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New developments in Cultivations and Nematicides application

5 November 2014

Optimising marketable yield was a key theme at AHDB Potatoes North West Potato Day. Videos were taken so that levy payers unable to attend could get a flavour of the AHDB Potatoes-funded Cultivation and Nematicide trials that were on show.

 
Around 70 growers, purchasers and advisers gathered in September at Hollin House Green Farm in Aughton, Lancashire. Innovative host farmer Andrew Webster, who grows and supplies crisping potatoes to the event sponsor Mercian, opened his farm gate for other levy payers to examine field trials.
 
Potato farmers experience different conditions and challenges each season. “Getting the optimum primary, secondary and bed preparation cultivations plays a key factor to my yield, tuber quality and the stability of the  structure, therefore increasing knowledge is high on my agenda” explained  Andrew Webster.
 
“As our operation has developed, I’ve been keen to try the latest science on my own farm and I’m glad that we have had the opportunity this year to be involved in extensive AHDB Potatoes-funded cultivation, nematicide and cover crop best practice trials.”
 
The practical and economic outcomes were discussed to benefit growers’ own situations. It proved to be such a popular event that we made videos, which you can view online:
 
Back to basics – Soil science explained
 
Poor soil management in potato production, particularly due to soil compaction, can cause varying yield losses. Changes in soil structure over time and their resilience to a range of stresses also needs to be understood to identify constraints to crop production at different times in the season.
 
Dr Blair McKenzie explains the crop productivity indicators in controlled experiments that are part of AHDB Potatoes – funded research.
 
Dr Blair McKenzie, James Hutton Institute 00:01 - 07:32  (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot)
 
00:13 Back to basics – soil science explained
00:05 Practical experiment on demonstrating soil texture
02.44 What is the critical cultivation depth?
03.28 AHDB Potatoes-funded research sub soil conditions before, during and after a potato crop
04.10 Penetrometers, measuring soil hardness and water status 
 
Working Demonstration – George Moate Tillerstar
 
George Moate Tillerstar was used in the Primary Cultivation Trials at Hollin House Green Farm 07:33 – 07:46 (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot)
 
07.38 Mark Grimmer introduces the working demonstration
 
 
 
 
 
 
Optimising Rhizoctonia  and Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) control
 
Black scurf, the blemish disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, is characterised by black sclerotia on the tuber surface. With increasing emphasis on skin quality in the pre-pack and seed potato markets, the disease has increased in significance and is considered one of the three major tuber disease problems of the potato industry. In addition to producing a blemish on the tuber, the fungus can infect developing sprouts and stolons from the seed tuber prior to emergence resulting in the formation of cankers. Watch John Sarup’s interactive discussion on control measures.
 
John will follow this discussion with optimising nematicide applications and the control of the most important potato pest in the UK, Potato Cyst Nematode. Of the two PCN species (Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida), G. pallida has become widespread. This is due to its prolonged hatching period and the selection pressure created by the cultivation of many varieties, such as Maris Piper, that are resistant to G. rostochiensis but susceptible to G. pallida. See the footage below.
 
John Sarup from Spud Agronomy Nematicides and In-Furrow fungicides  08:20 –19:22  (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot
 
08:05 Fry colour, Nematicides and Amistar
09:11 Amistar control for Black dot and soil bourne Rhizoctonia 
10:37 Rhizoctonia – stolon and root pruning
12:28 PCN species (Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida).
12:39 Four most popular varieties grown in GB and PCN resistance
13.21 Definition of PCN resistance.
14:35 AHDB Potatoes Model
15:30 Applying Nematicides correctly and their effectiveness
16:18 Nematicide incorporation depths
18:30 Nematicide trials at Hollin House Green Farm  (Destoner, deep ridger, bed tiller).
 
Choosing the right cover crop
 
Andrew Wade discusses the benefits and latest thinking on incorporating covers crops.
 
Andrew Wade, Agrovista Cover Crops 19:23 –26:56  (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot)
 
19:20 Caliente Mustard 
20:21 Oily Radish
20:39 Cover crop sowing date and crop husbandry
21:25 Harper Adams trials on cover crops and PCN control
22:47 Green manure benefits to soil organic matter
 
 
 
Fine, friable, non-compacted, free-draining and structurally stable soils
 
Potato seedbeds need to be fine, friable, non-compacted, free-draining and structurally stable. Some  growers fail to achieve all of these attributes owing to poor attention to soil status at cultivation, time pressure and use of high-powered tractors capable of either working soil unfit for cultivation whilst wet or pulverizing the soil excessively when dry.
 
Matt Smallwood 26.56 – 30:43 (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot)
 
26:55 Implementing latest cultivations research at Hollin House Green Farm
20:21 Primary cultivation trials (Shallow/Deep Plough/Sumo Subsoiler/Georger Moate)
29:13 Primary Culitivation impact to stone/clod separation speed
 
 
 
 
 
Mark Stalham guided the growers around the cultivation plots to examine primary, secondary and bed preparation trials, and the impact that different machinery and methodology have on compaction, the subsequent root systems, and whether ploughing deeper or shallower gives the most effective outcome.
 
 
Mark Stalham 30:43 – 48:24 (Timings of key messages are given in minutes and seconds below. If you want to skip to a key section, drag the white circle to the relevant timeslot)
 
30:45 Compaction, machine loading vs effects of cultivation 
31:11 Seed beds and Secondary cultivations
32:05 Organic Matter and soil stability 
33:23 Working soil too deeply
33:08 Can we work soils less and what are the rotational affects
35:50 If we do less structural damage does it affect growers returns?   
37:16 As soils are worked deeper you lose yield
42:10 Deep ploughing results
42:40 Shallow plough results
43:37 Subsoiler results
 
The full trial results from the harvested crop will be available through subsequent Grower Gateway articles.
 
Find out more… Blair MacKenzie and Mark Stalham will be discussing the results of these trials and others in detail at the Winter Forums in Peterborough, Harper Adams and Edinburgh. Details to follow at www.potato.org.uk/events
 
Further demonstrations of AHDB Potatoes research are planned for 2015, keep checking www.potato.org.uk/events for the latest AHDB Potatoes technical event listings.
 
View the latest videos on the AHDB Potatoes video channel at: www.potato.org.uk/video
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