Potato growers could use desiccation to slash costs

Potato growers could make savings in fuel costs for haulm destruction, reduce soil damage and cut the risk of tuber disease spread by adopting Reglone desiccation programmes, according to Syngenta potato manager Tom Whitworth.

Whitworth said that the wet conditions have caused potato crops to stay green and leafy - making "power hungry" work for flail choppers that results in high fuel costs and slow work rates.

He said: "There is also the real risk that chopping and spreading a thick mulch of green leaf in wet conditions may encourage tuber diseases, including blight and Blackleg (Erwinia).

"The ground is so wet that, in many instances, growers would be better to leave the flail in the shed and adopt a two-spray desiccation programme, to minimise wheelings and soil damage prior to harvest.

"If they need to flail, then a pre-flail Reglone treatment will reduce the volume of haulm to be chopped, speeding up the process and reducing costs by making the flail operation easier and more efficient."

He added that desiccation of the green leaf and stem also reduces any mulch left on the soil surface, which will cut the risk of disease developing.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.