Research call to tender potato desiccants

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is inviting researchers to tender for a new project to understand alternative desiccation methods in the absence of diquat.

The loss of approval for diquat has wide ramifications, since it is currently the main product used by potato growers to desiccate crops.

Joe Martin, Crop Protection senior scientist for AHDB, said: “This research will be closely aligned with our knowledge exchange programme and trials will be carried out across our Strategic Potato (SPot) farm network.

“We are now requesting tenders for scientific coordination and trial implementation at a number of our sites. It may be that one organisation may tender for any part or the whole of this research, this can be split into research area or by region.”

This topic was introduced at SPot North in 2018, where Graham Tomalin of VCS Agronomy carried out work at Somerby Top Farm in Brigg, North Lincolnshire.

The demonstration included 13 treatments (including two flail treatments) applied to 26 varieties of potato. These plots attracted avid interest at SPot North events over the 2018 season.

This year, fully replicated experiments will involve treatments applied in challenging situations, such as the early desiccation of a seed crop of the indeterminate variety Markies. Assessments will tease out the effect of different treatments on time to skin set, occurrence of diseases such as black dot and extent of passive bulking following treatment.

Alistair Redpath, chief executive for Cygnet Potato Breeders Ltd and chair of AHDB’s Research and Knowledge Exchange committee, said: “This is a welcome move for the potato industry.

“The loss of diquat has had a major impact on both seed and ware growers, and with this research we can now hope to learn more about available desiccants and optimal burn-down strategies and keep producing good quality potatoes.”

Those interested in tendering for this research should visit: https://ahdb.org.uk/p1901285-potato-dessication

Get Our E-Newsletter - breaking news to your in-box once a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Share.

About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.