Spud Watch: Cool temperatures keep blight risk low

At the time of writing, the weather has turned from dry, but cool, to very wet and cool.

Thus far, on the eastern side of North Yorkshire, we have escaped the worst of the downpours. I have measured 55mm so far in June on the Wolds, where I live.

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Clients around the Darlington area and in Northumberland have had double, clients in Cheshire have had three times as much.

One client described it to me as being like the Somme – much like parts of Lincolnshire, I suspect.

Variable canopies

Luckily the weather has been cool and as a result I have not had too many Hutton period warnings.

Spray intervals have been stretched and in some instances, particularly for later-planted crops, haven’t started yet, which does worry me somewhat.

Surprisingly, canopy development has been very variable, considering how well things were planted.

I wonder if this is as a result of the high temperatures some seed crops endured last year.

There will be plenty of crops that won’t achieve full ground cover by the longest day.

As yet I haven’t seen any blight, but with crop canopies developing rapidly, we mustn’t be complacent.

We must also bear in mind the need for anti-resistance strategies, not relying on single actives alone.

While the weather is unsettled and intervals are stretched, I am recommending the use of Zorvec Enicade (oxathiapiprolin) to give a reliable 10 days of protection, using the Rhapsody twin pack as opposed to the Gachinko twin pack so as not to use up tuber blight options later in the season.

Seed crops are fully emerged, and first inspections have started. Aphid pressure is again high, but there is an abundance of ladybirds about, which will help.

Some growers are having a go with oils, much like continental Europe, to help deter aphids from landing and probing.

So far, so good, but it is a learning process, particularly when it comes to how much to use and what to mix it with without causing any phytotoxicity.