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Glyphosate - are your seed potatoes at risk?

10 August 2011

 

Seed potato growers with crops bordering cereals or oilseed rape should beware the on-going risk of contamination resulting from drift from neighbouring crops, warns AHDB Potatoes seed and export executive Sophie Lock. 
 
Used as a harvest aid for cereal crops and oilseed rape, glyphosate can cause significant damage to seed until after defoliation takes place, even at concentrations below the level of detection.  
 
“Drift can involve non-potato growing farmers and may cause damage that often goes unnoticed,” continues Ms Lock. “We are undertaking a cross-sector campaign to raise understanding of the vulnerability of seed potatoes and the potentially devastating consequences for their growers.  
 
“Damage often isn’t noticed until the crop has been marketed and replanted, causing commercial disputes that often take several years and large sums of money to resolve.” 
 
“However, once defoliation is complete, there is no further risk from drift.”
 
The AHDB Potatoes/HGCA awareness campaign focuses on two key areas:
 
1. Empowering the seed potato grower to better understand the risk from the area around his/her crop (especially on rented land)
2. Targeting information directly to cereal growers (who don’t grow potatoes) through fact sheets, and via AHDB Potatoes contacts in the cereals sector and other relevant industry bodies. 
 
AHDB Potatoes has produced a free leaflet and in-cab sticker to communicate glyphosate advice to seed potato growers and their neighbours, encouraging dialogue with neighbours and landlords, and outlining the damage that can be caused and what can be done to prevent it. 
 
For free copies of leaflets and stickers, contact Sophie Lock at the AHDB Potatoes on sophie.lock@ahdb.org.uk 
 
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