30 June 1995

New weapon to control volunteer potato weeds

OPTIONS for controlling the growing "acne" of volunteer potatoes in arable crops have been extended with the addition of a new maleic hydrazide product from Chiltern.

Source, from the Drexel Chemical Company of Memphis, Tennesse, is an "improved" formulation which offers a wider five-week spray window than existing products, says Chiltern.

Designed for UK conditions, the formulation is a water soluble granule packed in water soluble sachets. Use is possible from seven to three weeks before harvest, the product suppressing sprout growth on tubers left in the soil.

"Our trials show you get better control of volunteers the earlier you spray within the recommended period, so the extra two weeks that Source provides at the start of this period is good news for potato growers," says Philip Tavener, managing director at Chiltern.

Major weed

Volunteer potatoes have become a major weed for intensive vegetable growers who must ensure crops for processing are free from potato berries, adds technical manager Bob Nicholls. He warns that the problem is likely to worsen as the potato crop concentrates into fewer hands using tighter rotations.