Pest outlook

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06 April 2022
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Top tips on strategy considerations

ANDREW Goodinson, agronomist and potato specialist at Hutchinsons offers insights into  three of the most important potato pests in the field; late blight (Phytophthora infestans), early blight (Alternaria alternata and A. solani) and aphids. 

Based in Herefordshire, Andrew has been working for Hutchinsons for 16 years and looks after nearly 8000 ha of farmland, ranging from Cirencester, to the Welsh borders, south Shropshire and Worcester.

He is advising growers to use the full extent of the toolbox actives for late blight control strategies. Potato growers should not lower their guard when it comes to late blight control, warns Andrew. He recommends they invest in a range of actives which can be applied according to the conditions and stresses present when Hutton Criteria are triggered.  

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Genotyping undertaken at the James Hutton Institute identified increased incidence of new blight strain 36_A2 to 36 percent of outbreaks in England, whilst fluazinam-insensitive 37_A2 (formerly known as Dark Green 37) was less prevalent than in 2020. Its previous rise caused alarm bells to sound across the sector, resulting in growers reducing the use of fluazinam in their blight control programmes to ensure resistance management. However, this resulted in an increase in costs.

Andrew said: “Now that 37_A2 is on the wane, fluazinam can responsibly be re-incorporated into programmes again. However, it should only be used at full rate (400ml/ha) mid-programme and growers need to be careful not to select for 37_A2 by using it on its own."

To continue reading this feature, see our May issue of Potato Review. You can subscribe here

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