22 March 2002

Volunteer potato alert

MILD winter weather means sugar beet growers could face another year of high volunteer potato populations, warns Dow Agrosciences.

Even low populations can reduce beet yields and harbour viruses, blight and nematodes, points out Dows Rene Pollak.

"Independent research shows that just one volunteer potato/sq m depresses sugar beet yields by 3t/ha."

Dow Shield at 0.5 litres/ha or 0.35 litres/ha should be applied in two or three passes respectively, starting when potato shoots are 5-10cm tall, he says. Ethofumesate in the tank-mix helps take the haulm down, as does Debut, adds colleague Donald Westwater. &#42