16 May 1997

Blight threat in SW

POTATO blight could be sparked off by expected humid weather in the south-west this weekend.

"The forecast is hot and sticky. We could end up with a blight period," says David Nelson of Lincs-based Branston Potatoes.

Overwintered volunteers combined with early crops being lifted, and largely unsprayed, means plenty of hosts. "Most crops are a week ahead of normal, so will need protecting."

lSome hail damage has been reported in the east. "It is relatively minor. It has shredded some bigger leaves, which could exacerbate damage from post-emergence herbicides. But with warmer weather those will be replaced pretty quickly," Mr Nelson notes. &#42