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Why you should plan early for successful potato late blight control

It is of course already well known that blight is a constant threat and significant cost to potato growers. To offset blight, potato growers in Northern Ireland should put plans in place as early as possible with their Basis agronomist to ensure a proactive approach is taken to prevent the disease, according to a report published by the Newsroom at Farming Life.

Robin Bolton, Senior Crops Development Adviser at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) said: “Controlling the disease is becoming increasingly difficult each season as blight fungicide active ingredients are withdrawn from the market and blight produces new strains which prove resistant or less sensitive to some of the current chemistry.

“Results from Euroblight monitoring for 2019 indicate that the new 37A2 strain of blight is now widely established in Northern Ireland and as such blight control from Fluazinam (Shirlan) can no longer be relied upon. Also the 36 A2 was also detected in Northern Ireland and this strain is thought to be more aggressive.

“New active ingredients have come to the market, many of which have added to the ability to control blight. However with more widespread sexual reproduction the disease now has an increased ability to create new strains and if these new products are not used carefully, resistance could develop very quickly.”

In order to achieve putting less pressure on fungicides it is important that good Integrated Pest Management principles are applied for blight control. The most important thing when spraying to prevent blight is to start your programme early.

“The first Hutton period, indicating favourable weather conditions for blight, this year was issued on May 19 and the advice would be to have any emerged crops sprayed with fungicide. In the early stage of growth up to canopy complete, systemic and translaminar fungicides should be used to ensure new growth is protected.

Source: Read the full report in Farming Life here
Photo: Potatoes at the rosette stage receiving their first blight fungicide of the season following the issuing of the first Hutton Period alert on AHDB Blight Watch. Copyright: User (UGC) | Published in Farming Life

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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