Spud special: Loss of chemistry brings new challenges

Another growing season rolls into view and it brings with it new challenges as well as the perennial issues potato growers have to deal with.

Andy StevenSeed growers are busy in-store grading out stocks for delivery to ware growers.

It’s a hectic period over the next month or so and stocks have come through the winter in pretty good order.

One concern that is raised every season is how seed is transported and dealt with once it has arrived on farm.

See also: How a potato farm is leading the way on lower CIPC rates

The 1.25t bags were never designed for long-term storage, and to reduce risks in the growing crop from blackleg, it is important to get the seed transferred out of bags and into boxes as soon as possible –  unless the seed is going to the field for immediate planting.

The ongoing loss of chemistry to potato growers has finally claimed linuron – growers have until 3 June 2018 to use stock which will allow some use next year on a large part of the crop area.

Final sales of linuron will be this spring until 3 June so any growers needing stocks should speak to their suppliers sooner rather than later.

At least there are alternatives to linuron once it has gone.

More of a concern would be the possible loss of diquat and glyphosate, which would leave the industry with no obvious replacements for foliar desiccation and groundkeeper control respectively.

Recent briefings from agrochem manufacturers have provided some positive news with several new actives coming to the potato crop including insecticides and a nematicide.

These are exciting prospects and hopefully there won’t be any delays in the registration process.

Out in the field, planting of the earliest salad crops is probably a couple of weeks away with some potash being applied to land in preparation.

Hopefully, after a pretty benign winter we won’t suffer late appearance of snow.