29 January 1999

Get those spud seed dressings on

TREAT seed potatoes with fungicide as soon as they arrive on the farm. Leaving it until later could exacerbate emergence problems if planting is delayed, warns a leading agronomist.

"Get seed treated with liquids well in advance of planting," says Simon Bowen of Anglian Produce. That could be particularly important as seed is generally of lower quality this year, he notes.

"The late harvest of some seed crops has caused more damage and rotting. There is more powdery scab and we are starting to see increased levels of dry rots and gangrene."

Careful handling is essential, and damage caused must be cured to avoid further deterioration, he says.

Roller-table applications are the most accurate and effective. Only if planting is likely to be more than six weeks later should dressing be delayed.

Last years late plantings led to de-sprouting of many tubers on planters. The damaged tubers then struggled to recover in often cold and wet seed-beds, and there is some evidence of planter-applied liquid fungicides affecting emergence further, he notes.

In good conditions liquid applications on the planter are no problem. "The danger comes if plantings are delayed and seed-beds are poor," he stresses.

In-store treatments, if applied only two-three weeks before planting, are as effective as on-planter applications for control of tuber-borne skin-finish diseases such as rhizoctonia, he adds.

SPUD SEED TREATMENT TIPS

&#8226 Treat as soon as seed arrives, if not already dressed.

&#8226 Beware lower seed quality this year.

&#8226 Late planter-applied liquids questioned.

SEED TREATMENT TIPS

&#8226 Treat as soon as seed arrives, if not already dressed.

&#8226 Beware lower seed quality this year.

&#8226 Late planter-applied liquids questioned.