Spud Watch: Crops respond well to wet June

We have just had one of the wettest Junes for a number of years. On the Wolds I have emptied 120mm from the rain gauge, and nearer to the coast, 150mm is more likely.

Crops in the East have responded well to this moisture and most have achieved full ground cover by the longest day.

Early crops in the West have matured well and harvest has continued with positive reports about yield and quality from the fleeced crops of Maris Bard and Accord.

See also: Scottish spud farm puts trial research into practice

John Sarup

John Sarup

I found my first outbreak of blight this week. It looked as if the source was from seed-borne inoculum, as the lower stems were affected. Foliage all around was disease free, so I am happy with my blight control strategy to date.

I will be monitoring things much more closely now I know it’s out there.

This is very timely, as Wageningen University has just suggested that one of the strains of blight – EU-37, found reasonably frequently last year in the UK and responsible for a number of stores breaking down – is insensitive to fluazinam.

Therefore, in my opinion it is crucial that the full rate is always used and that it is mixed with a different product, such as cymoxanil, dimethomorph or cymoxanil+mancozeb.

See also: Fungicide resistance warning for new potato blight strain

Before the cereal harvest kicks off, now would be a good time to make sure your store hygiene is up to scratch.

Remember that disease spores will survive in dust, so as a bare minimum, remove as much dust as possible. Fogging with a disinfectant such as Jet 5 is also a good option.

It is also worthy to note that active recirculation will be required when applying CIPC to stores. This is more of a challenge in box stores, so a little time taken to plan now will save a lot of hassle at harvest time.