By FWi staff

WARM wet weather means potato crops in England and Wales are at risk from blight, the British Potato Council and ADAS have warned.

Rapid haulm growth over the past week means prompt action is needed to prevent blight becoming established, especially in maincrop potatoes.

“Clearly a return to prolonged, dry, settled weather will greatly ease the situation but, under the prevailing conditions, the risk from blight is too great to be ignored,” reports the BPC.

Spray programmes should now be underway on all but the most backward of crops, advises Nick Bradshaw of consultants ADAS.

For later emerging potatoes, precautionary sprays should be applied before haulm growth meets between the planted rows. This early treatment should be followed by the main blight spray programme.

Any haulm found on potato dumps should be destroyed – either by burying, covering with black polythene sheeting, or by treating with a herbicide such as glyphosate.