10 April 1998

Little-and-often approach limits tuber damage

INTERNAL rust spot appeared in tubers for the first time last year at R Bratley (Quadring), Spalding, Lincs.

Fortunately for manager, Joe Bratley, his decision to apply foliar calcium to both Maris Piper and Maris Squire meant tuber damage was limited, with no severe blemishes being found in produce destined for the pre-pack market.

"We still had the condition in all our potato crops, but we reduced the scale and cost implications considerably," he stresses. "Some other crops were rendered worthless by rust spot."

Mr Bratley followed a little-and-often approach on the 69ha (170 acres) of potatoes, exploiting frequent blight sprays to keep applying calcium. "But I will be starting with it much earlier this year.

"We did not begin applying Calmax until the really hot spell in July last year, by which time some of the damage had been done."

He now intends to make foliar calcium applications routine. "Having seen what the alternative is, Calmax is a small price to pay for having a saleable product. As it also helps retain tuber condition during storage, it has a double benefit on this farm." &#42

Joe Bratley successfully minimised first-time rust spot with Calmax.

Potato Technology event

Cutting waste is the key theme of this years Potato Technology event at Sutton Bridge, Lincs on May 13/14. Organised by the BPC it is expected to attract over 150 trade and science exhibitors. Both the Sutton Bridge experimental unit and packing station will be open to visitors. Entry is free and tickets can be pre-booked with the BPC (01865-782260).