Isolated blight outbreaks rising

RECENT THUNDERY weather has lead to further development of potato blight in some areas, according to latest British Potato Council (BPC) reports.

In the past week (w/e June 27) there have been a further six outbreaks confirmed in England and Wales, plus one more in Scotland, although overall blight incidence remains below last year, experts said.

High humidity and night time temperatures, coupled with showers has given a flush of Smith Periods in the Southwest, southern England, coastal Wales and parts of northern England, said Nick Bradshaw of ADAS.

“A feature of all the crop outbreaks is that they are described as ‘scattered infections throughout the crop’.

“This strongly indicates the presence of a source of sprouting material somewhere in the vicinity of these outbreaks.”

With wetter weather forecast, which will encourage the disease, growers should maintain robust spray programmes and maintain short intervals while crops are going through rapid haulm growth, he said.

Crops not sprayed sufficiently during rapid haulm growth are more likely to be infected later in the growing season when the risk increases, added the Scottish Agricultural College’s Ruairidh Bain.

“It is vital to remember that blight risk can be very localised. What matters is the risk status where your crops are and therefore access to good local information is important.”

Visit the BPC’s blight mapping website for latest regional blight reports.


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