Don’t overlook ongoing tuber blight threat

After one of the worst foliar blight seasons for 50 years, many growers will be relieved to find lower than expected levels of tuber blight in stored crops so far this autumn. But, don’t get complacent, the British Potato Council has warned.

“We’re still in unchartered waters,” BPC Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit’s Adrian Cunnington told growers attending British Potato 2007 in Harrogate (28 & 29 November). “We haven’t seen the consequences going into store yet, but problems could still develop.”

He was unsure exactly why the blight incidence in stores had not been as high as feared, although more effective active ingredients in newer chemistry, or drier weather during early autumn could have played a part, he acknowledged.

Black dot risk had also been high this year and it remained a threat to pre-pack crops, especially where rapid temperature reduction had not been achieved, Mr Cunnington added. “Wash samples to ensure stored crops will meet market specification.

“You need to maintain vigilance through regular inspections.”

A soil test – developed as part of a BPC project – was now available to detect black dot and where growers were concerned about the disease, testing pre-planting would allow them to stop the disease getting a foot-hold next season, he said.

Growers can get the latest storage advice from the BPC’s Storage Advice line, 0800 028 2111, or visit the BPC website.

***All the news from BP07***

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