; in house No. 2 the
potatoes were unloaded from the truck and the bags were stacked in racks until
time of grading. In house No. 3, the potatoes were unloaded from trucks and
poured into bins to be held until grading. The amount of skin removed in the
handling process was estimated at 31 percent for the house unloading direct
from the truck, 36 percent for the house storing the bags in racks and 48
percent for the house pouring the potatoes in bins (Table 19).

One house in Dade County handled potatoes in bins. Not enough samples
were run through this house, however, to draw any definite conclusions on this
method of handling potatoes in this area.







-27-


Table 18. The Effect of Defoliation on Skinning and Resistance to Splitting,
Dade County, Special Test, 1948.
: Days : Potatoes defoliated : Potatoes not defoliated


Date : After
: Defo-
:liation
Days


3/13/48
3/15/48
3/17/48
3/19/48
3/22/48
3/24/48
3/26/48


3/13/48
3/15/48
3/17/48
3/19/48
3/22/48
3/24/48
3/26/48


: Amount
: of
:skinning
Percent

15
17
20
12
1
7
7


: Proportion : Amount
: Not : of
:split : Split :skinning :
Percent Percent Percent
Bliss Triumph1/
43 57-
37 63
28 72 15
56 44
31 69 12
65 35
80 20 12


S Proportion
Not :
split : Split
Percent Percent


Pontiac /


i2/
12
8


62

72
73
71


38

28
27
29


/ Defoliated Bliss Triumph planted December 11 and 12, 1947; non-defoli-
ated potatoes planted December 17 and 18, 1947
2/ Defoliated Pontiac planted December 10 and 11, 1947; non-defoliated
potatoes planted December 16, 1947.
3/ This appears to be either an error in collecting the sample or in
recording the data.

Table 19. Relation of Method of Handling Potatoes at Packinghouse
to Amount of Skinning, Hastings Area, 1948.
Method of : Average : Estimated proportion of total skin removed
handling at at : Samples collected
: age at: From bags : Before : After
packinghouse : digging : in the field : grading : grading
Days Percent Percent Percent
House No. 1 -
Unloaded direct
from truck 93.5 8.8 14.8 31.3
House No. 2 -
Bags stacked in
racks 94.0 6.7 19.8 36.0
House No. 3 -
Bags poured into
bins 94.5 10.5 28.8 47.9


Cuts and Bruises.- The Red Bliss and Pontiac varieties are more suscepti-
ble to cuts and bruises than the Sebago variety. Therefore, cuts and bruises
were greater in Dade County than in the Hastings area (Table 17). In samples







-28-


taken just after the potatoes were dumped on the conveyor to the washing
machine, 14 percent of the potatoes by weight showed cuts and bruises in the
Red Bliss variety, 10 percent in Pontiac and only four percent in Sebago
(Table 20) Additional cuts and bruises might have taken place in the process
of grading and packing. If so, these were throwm out in the grading process
for in both areas samples taken after grading showed less cut and bruised
potatoes than samples taken before the potatoes were graded.

Cuts and bruises decreased with age of potatoes at digging in the Red
Bliss variety, declining from 18 percent to 12 percent by weight as average
age went from 101 to 115 days. In the cases of these samples, there was no
definite relation between age at digging and cuts and bruises in either the
Pontiac or Sebago variety.

Bacterial Soft Rot.- In test lots sent out from Dade County, bacterial
soft rot was found in 59 percent of the special bags examined at the terminal
market in contrast to only 23 percent from the Hastings area, The amount of
soft rot was one percent or more in 46 percent of the cases examined from Dade
county but in only six percent of the cases did it amount to this much from
the Hastings area. The amount of soft rot was greater in lots containing cut
and bruised potatoes although there was no definite relation between amount of
cuts and bruises and amount of soft rot.. As indicated above, Red Bliss and
Pontiac are more susceptible to cuts and bruises than the Sebago variety. Cuts
in these varieties also tend to be deeper which makes it more difficult to
dry them after the potatoes are washed. In the Red Bliss variety, 71 percent
of the special bags inspected at the terminal market showed more than one
percent soft rot in comparison with only 27 percent for the Pontiac variety and
six percent for the Sebago variety. In many cases, the inspector made a note
to the effect that soft rot started in deep cuts.

