Keeping foliage regularly clipped can help to reduce the incidence of Sclerotinia in carrots, a three-year BASF-backed trial has shown.
"The variety Nairobi is particularly prone to flopping over and creating disease risk under lodged foliage," said crop consultant Howard Hinds, who led the study.
The trial used a specially designed three-bed carrot-clipping machine that cuts back foliage between rows. "Clipping allows more air movement in the canopy and disease pressure is reduced," Hinds explained.
The clipper has a working speed of up to 10kmph, which enables it to cut more than 100ha in one day. Monitoring showed a 56 per reduction in Sclerotinia infection on average.
According to Hinds, the clipping process does not eliminate the need for a timely fungicide programme. However, it may reduce the need for later fungicide application. "The first application, which is normally Signum, is applied when the crop is standing and before it has closed over," he added.
A new BASF and ADAS-backed Sclerotinia monitoring system is now available to growers over the web, giving timely indication of disease risk.
According to ADAS Boxworth disease expert Dr Peter Gladders: "Growers should keep checking the published information on agriCentre and be ready to take action."
- See tinyurl.com/sclerotinia.