WARE growers are being urged to prepare now for changes in the potato seed treatment line-up for 2020, as product choices and application method options have narrowed.
Seed treatments are used to protect against field diseases, rather than storage, principally Rhizoctonia solani, which causes black scurf and stem and stolon canker and black dot. Available seed treatments vary in efficacy, formulation and method of application, with liquid products used on seed at grading by seed suppliers or pre-planting on-farm. There are also powder products applied at planting.
Last October, Bayer announced it was pulling sales of market-leading powder treatment Monceren (pencycuron), citing “uncertainty over its regulatory future” as the key reason. This will force a big change in application practice because it was the only powder treatment still allowed to be hand sprinkled on seed tubers, either in the planter hopper, potato boxes or chitting trays.
It is estimated that this manual application method still accounted for about 30% of powder seed treatment use in 2019 and these growers will need to reconsider how they treat seed for 2020.
* For full details and expert advice, see the January issue of Potato Review.