Table 20. Relation of Age of Potatoes at Digging
to Cuts and Bruises, Florida, 1948.
Age of potatoes : Dade County : Hastings Area
at digging : Red Bliss : Pontiac : Sebago
Average age-days
Low third 100.8 96.1 87.5
Medium third 106.8 105.3 96.0
High third 114.9 110.2 103.3
Average 10?77 10.1l 95.6
Proportion of potatoes by weight, per
25 pound sample, showing cuts and bruises
Before jrading-percent/
Low third 1-.74 6.5 4.O
Medium third 12.4 10.4 O60
High third 11.6 11.2 3,6
Average 14.0 9.6 3.8
Aftet- g Raglngtfrcent2/
Low third 13.6 5.5 3.8
Medium third 9.6 4.8 4.0
High third 10.4 6.5 2 2
Average 11.2 5.6 3.3
1/ Based on Samples 3 & ,4
Z/ Based on samples $ & 6.







-29-


Another.possible explanation of the smaller amount of soft rot in the
Sebago variety is found in a comparison of Ryan thermometer records for the
two areas (Table 21). The temperature at time of shipment was about the same.
The temperature in transit for potatoes from Dade County did not get down to
safe levels until the third or fourth day after shipment. The temperature of
potatoes from the Hastings area was down to a safe point by the end of the
second day. The potatoes from the Hastings area moved into colder weather
quicker and it is also probable that the burlap bags allowed the potatoes to
cool off faster than the paper bags used in Dade County.

Table 21. Average Temperature in Transit
Dade County and Hastings Area, 1948.*
: Average temperature in transit
Tme : Dade County : Hastings Area

Degrees F Degrees F
Beginning 83.3 84.2
12 hours 82.3 75.5
1 day 81.7 74.9
2 days 77.4 69.8
3 days 71.9 63.9
4 days 68.2 59.6
5 days 65.8 56.6
End 59.4 56.0
1/ Based on an average of 18 Ryan records from each area -
cars mainly to New York and Chicago.

Although the test lots sent out from the Hastings area showed very little
soft rot on inspection at the terminal market, 64 percent contained potatoes
that developed soft rot around the lenticels. These lenticel areas usually
dried out before the potatoes reached the market and the soft rot stopped.
In many cases this resulted in dark sunken areas around the lenticels that
gave the potatoes an unattractive appearance. In severe cases, this seriously
affected their sales value and at times was the cause of rejection by the buyer.
Many of the potatoes in 1948 had enlarged lenticels due to the wet weather in
the early part of the growing season. Water got into these openings in the
washing process. If they were not thoroughly dried out, bacterial soft rot
tended to develop in them. In many cases, potatoes were not thoroughly diied
when they went through the drying equipment. Lenticel infection was much
more severe in these lots. One of the main reasons for poor drying was over-
crowding of the drier. Often 50 to 75 percent more potatoes were run through
the machines than they could dry efficiently.

Browning.- Browning was much more severe in test lots from the Hastings
area than in lots from Dade County (Table 16). Only about four percent of the
potatoes by weight from Dade County showed browning upon arrival at the
terminal market. This amount increased to about six percent when the potatoes
were held five days. Ten percent of the potatoes from the Hastings area showed
browning when they reached the terminal market. During the five day holding
period, browning increased and at the end about 42 percent of the potatoes
were affected. Browning, while it does not usually cause spoilage, reduces
the demand for the potato as far as the homemaker is concerned.







-30-


Browning was associated with variety, amount of skinning and in some
cases, age at digging. In the Sebago variety, every lot showed browning at
the end of the five day holding period. This compared with 66 percent of the
lots for the Pontiac variety and only 43 percent for the Red Bliss variety
(Table 22). The proportion of potatoes showing browning in lots affected also
varied by varieties. In the Red Bliss variety, in each 25 pound sample only
.2 pounds of potatoes in the lots affected showed browning compared to 3.6
pounds in the Pontiac variety and 10.4 pounds in the Sebago variety. This was
one, 14 and 42 percent respectively.


