A warning has been issued to potato store managers not to apply the sprouting suppressant, chlorpropham, on crops going in to store in 2020.
The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group (PICSG) said the popular active, previously used on more than 90% of the 3.5m tonnes of potatoes stored in Britain, had withdrawal removed by the European Commission on January 8. The maximum ‘use-up’ period of nine months was set by the EU, with member states able to set their own date within that timeframe. This means the last possible use-up date is October 8 – during the very early stages of potato store loading in a typical season – a date now officially confirmed as the use-up date in the UK.
Some countries, including potato superpower Belgium, have taken this possibility out of the equation by bringing the use-up period forward to June.
Adrian Cunnington, head of crop storage research at AHDB, believed many growers are aware of the changes and will know that the 2019 harvest is the last that can be treated with CIPC.
He said: “Most growers are on top of this situation, but we are still receiving some worrying reports that there are producers who are not fully aware of the changes and consequences.