After an unusually gentle winter across almost all of North America, most potato-growing areas have so far enjoyed a warmer than average spring. That’s good for farmers anxious to get into their fields, but risky too — stored tubers will be ‘waking up’ and raring to go sooner than usual. As you gear up for seeding, don’t let your stored crop get pushed entirely to the backburner. Losses which occur late in the storage season can take the biggest bite out of your stored crop’s quality and marketable yield.
Despite potatoes entering bins somewhat stressed last fall in many regions due to late season heat and drought stress, producers are generally reporting storage piles are holding in fairly good shape right now. That said, warm weather, especially if your storage facility doesn’t offer good temperature controls and/or you open the doors to partially unload or sort seed from table stock, will encourage significant sprouting.
Late-season dormancy enhancement options exist. 1,4SIGHT, applied as soon as you start to see activity in your pile, can re-quiet shipping, processing and fresh piles. If peeping or sprouting is already occurring, 1,4Zap, used either as a stand-alone rescue product or in conjunction with 1,4SIGHT, can stop sprouting in its tracks. Whereas CIPC is a particle which is only effective if it comes in very close contact with each individual eye on a tuber, both 1,4Zap and 1,4SIGHT are applied as vapours, which flow through even a settled pile easily.
There is an additional in-field observed benefit to a late season application of 1,4SIGHT in table, processing or chipper potatoes. More and more producers are reporting that, when applied a couple weeks before load-out, 1,4SIGHT reduces pressure bruise colour formation. While the product can’t remove the bruise, 1,4SIGHT triggers genes in tubers which make bruising significantly less visible. We’re working with independent ag researchers to better understand the mechanism and best practices for bruise management.
And finally, an apology. You know how sometimes when one has 1,000 thoughts in one’s head, what actually comes out of one’s mouth sounds somewhat garbled? Part of last month’s Insiders article was about the rescue product 1,4ZAP. Most of what I told you was bang on — it does deliver 95 to 100 per cent burn-back on sprouting, it is safe for workers, it carries no scent issue. But, I incorrectly wrote 1,4ZAP is a naturally-occurring potato hormone. In fact, it’s not. While some of our other products, 1,4DMN, 1,4SIGHT and 1,4SEED, are derived from a naturally-occurring potato hormone, 1,4ZAP is instead a biocontrol product. I regret the error and any confusion it caused.