Table 22. Relation of Estimated Skinning to
at End of Five-day Holding Period in Terminal


skinning


Low third
Medium third
High third
Average
Proportion of total
Low third
Medium third
High third
Average
Amount of brown
Low third
Medium third
High third
Average


Estimated : Variety


Dade County
Red Bliss : Pontiac
timated skinning -- percent
1.2 1.2
2.5 3.2
5.0- 5.7
2.9 3.k


Amount of Browning
Market. Florida. 1948.


:Hastings Area
: Sebago


14.5
35.0
50.5
33.9


Lples inspected showing browning -- percent
20.0 70.0 100.0
4o.o 55.6 100.0
75.0 70.0 100o.
12.8 65.5 100.0
per 25 pound sample affected -- pounds
0.1 2.3 8.6
0.2 3.1 11.5
0.4 5.1 12.1
0.2 3.6 10.4


The amount of browning increased as the amount of skinning increased. In
the Hastings area, browning averaged 8.6 pounds per 25 pound sample for the
group with the least skinning as compared to 12.1 pounds for the group with the
highest skinning (Table 22). The same relation existed for Pontiac with
browning being more than twice as much in the group with high skinning as
compared to the group with low skinning. In the Pontiac variety, browning was
much higher in the low age group as compared to the more mature potatoes (table
23) partly due no doubt to the increased skinning in this group. In the Sebago
variety, there was no relation between age and the amount of browning in the
1948 results.

Scald Spots.- Scald spots were very rare in test lots from Dade County.
Only nine percent of the lots inspected at the terminal market showed scald
spots on arrival. In these, the amounts were very small. In the Hastings area,
29 percent of the lots inspected at the terminal market showed scald spots and
23 percent sticky scald spots. On the average, samples from this area included
about four-tenths pounds of potatoes showing scald spots and sticky scald spots.

Miscellaneous defects.- The samples were inspected for other defects such
as deep pitted scab, greening, insect injury, blight, other rots, etc. A small
amount of scab was found in about one-third of the lots from Dade County, but


sam


sam


Es






-31-


Table 23. Relation of Age of Potatoes at Digging to Amount of Browning
at End of Five-day Holding Period in Terminal Market, Florida, 1948.
: T Variety
Age at Dade County : Hastings Area
digging : Red Bliss Ponbiac : Sebago

Age at digging days
Low third 100.8 96.1 87.5
Medium third 106,8 105.3 96.0
High third 114.9 110.2 103.3
Average 107.7 104.1 95.6

Proportion of total samples inspected showing browning percent
Low third 100.0 55.6 100.0
Medium third 20,0 80.0 100.0
High third 0.0 60.0 100.0
Average 42.8 65.5 100.0

Amount of browning per 25 pound sample affected pounds
Low third 0,6 5.2 10.5
Medium third 1/ 4.9 10.4
High third 0.3 10.3
Average 0.2 3.6 10.4
1/ Less than 0.14

potatoes effected were thrown out in the grading process. Practically no scab
was found in the Hastings area. About three-fourths of the lots from the
Hastings area contained potatoes that showed greening. The excessive rains
during the first two weeks in March caused some washing of beds which left some
of the potatoes exposed to the sunlight. Potatoes showing greening were
usually thrown out in the grading process.

About three-fourths of the lots in each area showed damage from insect
injury. In Dade County most of the damage was due to wire worms while in the
Hastings area a lot of the damage was grub injury. Some of the potatoes show-
ing insect injury were graded out. The effectiveness of the grading on insect
injury was difficult to measure. It was much easier to see insect damage after
the potatoes were washed. Samples collected before the potatoes were washed
probably contained some insect damage that was overlooked in the inspection.

