Europe, UK, Ireland, Storage, Studies/Reports

Report on pesticide use in British stored potatoes released

A report titled “Potato Stores in the UK” was released yesterday, presenting information on all aspects of pesticide usage during storage of potatoes harvested in 2020 and stored during 2020/2021. Data were collected by the Pesticide Usage Survey Teams at Fera Science Ltd, the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland.

The authors of the report are D. G. Garthwaite, G. Parrish, L. Ridley and E. Stroda. In an overview of the main findings, they say data were collected predominantly by postal survey and telephone from 45 farm stores and from 128 merchant stores in the United Kingdom.

The estimated weight of ware potatoes stored from the 2020 harvest was approximately 3.1 million tonnes, of which this survey estimated that 62% received no post-harvest treatment (79% of the untreated crop was in refrigerated stores). The basic tonnage treated was 1.2 million tonnes, though some potatoes received multiple treatments. The total tonnage treated, which includes multiple treatments to the same tonnage, was 2.1 million tonnes.

The biggest change to stored ware potatoes in 2020 has been the loss of approval for chlorpropham and the increased use of the biopesticide spearmint oil as a replacement sprout suppressant. This has probably been the biggest change in potato storage since tecnazene lost approval in the early 2000s.

Spearmint oil, used as a potato sprout suppressant, accounted for 76% of the total tonnage of ware potatoes treated, while 23% were treated with ethylene, and less than 1% with both imazalil and thiabendazole.

From this survey, it is estimated that 32% of the 506,108 tonnes of the stored seed potatoes were treated, either on entry to the store or during the storage period, with a single application of pesticides. The formulations recorded were imazalil, thiabendazole and ethylene, accounting for 88%, 7% and 5% of the total tonnage treated respectively.

Go here to access the full report. Enquiries or feedback on the statistics included in the report can be directed to the Pesticide Usage Survey Team – e-mail: or telephone: 01904 465 712, or by contacting Fera at:

Source: Fera
Photo: Courtesy AHDB
Related: Fera published reports

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