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Focus on biostimulants: Keep potato crops stress free with ‘Bridgeway’

Keeping potato crops stress free is not an easy job for growers, particularly when one considers the key growth periods of June through to August are also potentially some of the most stressful for the crop, with temperature and drought stress being particularly prevalent.

According to crop specialists at UK-based Interagro, early crop stress, which reduces the rate of carbon assimilation and decreases partitioning of assimilates to the tubers, is the most detrimental to tuberization, bulking and tuber yield and beating stress is therefore a necessary evil to protect yield.

Interagro’s specialists point out that with the potato tuber being mainly composed of photo-assimilates, mostly starch, any mechanism to stimulate photosynthesis and translocation of the end product to the underground stem offers the possibility to increase tuber yield, and this is where biostimulant Bridgeway could be particularly useful. 

Interagro’s Bridgeway biostimulant product is said to offer the possibility of reducing stress by improving root health and by increasing the rate of photosynthesis.

During 2017, 2018 and 2019, CMI Ltd investigated the effect of the biostimulant Bridgeway in commercial potato crops for Interagro. The trials investigated the influence of different application timings and sequences of Bridgeway on the growth and yield of potatoes.

In all trials, crop husbandry was even across the site, and management aimed to remove all constraints other than those under investigation – all sites were irrigated with drip irrigation. Bridgeway was applied to the foliage of potatoes at a rate of 2 litres per hectare at each application timing investigated. Data from individual harvests were analysed by analysis of variance. 

The 2019 trials were conducted to look at the effect of total Bridgeway dose on the potato crop. 

Timings of treatments applied:

  • Ob – Onset of tuber bulking (first tubers >10mm) – 5th July
  • 2 weeks post Ob – 17th July
  • 4 weeks post Ob – 31st July

Test digs were made on: 3rd July, 17th July, 30th July, 27th August, 6th September and 25th September.

Stress occurred during the early part of the season. Significant differences in tuber yield occurred from harvest 3 onwards and there was a trend for increasing yield with increasing number of Bridgeway applications.

Whilst the untreated gave a yield of 32.9 t/ha, 2 and 3 applications of Bridgeway gave a statistically significant yield increase of +4.1 t/ha & +5.2 t/ha respectively, and a very healthy margin over input cost of +£698/ha with 2 applications and +£850/ha with 3 applications.

2019 trials – Bridgeway increased yield and margins significantly. Three applications optimal

Effect of Bridgeway on tuber yield (t/ha) and margin over input cost (£)
All Bridgeway treatments applied at 2.0 L/Ha

CMI 2019, Wilsford. Potatoes cv Sapphire. P = 0.002. Harvested 6th September. SD = Significant difference. Potatoes at £175/t  MOIC based on Bridgeway £10/L

Interagro came to the following conclusions after the three years of trials:
  • In 2017, 2018 and 2019 visual observations were no indicator of what was happening below ground
  • In 2017, 2018 and 2019 yields with Bridgeway were increased significantly
  • Bridgeway helped potato crops cope better with stress
  • Stress occurred at some point during the trial period in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and Bridgeway applications closest to the stress period had the biggest impact on yield 
  • Programme approach optimal in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with 2 or 3 applications delivering the maximum response

Full trial results can be found on this page of the Interagro website: https://www.interagro.co.uk/a-3-year-review-of-bridgeway-in-potatoes/

Further details from Interagro’s Marketing Manager, Sarah Ferrie:|
M: +44(0)7799 603856
T: +44(0)1279 714970 /
E: [email protected]

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