Blight was very well controlled in both areas in 1948. Practically no
potatoes showing damage from blight were found in the lots in Dade County.
About one-fifth of the lots from the Hastings area showed some blight damage
but the amount was small. Blight was severe in some of the earlier plantings
but favorable weather stopped the spread of blight to the later plantings.
Occasionally potatoes were found showing damage caused by such diseases as
blackleg, brownrot, rhizoctonia, stem end browning, etc. The total amount of
damage of this type was small, however.

CONCLUSIONS
In 1948, income from potatoes in Florida was reduced by at least 70 thou-
sand dollars as the result of adjustments necessary because of the condition of
the potatoes when they reached the terminal market. Most of the adjustment







-32-


was due to spoilage resulting from various factors, but some was due to poor
appearance and shrinkage resulting from shipping very immature potatoes. High
prices, as existed at the beginning of the marketing season in the Hastings
area, often encourage some growers to dig their potatoes while they are still
immature. This results in an increased risk from decay in transit, increased
shrinkage, and potatoes of poor appearance. Such practices often result in
declining prices and a very unstable market. This penalizes the grower that
is trying to harvest a quality product. All of the loss in marketing potatoes
cannot be eliminated, but the amount can be reduced by more care in handling
and preparing the product for market.

As a whole., the potatoes in Dade County were handled more orderly and with
greater care than potatoes in the Hastings area. One of the major problems in
Dade County is to reduce the amount of cut and bruised potatoes. More attention
should be given to the elimination of long drops in the washing and grading
machinery and the use of padding where drops are unavoidable. Special attention
should be given to proper adjustment of diggers and the elimination of excess-
ive exposure in the field.

Losses due to deterioration in quality were greater in the Hastings area
than in Dade County apparently due more to the nature of the market than to the
quality of the product. The market was stable or rising during most of the
season in Dade County wihle prices underwent a substantial drop about the
middle of the season in the Hastings area. Equally off-grade potatoes were
rejected from the Hastings area when they were accepted from shippers in Dade
County. Shippers from the Hastings area also were required to make greater
adjustments for potatoes mot meeting contractual standards and thus took
greater losses for equally off-grade stock.

A serious problem in the Hastings area is the large amount of skin removed
from the potatoes in the handling process. On the basis of the data collected
during the 1948 season, it appears that the most important contribution to
improved quality would be in allowing potatoes to mature properly either
through delayed digging or through defoliation, avoidance of long periods of
exposure in the field between picking up and hauling, careful checking of
equipment to eliminate long drops, padding of unavoidable drops, and a more
careful operation of washing and drying equipment. Special emphasis should
be placed on exercising more care in handling potatoes all along the line. In
many houses, too much attention is placed on volume even though this results in
practices that reduce quality and increase losses. Too often the potatoes
are handled roughly and carelessly and the volume of potatoes run through the
washing and drying machines is much greater than the intended capacity of the
equipment. This results in excessive skinning, poor drying, and a lower
quality product.

In both areas the major sources of trouble could be eliminated without
excessive cost. Both growers and shippers should strive to eliminate those
things that result in damage to the potatoes and/or a lower quality product.
Reducing the factors that cause spoilage and improving the appearance of the
product should result in increased returns to both producers and shippers.
Potato growers, especially in the Hastings area and West Florida, are having
greater competition from other producing areas. To meet this competition, it
becomes increasingly important that they try to produce, harvest and pack a
better product.









-33-


APPENDIX










APPiNDIX


Cooperative work was carried on vith eight shippers, four in Dade County and
four in the Hastings area. Separate summaries were made showing results of test
lots sent out by each shipper. The tables in the appendix include this information
for each shipper cooperating in the study.


Table 1. Daily Mean, High, and Low Temperature and
March 3-25, 1948 Goulds, Florida


Relative Humidity


: Temperature :Relative humidity
Date : Mean : High : Low : Variation : Mean : High : Low : Variation


Degrees F.


