Sunday, June 16, 2019

Growers urged to consider all sprout suppressant options

April 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

The latest scientific progress in post-harvest potato research and development was presented to growers and industry advisors last month.

Held in Norwich on 12-14 March, the post-harvest section of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) meeting focused on the future of long-term storage in the likely absence of sprout suppressant chlorpropham (CIPC).

AHDB crop storage senior scientist Glyn Harper, who helped build the programme for the event, said: “This  is a big year for the potato industry and the future of long-term storage. The likely absence of CIPC in Europe is one such challenge.”

The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group (PICSG) has continued to promote best practice for use of chlorpropham for sprout suppression in the UK – helping to maintain the availability of the sprout suppressant since stewardship was introduced in January 2008.

Appeal committee

Despite this, Brussels has recommended that authorisation for CIPC is not renewed – even though there have been significant improvements in the efficiency of CIPC applications and no reported UK exceedances of maximum residue levels since February 2014.

A meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) earlier this year failed to achieve a qualified majority to support non-renewal, with a decision moving to an EU Appeal Committee expected to meet within six weeks.

Stewardship group chairman Mike Storey stressed that the timeframes and outcomes of any decisions for the recommendation on non-renewal and the establishment of a temporary maximum residue limit were not yet known or agreed.

‘Potentially critical’

But Dr Storey warned: “The implications for industry are potentially critical.

“Growers and store managers need to consider what these recent EU developments about probable non-renewal of CIPC mean and be aware of the most recent technical developments around sprout management options for their own businesses.

“They should be speaking with their supply chain partners, customers and advisors to get the latest information. AHDB have enhanced their Sutton Bridge research and KE activities to address this developing scenario.”

A temporary maximum residue level is an exceptional measure but may be granted at a level safe for consumers while accounting for low-level contamination of potatoes by CIPC residues. This would allow for continued marketing of stored crops in future years.

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