Recent wet weather has slowed planting progress although most ware planting is about finished with just seed remaining. Conditions at planting have generally been very good particularly for those who have been patient and not tried to force cultivations, although in some cases I can find compaction and as a result will probably review my nutrition programme to allow for restricted rooting.
Crops in Cheshire seem to be growing quickly and the earliest have reached the tuber initiation phase, in the absence of irrigation the recent rain will assist with scab control. So far, I haven’t seen any evidence of rhizoctonia/stolon pruning probably as a result of warmer soil temperatures and more rapid emergence.
I am keen to make use of moist potato ridges so I am encouraging clients to go sooner rather than later with pre-emergence herbicides. Memories of last year’s dry conditions, making oilseed rape volunteers particularly difficult to kill, are in the back of my mind, so moisture this year should help.
Soon thoughts will be turning to topping up nitrogen levels to the desired levels so I will be reviewing planting conditions, previous cropping, manure applications, taking into account irrigation availability, Potato cyst nematode levels, variety characteristics and end market, before making final decisions.