Sprout Suppression

Controlling sprouting in store – news, resources, research and video material on sprout control and related issues.

The political and regulatory situation for sprout control products is changing. Visit this page frequently to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

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Sprout suppression essentials

At harvest, potatoes are usually dormant and sprouting does not occur, even under conditions favourable for growth. The period of dormancy varies considerably by variety and season. After break of dormancy, sprouts grow at a rate primarily determined by temperature. Reducing storage temperature is, therefore, an effective way of controlling sprouting, by first prolonging dormancy and then limiting the rate of growth.

To avoid use of sprout suppressants entirely, storage temperatures need to be consistently below 3°C. However, potatoes held at such cold temperatures will be affected by low-temperature sweetening which can adversely affect taste, texture and colour on roasting/ frying. In potatoes stored for processing, where low temperature storage is not an option (because of poor fry colour), the use of sprout suppressants will be necessary for all but the shortest storage durations.

Minimisation strategies

Take steps to avoid unnecessary use of sprout suppressants.

Plan control strategies taking account of the following:

  • Varieties with long dormancy and low-temperature tolerance reduce the need for suppression
  • Segregate storage by dormancy – varieties with contrasting dormancy characteristics should be held in separate stores so only crops requiring suppressants are treated
  • Requirements can be limited by judicious use of combination treatments but always check market acceptability first.

Visit the Store Managers' Guide for more information

Still unsure? Call the storage advice line on: 0800 02 82 111