INSIDERSPotato Growth Regulators and Sprout InhibitorsThe Right Time to Think Storage is Now

The Right Time to Think Storage is Now


With plants in full green and tubers only now starting to develop underground, July might seem like a strange time to talk potato storage. Actually, it’s exactly the right time. Here’s why.

For a very long time, our industry has thought good storage management meant a ‘once-and-done’ application of CIPC. The strategy works, sort of, but it’s environmentally and politically problematic and is very limited in its benefits.

There is a better way.

Farmers are increasingly realizing optimizing a crop through storage is about much more than just sprout suppression. In fact, storage management done right can actually enhance dormancy, reduce the appearance of bruising, maintain salable weight, and support field-fresh quality, all while being environmentally sustainable too.

1,4DMN (1,4-Dimethylnaphthalene), formulated as 1,4SIGHT for table stock and processing potatoes and 1,4SEED for seed stock, is the only true dormancy enhancer available on the North American market today. In addition to managing sprouting, 1,4 SIGHT triggers water loss limiting genes which retain tuber quality and minimize shrink. Because it’s a naturally occurring hormone which volatilizes away, it offers huge flexibility with timing — it can be safely applied to help settle a pile immediately after bin-close-up, applied anytime during storage to promote or reinstate dormancy, and/or applied right up to just a week or two before shipping to manage late-season sprouting and reduce the appearance of bruising.

1,4SIGHT can be applied as an alternative or compliment to CIPC. In our experience, 1,4SIGHT also appears to offer synergistic benefit to CIPC, improving CIPC’s efficiency at lower rates than CIPC alone.

When tubers go into storage after a stressful growing or harvest season, they can be very motivated to push sprouts. The cost of sprouting goes beyond rejection risk — every sprout is wasted energy, lost moisture, and lower returns. As such, the next step in an effective storage management program is the quick and effective control of even small sprouts. 1,4ZAP is a sustainable bio-chemical option which achieves more than 95 per cent burn-back with limited scent issues and no post-application worker safety concerns.

It makes sense to think about your storage strategy now, months before storage season actually begins, because summer offers the time and mental energy to consider your options and priorities. A well-managed storage program, supported by a quality storage building, effective ventilation system, and timely applications of 1,4SIGHT, can drastically reduce storage losses, translating to major improvements to your bottom line.

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Bill Orr
Bill Orr
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.