RUPERT, Idaho—Officials with Bayer CropScience said they underestimated the industry's reaction this spring when Japan balked at the maximum residue limit on imported processed potatoes treated with their new fungicide, Luna Tranquility.
Herbert Young, senior product manager for Luna fungicides, anticipated it would be a minor issue, given that Japan imports just 1.5 percent of the U.S. crop. Instead, the obstacle led the three major processors, who had no way to segregate spuds treated with the product, to prohibit its use by their growers in the Pacific Northwest. The region's fresh market growers also avoided Luna because their culled spuds are sometimes diverted to processing.
Company officials said they're making progress toward resolving the issue before next season, and they've learned a lesson about the industry's sensitivity to MRLs they plan to apply before they release their next new potato fungicide, Emesto Silver. It's a liquid seed treatment with a colored dye, facilitating even application by growers, effective against Fusarium, dry rot, silver scurf and seed-borne Rhizoctonia. It's already been released commercially in Canada and for trials in Idaho and Washington.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press