Not feeling the heat

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30 September 2022
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Trials for heat stress product show promising results.

AS potato crops paid a heavy penalty from the summer’s record-breaking temperatures and drought in the UK, crop treatments manufacturer Syngenta revealed that where its heat-stress product had been applied, the areas produced around a third more in yields than others it had trialled.

First digs from this year’s Quantis heat-stress biostimulant field trials suggested yields would be more than 30% lower in untreated crops and, across a series of trials from the south-east to the mid-west, marketable yields are on average 24% higher in the Quantis treated areas. 

The total tuber numbers in marketable size grades have been on average 34% greater in the treated areas, reported Syngenta Technical Manager, Andy Cunningham.

“What appears apparent is that a Quantis application at early tuber initiation has been hugely beneficial in helping plants to set more tubers. Importantly, further applications during periods of heat stress through the growing season has enabled crops to keep growing and produce more marketable yield.”

All the trials yielded so far had received an application at tuber initiation, with two additional treatments during the tuber filling growth stages - at timings when the Quantis Heat Stress Alert tool forecast periods of challenging conditions.

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“Quantis research has shown best results can be achieved with applications two to three days prior to onset of heat stress,” said Andy.  “Nottingham University research has proven that Quantis helps plants to better regulate excess heat and continue to utilise available sunlight.”

Results of irrigated trials in Kent and the midlands were most noticeable in producing the greatest uplift in tuber numbers in the 50-60 mm size category. At Weobley in Herefordshire, the crop of Nectar produced 24% more tubers of marketable size and over 30% higher total tuber weight of marketable grades.

“The results have been remarkable, but not entirely surprising given the season’s temperatures,” said Andy. “However, it must be remembered even with consecutive days at 35-38⁰C plus, this season was the hottest summer since 2018. These events are becoming more frequent and more extreme – which growers need to prepare for.” he advised.

Heat continues to take its toll on UK supply
Feeling the heat
New Quantis gives relief to heat-stressed potatoes