On a field tour this summer, I had a long conversation over lunch with a potato producer from Manitoba. A chatty guy who was happy to make conversation, he mentioned he’d read a couple of my previous Insiders columns from early in the year. I asked him what he’d thought of the January article that detailed the big and growing concerns about CIPC — that it lingers long in storage buildings; that changing global politics could make its residue a future trade barrier. He’d read the article, he said, but admitted he hadn’t given it a ton of thought given CIPC’s use is so ubiquitous across potato storages.
Our conversation meandered on through the season’s wild weather and harvest ahead. Over coffee before we headed back to the field, he proudly told me about his farm business’ recent growth — how he’d invested in more acres, was turning around better average yields, and just last year had completed two new potato storage sheds.
Since storage season is my passion and dormancy enhancement is always top of my mind, I couldn’t help asking him what he’d used for sprout control in the new buildings. His face literally froze the moment he realised the answer to my question.
In a brand new, high-tech, big-investment building, he’d done what he’s always done for sprout control: CIPC.
Suddenly, our earlier conversation about CIPC gained a new level of intensity. He wanted to know how long a storage is contaminated after CIPC application (the answer, unfortunately, is possibly decades). He wanted to know if it’s true that CIPC is detectable deep inside a bin’s concrete floor years after application (yes). And he wanted to know whether it’s likely that residue concerns could limit international market access (while there’s no way to know the future, its quite logical that residue could become a significant market impediment now that Europe has deregulated CIPC’s use, and Japan has outright banned it.)
It’s brutal being the bearer of bad news. I’d much rather focus on opportunity, sustainability, and innovation, all of which already exist in potato dormancy enhancement.
Bio-control products 1,4SIGHT and 1,4SEED are sustainable, safe and highly effective (plus 98 per cent) at managing sprouting and peeping all storage season long and carry no environmental contamination downsides. Naturally occurring, they work hormonally to create true dormancy control by triggering the production of natural dormancy-enhancing enzymes inside the tuber. 1,4SIGHT and 1,4SEED also offer important secondary benefits, including decreased moisture loss and less bruising.