Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Potato blight warning from eminent scientist

Font L-R: David Cooke and David Eudale.
Back L-R: Marc Allison, Kerr Howatson and Ally Allan.
Font L-R: David Cooke and David Eudale. Back L-R: Marc Allison, Kerr Howatson and Ally Allan.

Warnings over aggressive new blight strains which can take crops down in days were not lost on dozens of potato farmers who gathered yesterday on the AHDB’s “Spot” monitor farm near Blairgowrie.

As blight-inducing rain poured down on the event marquee at Strathisla Farm, James Hutton Institute (JHI) scientist, Dr David Cooke said it was more crucial than ever that potato farmers sent in any samples of blight they find to be analysed by his team, as 37A2 – the new strain found in Scotland for the first time last year – has been found to be insensitive to the widely-used fungicide Fluazinam.

“Fluazinam just won’t manage it and blight will continue to spread when you think you’re protected – and that leads to complacency,” he said.

“Even though you’ve sprayed (the crop), blight will be spreading through the lower canopy and you’ll come back in a week and it can have gone through 20% of the foliage.

“At that point you’re fighting a losing battle because the idea of blight management is really prevention rather than cure.

“You need to be really careful of using Fluazinam, and if you have lots of it in the shed and want to use it up, make sure you use it at a low-risk period. A lot of advisers are saying not to use it, full stop.”

Dr Cooke said 66 blight outbreaks had been reported so far this year after the dry spring meant a slow start to the season.

The other new strain, 36A2 is now widespread in England and spreading north, but he said there is no evidence that it is resistant to Fluazinam.

Dr Cooke advised in wet weather, when conditions are good for the disease spreading, a seven-day spraying schedule is not enough and some growers are using a five-day spraying regime.

He added: “It’s not a popular message, but when you get mismatching of chemistry and disease spreading rapidly, suddenly you can be playing catch-up.”

He warned against relying on cheap sprays and advised using the most expensive chemistry when risks are high and bad weather is forecast.

Bruce Farms potato manager Kerr Howatson, who is running the trials for AHDB, said he was “not too worried” yet about the 37A2 strain.

However, he added: “If we begin to see a bit more of it in this area we would be concerned, but when it’s as far away as Ayrshire, we’re just keeping an eye on it and if we do get blight we’ll send a sample away to see what strain it is, Meanwhile we’re keeping up spraying and changing the active ingredients.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]