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Emergency copper usage authorisation for potato growers

Emergency copper usage authorisation

FURTHER UPDATE - 16th March 2020:

In Jersey, Cuprokylt has been granted an emergency authorisation for use as a fungicide on potatoes and tomatoes from 7th Feb 2020 until 31st December 2020.

This only applies to Jersey. For the rest of the UK, an application has been submitted for the use of the Certis copper hydroxide product called Funguran Progress, although this has not yet been approved.

If you have any questions, please contact your Certification Officer.

 

FIRST UPDATE - 24th January 2020:

We’re pleased that some of our licensees were able to attend our Organic Potato Blight Workshop in the latter part of 2019. Among other outcomes, it was agreed that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) would lead on pursuing the possibility of getting an emergency approval for copper for this season, and we’re now in a position to provide an update on this.

We’ve been told by Certis UK that they’ll support the organic potato sector this year with an emergency authorisation submission for a new copper hydroxide product, Funguran® Progress, for use against late blight. This application has been submitted by AHDB.

 

Selecting the correct copper product

Previously, emergency approvals for the use of copper on potatoes - the last one issued in 2018 - were for the copper oxychloride product, Cuprokylt (MAPP17079), but the low uptake of this product and evidence that some farms were using fertiliser products containing copper oxychloride for blight control, instead of using the approved product Cuprokylt, made it commercially non-viable for Certis UK to continue to support further emergency authorisations.

Certis UK understand the need of a copper product for organic potato growers and have been persuaded to apply for Funguran® Progress this year; however, without support from growers using the approved product, support for future emergency authorisations will cease for copper-based products on organic potatoes. Importantly, copper hydroxide and copper oxychloride have significantly different physio-chemical properties and are readily identifiable on fresh produce and in soil tests. It will be a legal requirement by Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) that only Funguran® Progress is used for the emergency authorisation, and as part of this process, random residue sampling may be carried out to ensure unauthorized copper oxychloride products are not being used.

Certis UK are aware that organic farmers should be implementing integrated crop management methods and only use pest control products when they can demonstrate a need, and when other methods of preventing risks to their crops are in place. Some organic producers have been successfully growing organic potatoes without recourse to use copper against late blight for a number of years, with the use of resistant varieties and putting into practice other crop management techniques to prevent the impact of late blight. When late blight remains a problem for some farms, it’s anticipated the use of the new copper hydroxide product will require written recommendation from a BASIS qualified agronomist, following good agricultural practice with blight forecasting.

 

Submission dosages

The submission for the emergency authorisation is based on:

  • A recommended application dose rate for Funguran® Progress of 2kg per hectare, with 4 applications per crop - between BBCH09 and BBCH97 - and a 14 day harvest interval
  • Funguran® Progress contains 350g Cu/kg, so using 8kg of the product over 4 applications will equate to 2.8kg of copper/ha
  • The total amount of copper that can be used per hectare is 4kg/ha/year with a total application of a maximum 28kg of copper/ha over a period of 7 years, with a maximum of 6kg/ha in any one year as required by the organic regulation, to provide some flexibility to use more in one year and less in another according to need

 

Actions to take

Although it’s unknown if the emergency authorisation will be approved by the minister, to help with supply planning, Certis UK need to secure the required product volume by the end of January. To ensure sufficient product is available for this year for those that may need it, it’s essential that growers are aware of this application, and for them to contact their supplier as soon as possible, giving details of the planned hectares of organic potatoes this season, as well as their estimated required quantities of Funguran® Progress.  

It’s proposed that the emergency approval will be authorized from the beginning of May and run for 120 days, with the hope that this will be sufficient to cover the risk period for the 2020 growing season.

If you have any queries, please contact your Certification Officer.