The start of the 2015 potato season has one of the lowest levels of confirmed blight incidences since AHDB Potatoes ‘Fight against Blight’ service began in 2003 says the levy body.
“Following the 2014 season of high blight pressure it was anticipated control would be challenging,” said Claire Hodge, AHDB Potatoes blight specialist. “However, the cold start and the low level of Smith periods combined with robust control implemented by growers, has meant blight has not materialised as expected.”
She urged that growers contact their nearest Blight Scout so that samples of outbreaks could be sent to FERA to analysis: “Perhaps the strains present this year are the really resilient types which are active at lower temps. But we have to have the evidence base to understand this.”
“Blight has been pretty scarce,” confirmed Yorkshire based John Sarup of SPUD Agronomy. “Most ware growers I work with in Northern England have been on 8-10 day spray intervals but still using fairly robust chemistry, I suspect that at the end of the season they might have saved one or two passes but not a great deal product cost wise.”