Spud Special: Rain has come too late

Heavy rain in parts of the area I cover has provided me with some interesting thoughts. Once again the total amounts have been very variable with over two inches in parts of Lancashire and less than half that amount in parts of Yorkshire.

For some areas, especially in Cheshire, the rain has come too late with crops that where destined for the chipping market not achieving size having to be marketed elsewhere. So for those crops that will have benefitted from the rain what will the effect be; growth cracks, secondary growth, chain tuberisation, sugar ends? 

I have even heard of some crops that had completed flowering and are now flowering again. At least temperatures have been a lot cooler and as such rapid growth spurts may be limited, however I am talking to my clients, who are not restricted by protocol, about the use of Maleic Hydrazide.

I have seen good results from its use providing it is applied according to label recommendations with the crop actively growing and not under stress.

I have yet to see any outbreaks of late blight, although I think it is only a matter of time. Recent weather will have favoured its development, certainly in gardens and on dumps where no protection has been applied. If the weather continues to be showery both Ranman TP (cyazofamid) and Revus (mandipropamid) offer the best with regard to rainfastness.

Aphid numbers are now starting to increase. My Potato Council-funded yellow water trap has shown an increase in Potato Virus Y cumulative index from 2.23 to 29.64 in the space of two weeks. Cereal aphids, Grain and Rose Grain account for most of that, although there were a number of Potato and a Peach Potato Aphid caught last week.

A lot of the seed crops I look after are getting close to burn down and to a degree will have “mature plant resistance,” however, it is any regrowth that I am worried about, especially if there is late aphid pressure. Monitor crops closely after burn off to make sure that desiccation has been successful, not always easy when flat out harvesting cereals, and be prepared to treat with an aphicide if necessary.

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