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How spearmint oil fits into potato sprout control programmes

Spearmint oil has the potential to play a more prominent role in sprout control programmes post-CIPC, but users must prepare stores adequately to ensure success, reports Adam Clarke for Farmers Weekly in the UK.

Marketed by Kent-based Juno Plant Protection, Biox-M – a 100% spearmint oil product applied as a hot fog – made it to the UK in 2012.

Initial interest was in fresh sector, organics and in new stores, where managers feared for CIPC’s (chlorprophams) future and wanted to avoid long-term contamination of buildings.

One early adopter was fresh potato producer and packer Branston. Its agronomy director David Nelson explains that as CIPC wasn’t always 100% effective, particularly at the low rates set out in stewardship guidance, sprout control was sometimes variable.

With sprout tolerance in packing crops pegged at just 2mm, this created marketability problems where sprouting occurred. One option was to apply more CIPC to stop sprouting, but CIPC did not have any effect on historic sprout growth.

Initially spearmint oil was used to salvage these crops, as one effect is that it physically burns back developed sprouts, and any remaining tissue tends to fall off during grading.

“We immediately saw the benefit, as it was a way of turning potatoes that are very difficult to market into potatoes very easy to market.

Source: Read the full report in FWI here

See also: How to stop sprouting in potato stores without CIPC

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