With a view to the elimination of chlorpropham, Agrifirm has conducted proactive research in recent years into alternative solutions for sprouting inhibition in potatoes. The starting point is an environmentally conscious solution with a maximum storage result. Protection of your potatoes at the lowest possible cost.
That is why a pilot has been carried out in recent years: The Potato Store Coach. The Potato Storage Coach aims to keep potatoes longer, in a safe environment and without worries, even with the loss of chlorpropham, as a potato grower.
Eelco Tuinenga in Nagele (NOP) runs an arable farm with 15 hectares of ware potatoes in partnership with his parents. The building plan on the clay soil (35% sludgeable) also includes chicory, carrots, wheat, yellow and red onions and seed potatoes.
Maatschap Tuinenga has decades of experience in storing ware potatoes. Two years ago they invested in mechanical cooling and stopped using chlorpropham. They use MH in the summer as a germination and 1,4SIGHT in storage. They want to keep for a very long time, until week 30.
Our potatoes are in the ground for 4 months and in the shed for 10 months ”
Germ inhibition through the use of 1,4SIGHT means, according to Tuinenga, not only the use of another means, but a completely new approach. The active substance in this dormancy extender already occurs naturally in the potato and behaves completely differently in the shed.
Eelco indicates that this was quite difficult in the first year. With Chlorpropham you worked with a fixed schedule and a known effect. The use of 1,4SIGHT gave uncertainty: the drug is expensive and you need experience about how to apply it and what the effect is. You have to avoid blowing the product out of the shed, which was never an issue with Chlorpropham. The gaseous medium continues to move in the shed, so a good filling is important. Mechanical cooling is also essential in this concept.
You must also regularly measure how much of the agent has ended up in the potato. This is monitored by taking shell samples.
Part of the Bewaar Coach concept is also a scan by Exlan with a thermal camera. This shows where the ‘air and energy leaks’ are located and how big they are. The differences were greater than expected, mainly due to the effect of the seams on the insulation boards that continue under the rafters.
The first year went well. Due to market conditions, the potatoes had to be removed from the barn in April due to corona as animal feed, but came out as they had gone in.
Many experiences have already been built up in the pilot phase, which Agrifirm processes in a database so that the right strategy can be chosen in certain circumstances. Every shed is different and a lot of savings on medium use is possible. “You have to know what the effect is on the potatoes, because if they sprout you will be too late,” says Eelco.
When asked what could be improved in the approach, Tuinenga indicated that he would like to know the results of the peel samples directly in the box, so that he can respond more quickly to developments in the potatoes.
Despite the higher costs for the drug and the resistance he initially faced, Eelco Tuinenga is now very enthusiastic about the approach. Long-term storage even leads to a higher net balance, according to him! Less product is needed than the basic advice, the potatoes are calmer, so create less heat and dry out less. This allows you to deliver more kilograms and reduces the costs for cooling.
Eelco concluded the conversation with the words: “When I see how the potatoes come out, participating in the Potato Storage Coach was the right choice”.
Agrifirm is a cooperative in which more than 10,000 Dutch livestock farmers and growers have joined forces. In this way we achieve maximum purchasing advantage on high-quality products such as animal feed, seeds, fertilizers and crop protection products. And it gives us the strength to invest in knowledge and innovation. Knowledge that we translate into practical solutions for the farmyard. In this way we contribute to the sustainable and successful cultivation of crops and keeping animals. In short: a successful agricultural sector and a healthy future for all of us.