BtegrCees-


March 3
4
5
6

7
8
9
10
11
12
13

14
15
16
17
18
19
20

21
22
23
24
25

Average


73.1 88.3 54.9 33.4


74.0 83.6 65.9 17.7







Table 2. Daily Mean, High and Low Temperatures and Relative Humidity
April 10-May 7, 1948 Hastings, Florida.
: Temperature : Relative humidity
Date : Mean : High : Low : Variation : vean ; High : Low : Variation


April 10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
May 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Average


Degrees F.
56
56
614
56
58
59
55
56
56
57
49
51
147
55
5h
52
51
57
59
50
43
45
52
58
56
63
66
51


69.3 83.8 54.7 29.1


-56 3f
54 4(
54 4(
51 4!
51 4!
65 25
57 3
h4 s5


91
94
96
96
96
94
95
9h

95
95
96
95
96
94
95
95
96
95
95
92
95
914
93
94
94
97
100
95


74.9 9451.1.8 43.0


Table 3. Variety of Potatoes in Test Lots
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 19h8.
: Number of test lots
Variety House number : All
SA : B : C : D : houses

Dade County
Dakota Chief Pontiac 1 1
Pontiac 4 26 30
Red Bliss 30 5 8 43
Total 30 -T 31 8 7T

Hastings Area
Pontiac 2
Sebago 12 18 19 10 59
Total 12 20 19 10 61


30
41
45
45
56
37
41
42
S22
34
55
43
58
S1
42
49
46
40
h*o
68
56









Table 4. Variation in Age of Potatoes at Digging, by Houses
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of test lots
Age of potatoes (bays) ; House number : All
SA : B : C ; D : houses.

Dade County
Less than 95 2 2
95 99 10 10
100 104 5 5 4 14
105 109 11 4 7 3 25
110 114 6 1 7 1 15
115 119 7 7
120 124 1 1
Total 30 31 74'
Average age (days) 110 108 103 106 106

Hastings Area
Less than 85 1 1 2 4
85 89 5 3 8
90 94 5 3 5 1 lh
95 99 4 5 6 15
100 104 2 5 3 2 12
105 109 1 7 8
Total 12 20 19 10 61
Average age (days) 94 94 94 104 96

Variation in Temperature of the Soil at Time of Digging Potatoes, by Houses
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 3.948.
: Number of test lots
Soil temperature (OF) r House number All
: A : B : C : D : houses

Dade County
65 69 1 1
70 74 14 1 12 5 32
75 79 10 2 18 2 32
80 84 5 2 1 8
85 89 1 1
Total 30 ~ 31 8 --'7
Average temperature (OF) 75.3 78.4 75.1 75.0 75.4

Hastings Area
65 69 2 3 5
70 74 3 6 7 2 18
75 79 3 8 6 3 20.
80 84 1 1 4 2 8
85 89 3 2 2 3 10
Total 12 20 19 10 61
Average temperature (OF) 77.0 75.3 78.0 79.4 77.2


Table 5.









Table 6. Lapse in Time between Digging and Picking up Potatoes, by Houses
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1918.
: Number of test lots
Lapse of time in picking : House number : All
up (minutes) ; A : B : C : D : houses

Dade County
15 or less 11 1 31 8 34
16 30 8 11 19
31 5 5 2 I 11
46 -60 5 1 6
61 and over 1 2 1 4
Total 30 3 31 8 -"7
Average time (minutes) 32 58 24 0 27

Hastings Area
15 or less 9 20 10 10 49
16 30 2 8 10
31 i5 1 1
46 60 1 1
Total 12 20 19 10 61
Average time (minutes) 10 7 16 4 10



Table 7. Lapse in Time between Picking up and Hauling Potatoes from Field
to Packinghouse, by Houses, Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida 1948.
: Number of test lots
Variation in hauling : House number : All
from field (minutes) :A :B : : D : houses

Dade County
Less than 60 8 1 6 6 21
60 119 15 I 11 2 32
120 179 6 9 15
180 239 1 2 3
240 299 1 1
300 and over 2 2
Total 30 31 8 77
Average time (minutes) 89 71 128 50 100

