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Crop protection plan, naturally!

February 2024

The potato world now knows fully-Phytophothora-resistent varieties. It took a few decades to reach this point. To be able to enjoy this moment as long as we can, it is essential that, from a practical viewpoint, the resistance is protected through crop protection. On the other hand, this will enable the fungus to develop reduced susceptibility. What is required is that there are sufficient active substances left for proper resistance-management.

A leaner package of chemicals will make companies look for other solutions. In response, Monsanto, and to an increasing extent other companies as well, has focused on solutions that are linked to crop resistance. I think that in Europe the use of natural protection will be more successful. With the takeover of Agraquest and Profyta by Bayer and Becker Underwood by BASF, this seems to be the chosen path; other companies are also already busy in the background. In the Netherlands, Kopper Outdoor and Ecostyle are attracting a lot of attention.

But people are also busy in the chemical industry. The cost of placing a new active chemical on the market has increased by 100 million to over 250 million euros within 20 years, a very different story when compared to a potato variety. Only chemicals with an environmentally-friendly profile now reach the market. There is the persistent misunderstanding that the maximum residue level is purely a safety standard. It is first as low as possible, as high as necessary for agricultural purposes and, naturally, safe for the consumer. Subsequently, retailers should be more aware of the significance of the additional requirements.

We are therefore faced with an enormous challenge to continue to develop new solutions. This requires the application of knowledge, especially from the other players in the potato sector and I’m happy to say that this Magazine plays a regular monthly role in this. To rephrase the Inland Revenue Service’s quote: ‘It may become better, but it won’t be easier’. Crop protection doesn’t lend itself to easy solutions. Cultivation starts with a well-chosen crop protection plan, in spite of the commotion about inspections.

Jan-Eric Geersing
Product manager, Cebeco Agrochemie


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