Stay alert for bacterial tuber diseases at harvest

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With potato harvest underway and yield predictions looking positive, growers should be on alert for bacterial diseases, as higher than average incidences are seen across the UK.

“As a result of conditions being dry around tuber innitiation, we’ve seen more reports of common scab, especially in the east with some reports in the west and Scotland too,” explains Morley Benson, field sales manager at Certis UK.

“Black leg has also been reported in some areas, which not only damages the tubers in the field but can also lead to infection within the store reducing the quality of the crop.”

In light of the increased levels of bacterial disease reports, Mr Benson stresses the importance of attention to detail at harvest and good store management in order to minimise the impact of disease.

“Where possible, minimise tuber damage and bruising during harvest and handling into store, and lift crops as early as possible ensuring that the crop is dry before going into store.

“Increasing attention to detail at grading out will also ensure that only the best quality crop is being stored for longer periods of time, and good ventilation will also help to prevent condensation forming,” he says.

“By implementing a robust storage plan, which also takes into consideration end markets, growers can ensure that bacterial diseases are managed, and that they get the best out of their crops following harvest.”


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About Author

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 an avid follower of Stoke City.