• ONION yields from seeded maincrop were slightly up this year, despite later plantings, cool growing conditions and the wet autumn, according to the British Onion Producers Association. Total plantings were up 6%, producing an estimated 380,000t compared with last years 329,000t. Quality is generally good, although weather staining has hit some crops. Earlier harvested set crops were marginally lower yielding.
• A NEW high-potassium fertiliser with added magnesium is now available to vegetable and potato growers. Multi-K Mg is available in prill form, with an analysis of 12:0:43+4Mg. A water soluble powder version for foliar feeding is also available. Better yield, skin finish, dry matter content and storage performance are claimed by supplier Hi-Chem of Edgware, Middlesex. Cost is £86-100/ha (£35-40/acre).
NITROGEN use in vegetables is set for further refinement through the latest EU-funded research project. ENVEG will co-ordinate research across Europe, collating results to come up with the best recommendation system possible, says UK participant HRI Wellesbourne.
HERBICIDE resistance in broad-leaved weeds is a minimal threat to UK growers according to the Weed Resistance Action Group. Thanks to the way growers use products in sequences and mixes guidelines to prevent and manage blw resistance in the UK are not needed, it says. However, WRAG advises against relying solely on sulfonylurea herbicide to control common broad-leaved weeds throughout the rotation. Resistance to sulfonylureas has been confirmed in poppies in Spain and common chickweed in three north European countries.
CONSUMERS and environmentalists are getting a bigger say in the way pesticides are used on UK farms. The Pesticide Forum, the government-backed think-tank appointed to promote more responsible use of pesticides in farming, now includes seven members representing lower input farming, the environment and consumers. Just a third of the forums membership now represents mainstream farming interests.
LATEST biotech alliance between the major agro-cehmical manufacturers is between Rhône-Poulenc and Dow Agrosciences. Main aim of the joint research is to develop genetically modified plants and seed products containing more than one new characteristic. The initiative extends the co-operation already underway between RP and Dow subsidiary Mycogen, adding insect control genes and new crop opportunities. Key crops will be maize, rape, soya, sunflower, sugarcane and cotton. RP also has tolerance genes for glyphosate, bromoxynil and isoxazole herbicides.