Sprout suppression best practice for the 19-20 storage season

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Despite another challenging growing season, potato lifting is off to a steady start in many parts of the country and some of you will have already started loading stores. There is considerable regional variation, but current issues are centred around lack of moisture in the south and east increasing the risk of damage and bruising whilst growth cracking appears to be a problem in places hit by high rainfall in June. Wetter areas of the country are reporting problems such as blight, blackleg and soft rot in susceptible crops.  

CIPC-treated stores

This season will be the last to see harvested crop treated with CIPC and sold in the UK and Europe. Any CIPC application must therefore be made in full compliance with CIPC Stewardship and statutory label requirements. As a reminder, the maximum and total dose that can be applied is 24 g/t for the fresh market (limited to single application of 12 g/t for crops held below 5°C) and 36 g/t for processing. It is strongly recommended that a minimum dosage approach that still provides adequate levels of sprout control, is taken to mitigate CIPC residue contamination in subsequent seasons. Visit the Be CIPC Compliant website for best practice guidance.

CIPC-free stores

For those of you with new stores that have not received a CIPC treatment, it is strongly recommended that no CIPC is applied this season. Ethylene or spearmint oil are your alternative options, alongside maleic hydrazide (MH) if that has been applied. Both of these are not as consistent as CIPC in effectively controlling sprouting, with certain varieties responding better than others to their application (see research trials update). For ethylene in particular, a gradual increase in concentration is required when introducing it into stores. If you have used MH over the growing season, this is likely to result in better sprout control than if ethylene or spearmint oil had been used in isolation, as has been observed in research trials at Sutton Bridge. Make sure to consult your contractor and/or approval holders of your sprout suppressant of choice for technical guidance.

Historical use of CIPC

Are you currently storing potatoes in a store that won’t be treated with CIPC this year but has previously received treatments? These stores present an opportunity to test for CIPC residual levels and any collected data will help towards informing regulators on a temporary MRL, which is currently being sought. Do you have one of these stores? If so, we are keen to hear from you via email adrian.briddon@ahdb.org.uk or call us on 01406 351444.

Whether you use CIPC or one of the two alternative sprout suppressants currently registered for use, ensure that best practice is followed in your sprout control strategy. Unsure of how to tailor a strategy to your needs? Visit our Potato Storage Hub for further guidance on alternative sprout suppressants or call our free Storage Advice line on 0800 02 82 111 to speak with one of our storage experts.

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