23 November 2001

Move crop away from tired soils

GROWERS finding it hard to harvest reasonable yields of quality potatoes to meet tighter market demands should move the crop to better land, or get out.

That was the message from potato agronomist David Hudson of marketing group Solanum at the Syngenta Potato Conference.

"A lot of UK potato soils, particularly in the fens, are tired out. Fenland growers who supply pre-packers are struggling with both yield and black dot problems. Those who grow for crisping on Notts and Yorks sands are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain yield due to soil-borne pests, and facing quality issues caused by rhizoctonia and black dot."

It may be too late for conventional good husbandry to save the situation. So a move to fresh land may be the only viable option for some producers, he said. &#42