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CIPC: Use it properly or lose it

2 August 2011

Growers should not delay using CIPC, as the sprout suppressant should be applied while tubers are still dormant.

Technologist Adrian Briddon from Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBSRC) reminds growers that, over the whole season, packing potatoes can receive up to only 36g / tonne of the sprout suppressant CIPC and processing potatoes up to 63.75g / tonne.

“Once sprouting occurs, store managers run the risk of needing to use too much CIPC,” explains Adrian. “Early use, before any sprouting occurs, is the best way of ensuring that limits are not exceeded.”

 Adrian warns growers that they should remain vigilant in applications, as exceeding the limits will be examined very closely by the Pesticide Residue Committee.

 “Basket surveys are still carried out and we can anticipate that potatoes will always be in them,” he continues. “Therefore it is vital to remain vigilant and use the chemical correctly.

“Furthermore, the belief that CIPC should not be applied until the temperature is below 10o is erroneous as the warmth will shorten the dormant period and cause sprouting to occur earlier,” he explains.

Adrian emphasises that correct timing of applications is vital, and the product should be applied as soon as curing is complete, which is within two weeks of lifting.

“Application programmes need to be front-heavy to pre-empt sprout growth,” he stresses.

In addition to improving controls on how the chemical is used, AHDB Potatoes research has continued to find ways of storing potatoes effectively with fewer treatments in addition to carrying out research to optimise CIPC use in box stores.

“We have some encouraging results in box stores with positive ventilation. The key is to get sufficient CIPC to the least accessible potatoes without overdosing any of the others,” explains Adrian. “We are working on evenness of supply, which is assisted by positive ventilation.”

“CIPC is critical to the industry,” he declares. “There is no alternative sprout suppressant, especially in the potato processing sector. It’s a case of use it properly or lose it. Let’s not lose it!”

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