Keep fighting blight

POTATO GROWERS have been warned not to be lulled into a false sense of security by current low blight pressure.

The disease has been kept in check by low night temperatures, drying winds and, most importantly, effective spraying said the British Potato Council.

But some growers have been tempted to stretch blight spray intervals to 14 days, which is too long for comfort, warned ADAS blight expert Nick Bradshaw.

“Blight is undoubtedly out there, albeit at very low levels,” he said.

“It has the potential to develop extremely fast and could still cause yield losses if it becomes established.”

Where it has been too windy to spray and then too wet to travel, planned 10-day spray intervals have been extended to as much as 14 days noted Dr Bradshaw.

“There are clearly pressures to concentrate on lifting crops and with cereal harvesting imminent, there may be the temptation to give blight spraying a lower priority.”

Blight symptoms could be masked by physical damage or other problems such as Botrytis, he warned.

He conceded that risk of yield loss from blight is now reducing, but quality issues as a result of tuber infection will become more important.

Regular blight updates can be found on the BPC website.

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