October 8, 2020, marks the official end of the European Union’s grace period on CIPC residue, following the product’s June 2019 deregistration in that market. While CIPC is not banned here in North America, the EU’s decision is a reminder it may be in potato growers’ best interest to think beyond CIPC for sustainable potato storage.
For more than 50 years, potato producers have depended often exclusively on CIPC for sprout control. While the product is effective at suppressing sprouting, the world’s view of standard pesticide technology has changed over the past five to 10 years. Today, consumers, processors and politicians are demanding greener, more sustainable inputs at every stage of crop production, including storage. In the case of potato pile management, technology has kept pace with that demand — today, there is a new and improved storage management product that not only achieves a greener, more sustainable storage, but also offers additional value-added benefits to the industry.
1,4DMN (1,4-Dimethylnaphthalen) is a naturally occurring green biochemical that is a highly effective alternative to CIPC. It can also be used as a complement to CIPC to help with that first step of reducing total standard pesticide usage. 1,4DMN is formulated by 1,4Group Inc as 1,4Sight® for table stock and processing potatoes and 1,4Seed® for seed stock. Both formulations go beyond simple sprout control to extend field fresh quality.
1,4SIGHT is the only true dormancy enhancer available on the North American market today. Applied right at or soon after bin close-up, 1,4SIGHT helps stablize a pile. In addition to inhibiting sprouting, 1,4SIGHT triggers internal potato genes that help retain tuber quality by minimizing both shrinkage and fungal spread within storage. On short-dormancy varieties, 1,4SIGHT can be used as a stand-alone to maintain dormancy and quality and keep moisture-loss in check immediately post-harvest. On longer-dormancy varieties, 1,4SIGHT can be applied at door closure and then followed with later applications with or without CIPC. In our experience, 1,4SIGHT has offered synergistic benefits to CIPC, improving CIPC’s efficiency at lower rates then CIPC alone, thereby allowing reduced use of standard pesticide chemistry.
I’m always disappointed to hear potato producers admit that they expect a certain amount of quality degradation through storage. That doesn’t have to be the case. Yes, it’s true that potato storage can’t operate as a ‘hospital’ where a poorer quality tuber and can be transform it into a higher-quality tuber. That said, potato producers who invest in a quality building and a multi-staged storage management program should expect their storage to act as a ‘hotel’ by keeping tubers comfortable and maintaining quality from storage close-up right through shipping. To provide a “five star hotel” environment resulting in superior long term quality, producers need to shift from thinking of a one-time sprout suppression treatment to a multi-staged storage management program.