After months of hot dry weather, Irish potato growers are now concerned that a break in the weather could create ideal conditions for late blight to infect stressed crops.
According to a report, unsettled weather is expected for a least a week across Ireland with a mixture of sunny spells, heavy rain, rising temperatures and humid conditions expected. The forecast caused national meteorological service Met Eireann to reiterate a Status Yellow warning that current conditions are conducive to the spread of potato blight – which it expects is “likely to develop” in parts of west Ulster from 14 August.
The warning was first issues last Friday (10 August) and the forecaster also warned that, ‘Opportunities for both drying and spraying will be limited over the coming days’ which could create a perfect storm of conditions which favour disease development but prevent growers controlling its spread.
Photo Caption: Irish potato growers expect weather conditions to be ideal for the spread of potato late blight this week
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons
The post Irish potato growers worried by threat of blight appeared first on Hort News on 20 August 2018.
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.”
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