Potato blight risks

23 April 1999

Potato blight risks

HIDDEN blight in seed tubers poses a bigger threat to potato crops than usual this season, making early treatment vital, according to fungicide maker Du Pont.

Last seasons heavy disease pressure and the expected use of more home-saved seed, sometimes cut to counter shortages, are the main explanations, says the firms John Austin.

Compared with the US, seed-borne blight in the UK has always been regarded as a relatively minor source of trouble in comparison with sxdumps and volunteers. But symptomless infection of seed can all too easily lead to an early explosion of the disease, warns the firms international blight specialist Ron Hamlen.

Best defence is to treat the crop at the rosette stage rather than wait until crops meet down the rows, suggests Mr Austin. The firms Curzate M (cymoxanil + mancozeb), which this season has a new seven-day interval recommendation, provides both the systemic and protectant action needed at this stage, he says.

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