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Make CIPC potato store decisions based on sprouting – not time interval

The Potato Council Winter Forum 2013 - held on 6th February 2013 at Harper Adams University.

Potato Council Winter Fair 2013

The Potato Council Winter Forum 2013 was held on 6th February 2013 at Harper Adams University

Whilst improved controls for the application of the potato sprout suppressant chlorpropham (CIPC) represent a huge industry leap forward for stewardship, store set up and subsequent ventilation management during application remain the most urgent areas for the industry to focus attention. That’s according to the Potato Council’s Head of R&D – and Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group Chairman – Dr Mike Storey, speaking at their Western region 2013 Winter Forum event held at Harper Adams.

He announced that the report from the CIPC stewardship group was delivered to the regulatory authority ACP (Advisory Committee on Pesticides) at the end of January. “This was our opportunity to make the case for the potato industry’s continuing need for CIPC and to demonstrate the progress of the Action Plan that has been rolled out over the last five years and which includes the change of statutory rates; the delivery of new R&D and practical advice; and robust industry monitoring for residues,” said Dr Storey.

“This demonstrates a clear commitment to stewardship and the industry’s awareness of the serious implications of exceedances that could see further restrictions on the use of CIPC.”

Yet with MRL exceedances having been found again recently, he reiterated the message that there is still work to do.

“Research shows that the majority of those responsible for the management of stored crops report that their practices have changed, indicating that best practice measures are being adopted. There is increasing recognition of the importance of positive ventilation to ensure more uniform application of CIPC.

“This is great progress, but with other research also showing some quite consistent intervals between applications, the question is whether treatments are being made on a calendar basis, rather than being based on need, according to the sprouting level.

“This is a key issue,” said Dr Storey. “There is a real opportunity to look at total dose of CIPC being applied, and look at where it may be reduced. The industry data shows that the crop will ‘hold’ for longer if the first CIPC treatment is applied early – so intervals are extended when timing is optimised, thus making every treatment go further and improving efficiency all round.”

He added that while the majority of CIPC exceedances have been tracked back to box stores destined for the fresh market, making these stores a key priority, he was clear that this should not lead to any complacency in the chipping and processing sectors.

Dr Storey concluded with three key ‘take home messages’ of ensure CIPC recommendations are made by a BASIS qualified advisor; review the store check-list especially where modifications may be needed to improve ventilation management, and thirdly work with NAAC listed CIPC applicators to comply with best practice.

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