Decco U.S. Post-Harvest Inc. has been a well-known commodity in the fruit-packing industry for the past 13 years, saving growers time and money with its exclusive fungicide treatment technology.
The Monrovia, Calif.-based company’s patented dry application method helps orchardists around the country deliver their produce to cold storage facilities more efficiently, reducing labor and operations costs.
Growers spend less time waiting for their treatments to be completed — as compared to traditional vapor applications — and they save on fungicide expenses since the aerosol treatments are more targeted than the drench method.
Then there are the environmental benefits.
“Aerosol offers a good alternative to drench because it’s highly efficient, it’s contained and it meets all of the environmental regulations,” said Tim Madden, a Yakima, Wash.-based sales manager for Decco. “You don’t have problems with runoff and you don’t have to dispose of it.”
Madden explained that the dry fungicide application presents itself in a powder form, as opposed to vapor treatments, which take much longer to dry.
“We’re always trying to find ways to be more efficient in our applications so we can make the process more cost-effective for growers,” he said. “If they don’t have to wait around for their products to dry, they can get them into storage more quickly. That increases packouts and, ultimately, revenue.”
Decco U.S. Post-Harvest Inc. acquired Solutec, an agricultural wax manufacturer, in 2006 and now has offices in Yakima and Wenatchee, Wash. The company works mostly with growers and shippers in Central Washington, and has citrus fruit clients in California, Texas and Florida. The New York office works with growers in the Northeast and overseas.
Just last year, Decco built a laboratory in Wenatchee and hired post-harvest physiologist Parama Sikdar, to develop additional product lines. Madden said several compounds are currently being tested and could be introduced for the 2020 growing season.
“We’ve been looking at some new compounds that could work as anti-scald treatments in the pear and apple industry,” Madden said. “Before now, these chemicals haven’t been common in the pome fruit industry, but we’re finding that certain compounds can be used in other produce applications to limit scald in stored fruit.”
Scald occurs in some varieties of apples and pears during cold storage, turning the skin a dark black hue. The abnormality typically occurs in Anjou pears and Granny Smith apples, but Madden said Decco’s ethoxyquin (EMQ) compound could soon become a safer, more effective alternative to diphenylamine (DPA) as a way of preventing scald.
“The EMQ compound has been used almost exclusively on pears, but with DPA becoming more restricted around the world, apple growers are looking for an alternative,” he said. “We want to focus on providing a better way as the industry moves forward.”
Another area of growth for Decco has been improving safety and sanitization in packing facilities. The company recently introduced a new line of products that can be used to clean packing equipment, while a separate line of room-sanitization products is in development.
Organics are also a significant area of growth for Decco, Madden said, adding that researchers in the industry are always looking for ways to better serve organic fruit growers.
Sikdar and her team are currently working on some new advancements, including an organic-based fungicide for storage and organic compounds that can enhance the storability of fruit after it is packed.
“We’re expanding and growing constantly,” Madden said. “We’re just now starting to focus more of our attention on organics. There’s a huge demand right now, and we want to keep up.”