Pre-flail spud spray could increase work rates

Potato growers could increase flail work rates by up to 50% by applying Reglone (diquat) five days before flailing, according to latest research.

Scottish Agronomy trials showed that flail work rates were 30% better after the crop had been treated with 0.5 litres/ha of Reglone five days before and over 50% faster following a 1.0 litre/ha application.

Fuel costs were also reduced by £1.49/ha and £2.11/ha respectively, compared with the untreated, resulting in an overall saving of £7/ha (including the spray cost), claimed SA’s Eric Anderson.

“Faster flail operation can avoid a bottleneck in the system and help growers achieve more timely harvesting. They will also achieve a much cleaner flail chop and reduced material going over the harvester.”

The higher rate should be more suited to larger crops, such as King Edward or Maris Piper, while the lower rate could be used on less dense crops like Estima, he said. Ideal flail length is to leave 15-20cm of stem as a target for a follow-up spray three to five days after flailing, he suggested.