The Importance of Potatoes’ “Second Season”


Spud Smart Editor Ashley Robinson, and I recently sat down for a quick Q&A about storing potatoes. Here’s a summary version of our conversation. You can watch the full conversation above. Thanks for your interest, Ashley!

Ashley Robinson (AR): With suberization complete and winter in full swing, what should growers be thinking about at this time of year?

Bill Orr (BO): Right now, it’s key to watch for any tuber activity in storage because January is the start of when things really tend to happen in storage, and fast. Watch for rot and peeping, obviously, but also more generally for how active or how dormant your pile is. Monitoring is key.

AR: How big of a concern are storage losses?

BO: Storage losses are always a big concern, and they can escalate quickly. That’s why it’s important to monitor your storage constantly. Having multiple people regularly checking a storage is best so nothing gets missed.

AR: CIPC has been the workhorse of potato sprout suppression for 60 years, and it’s highly effective. What is 1,4SIGHT and why might producers consider using it instead?

BO: 1,4SIGHT is a 1,4 diethylene-based product. It’s a biocontrol product based on a synthetically produced version of a hormone that naturally occurs in potatoes. 1,4SIGHT works via a completely different mode of action than CIPC. CIPC stops cell division, so its only function and ability is to inhibit growth. 1,4SIGHT is a true dormancy enhancer. It triggers enzymes in the potato that keep the tuber in a resting state. It also offers ancillary benefits including decreasing water loss and reducing the appearance of pressure bruise.

AR: One of the big priorities in agriculture today is sustainability. Can you tell us how 1,4SIGHT impacts potatoes’ environmental footprint?   

BO: Being a biocontrol, 1,4SIGHT is a more sustainable storage option. Whereas CIPC is a herbicide that stays on a potato as particles, 1,4SIGHT is a vapour when it goes into storage and volatilizes away over time. Unlike CIPC, 1,4SIGHT doesn’t carry storage or environmental contamination concerns.

AR: What types of potatoes can 1,4SIGHT be used in? Is it suitable for processing, table stock and seed potatoes?

BO: 1,4SIGHT can be used in table and processing potatoes. Its sister product, 1,4SEED, which is essentially the same product registered for use in seed potatoes, is one of the only products registered to manage dormancy in seed stock.

AR: Do you see 1,4SIGHT being the sprout control product of the future?

BO: I definitely do. CIPC has been deregulated in Europe, so the bulk of sprout control is now done with 1,4SIGHT. We are currently working to get an MRL through Codex and an MRL for Japan for 1,4SIGHT, and hope to have results soon.

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Canada Technical Representative, One Four Group - Bill Orr started in the sprout inhibitor application industry quite by accident. After college, he worked for a tree care company and sprout inhibitor applications were its fall area of business. This was before the VFD was introduced into the application process in Canada. After enduring those dirty times cleaning up after applications, Orr continued on for another 14 years in the industry. He quickly moved on to doing applications, then technical training for applicators, next to managing the entire application process, and eventually to owning his own sprout inhibitor application company. His application experience has allowed him to do application in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Orr finds sprout inhibiting a very interesting and unique industry, and he enjoys all the dynamics and challenges it has to offer.