Hastings Area
Less than 60 1 1 7 9
60 119 3 5 5 3 16
120 179 6 6 6 18
.180 239 3 3 6
240 299 1 2 3
300 and over 1 h 4 9
Total 12 20 19 10 1
Average time (minutes) 288 270 356 53 264









Table 8. Length of Time Required to Haul Potatoes from Field to Packinghouse,
by Houses, Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.
: Number of test lots
Length of time (minutes) : House number : All
: A : B' : : i : houses

Dade County
Less than 10 1 2 7 10
10 19 26 1 7 7 I1
20 29 3 2 16 1 22
30 -39 1 1
Total 30 -- ~31-- ~ 7~
Average time (minutes) 12 14 17 12 14

Hastings Area
Less than 10 1 6 3 10
10 19 3 6 5 6 20
20 29 3 5 4 1 13
30 39 2 3 2 7
40 49 2 1 3
50 59 1 2 3
60 and over 3 1 1 5
Total 12 20 19 10
Average time (minutes) 56 29 20 10 28


Table 9. Length of Time Potatoes Remained in Packinghouse before Grading, by Houses,
Dade County and Hastings Area, Florida, 198.
: lumber of test lots
Length of time in packing-: House number : All
house (hours) : 'A : B : C : D :houses


Less than 1.0
1 5.9
6 11.9
12 23.9
24 35.9
36 47.9
48 59.9
60 and over
Total
Average time (hours)


Less than 1.0
1 1.9
2 2.9
3 3.9
4 4.9
5 5.9
6 and over
Total
Average time (hours)


Dade County
4


1
14 4 11 1
.3 4
1 6
1 3
4 7
30 _31 8
22.6 27.0 40.9 3,7


Hastings Area
i6 10
3


2 6
12 20 19 10
2.4 8.8 0.4 0.1


7
7
1
30
7
7
4
11

28.6


34
7
8
3
1

8
3.1
3.5











Table 10.


Variation in Temperature of Potatoes, by Houses,
Dade County, Florida, 19488.


: Number of test lots
Temperature of potatoes : House number : All
(OF) : A : B : C : D : houses

Temperature arriving at shed


Not recorded
Total
Average temperature (OF)


1 1
30 5 31 8
80.6 81.0 81.9 77.4


Temperature going on washer


65 69
70 74
75 79
80 84
Not recorded
Total
Average temperature (OF)


Total


1 2
9 3 8 3
10 2 14 3
9 5 2
1 2
30 5 31 8
76.5 74.7 75.7 76.01/


Temperature coming out of dryer
1 1 6
8 2 18 1
19 3 11 1
2 1
30 31 8


3
23
29
16
3

76. 0/


8
29
34
3
74


Average temperature (OF) 80.9 79.7 79.3 74.12/ 80.02/

1/ Potatoes fan dried
2/ Does not include house D


8
18
31
13
2
2
-4.
78
80.8


~










Table 11. Variation in Temperature of Potatoes, by Houses,
Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.

: Number of test lots
Temperature of potatoes : House number : All
(OF) : A : B : C : D :houses


Temperature


70 74
75 79
80 84
85 89
Not recorded
Total

Average temperature (OF)


65 69
70 74
75 79
80 84
85 89
Not recorded
Total


Average temperature (OF)


74
79
84
89
Total


arriving
3 4
4 8
3 5
1 2


at shed
4
5
7
1


i 1 2
12 20 19 10

78.5 78.0 79.4 80.4


Temperature poing on washer


1
4 8 4
6 9 5
1 1 7
1 1 2
1
12 20 19


4
6

10


76.8 75.8 79.41/80.4


Temperature coming out of dryer
1 3 8
4 11 8 3
6 5 3 3
1 1 4
12 20 19 10


Average temperature (OF)


80.3 78.0 76..1/83.1


1/ Potatoes fan dried
2/ Does not include house C


11
21
21


78.9
78.9


1
16
24
15
4
1
-61

77.2/

12
26
17
6
61








Grading Record of Test Lots,
Dade County, Florida, 1948.


