Potato growers in the Pacific Northwest will likely have to wait another season before using the new systemic fungicide Luna Tranquility by Bayer CropScience.
Processors prohibited the region's growers from using Luna last season, after its release in the U.S., due to potential concerns in Japan about the product's maximum residue limits. Bayer officials had hoped to have the MRL issues resolved by this spring, but now expect that won't happen until late fall.
Bayer has also begun apprising processors of a potential Japanese MRL challenge that could sideline its new potato seed treatment Emesto Silver in the Pacific Northwest.
Though Japan imports only roughly 1.5 percent of the U.S. crop, processors said they had no way to segregate potatoes treated with Luna. Fresh market growers in the region, who sometimes divert excess potatoes to processing, have also avoided Luna. Bayer product manager Charlie Bergmann said 2012 Luna sales were strong in the Midwest, where few potatoes are exported to Japan.
Luna Tranquility, a combination of two chemicals, controls diseases including white mold, early blight, brown spot and black dot.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press