Processors advise against using new fungicide
The J.R. Simplot Company and ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston have issued advisories to their contract potato growers in the Columbia Basin and Idaho not to use Bayer CropScience's new fungicide Luna Tranquility.
At issue for the processors is the fungicide does not have established Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs) from Japan and other Pacific Rim countries.
A third processor, McCain's had yet to communicate to their growers on the topic and were continuing to explore options.
Herb Young, Bayer CropScience's fungicide product manager, horticulture, said that the U.S. tolerance for MRLs granted by the EPA is 0.02 ppm.
Japan will accept potatoes treated with Luna Tranquility with residues of 0.01 ppm until the fungicide is granted final Japanese MRLs. This default MRL of 0.01 applies to all new products pending establishment of final MRLs in Japan.
Young expressed confidence that actual residues would fall below the 0.01 default level but understood processors' hesitancy.
"We fully understand processors' concern and caution. Unfortunately, we missed an opportunity to communicate with them earlier," Young said.
"Still, we are confident the residues will be consistently under the default Japanese MRL," Young continued, "we are collaborating with processors to identify ways in which growers can take advantage of Luna's benefits this year and looking forward to securing the final Japanese MRL for next season."