Following a dry, hot summer; potato growers in Scotland and Northern England are facing very different conditions to last year, with silver scurf being seen on tubers pre harvest.
Scottish based Agrii agronomist, Colin Rennie explains that growers are faced with crops that have been extremely stressed by the lack of water through the summer, meaning that irrigation has been vital for crops to succeed.
He notes that although blight pressure has been reduced; because soil temperatures have been above average for the time of year, and tubers are warmer than usual, other disease pressures have come to the fore.
“We are seeing silver scurf appearing on crops yet to be harvested; normally this is only a disease concern during storage for Scottish farmers.”
He advises an application of an imazalil based fungicide, such as Fungazil 100 SL, to treat any silver scurf infection already established, and to stop any further storage diseases from taking hold.
“Hence why I encourage applications of Fungazil to be made on the harvester or at store loading,” says Colin. “Early application is more important than ever this season due to the tubers being under early pressure from silver scurf.”
A blanket treatment of the whole crop is advised. “This is another key benefit of Fungazil, as there is the option to treat both seed and ware potatoes,” says Colin.
Gangrene is another real risk this season with the dry soils, notes Colin. “If Fungazil is applied on the harvester, any tubers damaged during lifting, will be protected from developing gangrene.”
Certis’ Account Manager James Kennedy comments on the flexibility of Fungazil as a treatment. “With two treatments allowed for seed potatoes and one for ware, this provides the opportunity of creating a targeted plan according to the disease pressures, and how the crop is fairing in store.”
Colin adds, “Potato growers rely on the active - imazalil - to protect their crops from damaging disease pressures, and treatments made early, on the harvester or at store loading, will protect tubers through any storage period.”