Getting the timing of the application of CIPC correct is crucial to ensuring no MRL exceedance, warns Dr Mike Storey, head of the UK's Potato Council R&D.
"Many stored crops will have received an initial CIPC treatment and now consideration has to turn to managing the correct timing of subsequent applications," he continues.
"If you don't get the timing of these right, you could reduce the time your potatoes can be stored and you may risk exceeding the 10mg/kg MRL residue limits."
Dr Storey, who chairs the CIPC Stewardship Group, goes on to explain that some eye movement does not necessarily mean that the initial application was ineffective as CIPC needs some active growth to be taken up effectively.
"Often the eyes just open, then take up available CIPC and growth is suppressed again," he explains. "It is worthwhile waiting, say a week, to see if the sprouting moves on a bit further, rather than just jumping straight in with an additional CIPC application.
He also recommends growers not to make early re-applications.
"It is also vital that records of the total CIPC application to a crop are available," he continues. "It would be disastrous if a crop that had been intended for the processed or chip shop market and received corresponding levels of the suppressant, were then sold to the fresh market. This could easily be prevented if merchants, processors and packers all have access to application records - this should be part of their due diligence."
The cross industry CIPC group recently won the prestigious international Agrow Award for Best Stewardship Programme to promote best practice and protect the availability of this crucial sprout suppressant.
"Despite this recognition, there is definitely no room for complacency," warns Dr Storey.
CIPC residues are being very closely monitored by the Pesticide Residue Committee and any evidence of incorrect total application or MRL exceedance will have serious consequences for the whole industry.
He goes on to remind store managers that over the whole season, potato crops destined for the fresh market can only receive up to 36g CIPC/tonne and processing potatoes up to 63.75g/tonne.
"CIPC is crucial and we all have a responsibility to use it properly," he declares. "There is no alternative sprout suppressant for use in the potato processing and chipping sector. We are in our third season of CIPC stewardship and we must keep doing all we can to ensure best practice is followed or we will lose it!"
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