by Houses,


: House number : All
trade A : B : C : D : houses

Average weight of lot pounds
U. S. No. 1A 5977 10830 6008 5775 6294
U. S. No. 1B 622 260 648 325 576
U. S. No. 2 and/or
Commercials 893 1350 752 1106 888
U. S. No. 3 102 72 58 96 81
Culls 82 198 260 112 168
Total 7 1676 T27210 7 7 T26 o=7
Percentage of total percent
U. S. No. 1A 77.9 85.3 77.8 77.9 78.6
U. S. No. 1B 8.1 2.0 8.4 4.4 7.2
U. S. No. 2 and/or
Commercials 11.6 10.6 9.7 14.9 11.1
U. S. No. 3 1.3 .6 .7 1.3 1.0
Culls 1.1 1.5 3.4 1.5 2.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0


Table 13. Grading Record of Test Lots, by Houses,
Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.

G: House number : Al
Grade : A : B : C : D : houses

Average weight of lot pounds
U. S. No. 1 and 1A 7750 8764 7542" 990 8221
U. S. No. 1B 3134 2045 2626 1680 2380
Commercials 679 600 305 548 515
U. S. No. 3 and 4 1000 886 940 755 904
Culls 323 530 394 170 388
Total 12886 12825 11807 T1213 12408

Percentage of total percent
U. S. No. 1 and lA 60.1 68.4 63.9 74.0 66.2
U. b. No. 1B 24.3 15.9 22.2 13.9 19.2
Commercials 5.3 4.7 2.6 4.5 4.2
U. S. No. 3 and 4 7.8 6.9 8.0 6.2 7.3
Culls 2.5 -4.1 3.3 1.4 3.1
Total 1 00.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 1000


Table 12,














Loss in Weight of Potatoes in Test Shipments
Dade County, Florida, 1948.


: ou~;e number : All
: A B : C : D : houses


Loss in weight from shipping point to terminal market


Number of bags
Average days in transit
Average weight (pounds):
At shipping point
At destination
Loss in weight
Percent loss
Bags less than 50 lbs.
at destination:
Number
Percent


14 7 52
6.0 5.7 6.4


52.1
50.8
1.3
2.5


51.7
50.5
1.2
2.3


53,2
51.5
1.7
3.2


0 1 16
0 14.3 30.8


1/ 73
6.2

52.0
50.7
1.3
2.5


17
23.3


Loss in weight of samples
Number of samples
Average days held
Average weight (pounds):
Weight at beginning
Weight at inspection
Loss in weight
Percent loss


during
2
4.0

25.1
24.6
.5
2.1


holding
46
5.0

25.0
214.4
.6
2.2


period
48
5.0

25.0
24.4
.6
2.2


1/ No bags weighed at shipping point or destination.


Table 14.


Item












Table 15.


Loss in Weight of Potatoes in Test Shipments
Hastings Area, Florida, 1948.


: House number : All
Item : A : B : C : D : houses


Loss in weight from shipping


Number of bags
Average days intransit
Average weight (pounds):
At shipping point
At destination
Loss in weight
Percent loss
Bags less than 100 lbs.
at destination:
Number
Percent

Loss in weight of
Number of samples
Average days held
Average weight (pounds):
Weight at beginning
Weight at inspection
Loss in weight
Percent loss


point to terminal market


2 5 17
6.2


1/
99.8


7 31


/ 2/ 1/
99.8 99.6 100.9
2.9.~
2.9


1 2 15
50.0 4o.o 88.3


samples
2
4.5

49.4
46.9
2.5
5.1


during

5.2

49.8
47.1
2,4
4.9


2
28.6


holding period
17 7 31
4.6 '.4,3 4.6


47.3
45.5
1.8
3.9


48.3
47.0
1.3
2.7


I/ No bags weighed at shipping point.
2/ Only 13 bags weighed at shipping point--average weight 101.9
pounds, weight at destination 99.0 pounds. Loss in weight
2.9 pounds.


99.6



20
64.6


48.1
46.2
1.9
3.8











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