Climate anticipated to convey potato crops and maleic hydrazide timings ahead – Farmers

An early season and the specter of secondary progress means potato growers ought to examine crops now for tuber sizing and be ready to use the product two weeks sooner than regular.

Largely dry and vivid climate this yr has offered wonderful rising situations for potato crops throughout the nation however is bringing with it some agronomic challenges.

Norfolk-based adviser Tim Kitson says irrigators have been working flat out to maintain up with crop water demand and a few unirrigated crops in East Anglia are already exhibiting indicators of stress.

See additionally: Why potato sprout administration now begins within the area

With excessive temperatures forecast into the second half of July, this results in a priority that when a deluge of rain does happen, secondary progress and chain tuberisation can be triggered that severely dent tuber high quality.

Maleic hydrazide helps mitigate the problem and Mr Kitson says this provides to an already compelling case to make use of it in potato crops destined for retailer.

“With potato markets tight, the very last thing you want is lack of high quality, and a well-timed utility of maleic hydrazide might help shield marketable yield. It’s also one of the best begin to storage programmes and lots of extra growers are utilizing it now,” he provides.

Two weeks earlier

“We’re about two weeks forward of standard when it comes to improvement, so we’re checking crops for measurement and situation and getting it on as quickly as situations enable,” he says.

Fellow potato specialist Andy Alexander oversees largely processing crops throughout East Anglia and says that since chlorpropham (CIPC) was banned, sprout management prices have elevated throughout the board.

With no like-for-like alternative, he says the significance of utilizing foliar utilized maleic hydrazide (MH) has elevated considerably, because it may give a protracted interval of sprout management within the early stage of medium- and long-term storage.

Storage financial savings

This may negate or delay the necessity for in-store fog remedies equivalent to mint and orange oils and ethylene fuel effectively into the spring.

“I’ve discovered that MH provides good management proper by way of to February or March. I’ve been utilizing numerous ethylene the place the top consumer permits, and it has helped delay functions till the spring.

“In different crops the place ethylene isn’t acceptable, growers have saved two or three functions of mint or orange oil in some instances,” says Mr Alexander.

He has been utilizing MH – contained in merchandise Crown MH and Fazor – for volunteer management for a few years, with the product stopping misplaced tubers from rising in following crops.

These vegetation can then develop into sources of illnesses equivalent to late blight and potyvirus for close by potato crops and propagate soil-borne pests and pathogens equivalent to potato cyst nematode (PCN) and rhizoctonia.

Up to now and when solely concentrating on volunteers, optimum utility parameters weren’t thought-about maybe as a lot as they need to have been, however now MH is the muse for sprout management, this should change to maximise its cost-saving potential in retailer.

Optimum timing

Mr Alexander says this implies making use of it to an unstressed crop that’s actively rising, forward of when it begins to senesce naturally and when tubers are the suitable measurement.

Producers suggest making use of three to 5 weeks earlier than the beginning of haulm destruction and he favours going as quickly as environmental situations are appropriate.

It’s significantly essential to take a look at temperatures and keep away from utility within the warmth of the day.

“One factor I’ll at all times advise growers to do is apply within the night or by way of the evening, with at the very least 24 hours of dry climate with no irrigation behind it. I additionally advise an enormous water fee of 450 litres/ha,” explains Mr Alexander.

Unirrigated crops

Mr Kitson says unirrigated crops could pose the most important problem for getting utility timing appropriate, as they are going to be below essentially the most stress if dry situations stay.

He says that customers can be conscious that making use of MH too early can hit yield, however the specter of secondary progress this season means it could be a danger price taking.

“I’ve seen missed areas the place growers have been trialling early MH functions in current seasons. The handled areas could have yielded much less, however there was much less secondary progress and fewer issues in retailer.

“It’s additionally essential to maintain MH-treated and non-treated crops and completely different fields separate, as it’ll make it simpler to observe dormancy all through the storage interval,” he provides.

Mr Kitson says his growers use a combination of Fazor and Crown MH, with no distinction in efficacy offering each merchandise are utilized on the proper time.

Closed switch system

Nonetheless, from an operational effectivity perspective, utilizing a closed switch system with 600-litre intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) makes life simpler for sprayer operators masking a bigger potato space.

Certis Belchim technical specialist Harry Raley says the product is transferred from IBCs into the sprayer utilizing a Knowledge Techniques Fastran 850 closed switch system, which is plumbed into the sprayer’s venturi system.

“It transfers the liquid at about 25 litres/min.”

Mr Raley notes that over the previous two seasons operators utilizing the IBC system have sprayed an additional load or two in shifts when situations have been good for MH utility, rising the possibilities of most uptake.

Maleic hydrazide in 2022 – key factors

  • Menace of secondary progress/chain tuberisation strengthens case for MH
  • Save on already excessive storage prices by delaying want for in-store remedy
  • Functions may have to be two weeks forward of standard – examine crops now
  • Apply in optimum situations:
    • Three to 5 weeks earlier than desiccation
    • When 80% of tubers are >25mm
    • Temperature <25C
    • Relative humidity >75% and unlikely to fall
    • No rain forecast or irrigation scheduled for at the very least 24 hours
    • Water charges of 400 litres/ha plus
  • Liquid formulation helps with operational effectivity