Despite the cold, wet conditions and a delayed start to the potato planting season, potato agronomist Denis Buckley advises growers not to panic yet and keep to their original plans.
“While it is a late start to the planting season, here in the West Midlands I am telling growers that we have until mid-April for the makings of a normal season and to stick to their original plans for the time being.”
He does add a note of caution having just seen the forecast for the start of April. “It’s looking pretty cold and wet and, if this holds true, we will almost certainly be looking at the makings of a proper late season with planting drifting well in to May. And if that happens, both seed rates and nitrogen totals will need adjusting downwards.”
However, his key message is that once conditions become favourable, everything should be ready for planting to go full steam ahead, and to make sure that as much preparation as possible is done now to prevent unnecessary hiccups in getting the potatoes into the ground.
“In cold planting conditions, it’s important that in-furrow treatments containing azoxystrobin don’t lose their consistency and flow. I have seen azoxystrobin products turn to gooh in the on-planter sprayer if it is cold at the time of application, especially in the early morning, and the last thing you need is to have a bunged-up applicator on your hands – just after you have finally got going with the planting!”
Colleagues, Bill Lankford and Richard Brereton of Life Scientific, have worked hard to ensure that the formulation of the off-patent company’s azoxystrobin-based fungicide, Azoxystar (250g/l azoxystrobin) which was approved for use in potatoes at planting earlier this year, can be applied as effectively as the industry standard, Amistar.
“To support the label extension, we have worked with Team Sprayers and Techneat Engineering to ensure that our product has identical throughput compared to Amistar for the two-market leading direct injection applicators designed for in-furrow treatment.”
“Calibrated on injection test rigs Team Sprayers and Techneat Engineering, testing spray volumes and outputs through different AZ and Lechler nozzles to suit the varying forward speeds of different potato planters, across 3 to 5 bars of pressure- and all of the results have been perfect.”
“Azoxystar is also easily cleaned from the system by standard washing procedures.”
“Our approach of bringing off- patent products to market through the process of reverse engineering a product from the original retains the formulation developments of the reference products – and this is reflected in the application results from Azoxystar- where the only fundamental difference to the original reference products is price; ours will cost less than the brand leader, so for growers and agronomists looking at their costs of production we are offering crop protection solutions genuinely worthy of consideration.”
- Azoxystar is a broad-spectrum fungicide with translaminar, systemic and protectant activity for use on a wide range of crops such as cereals, oilseed rape, combining and vining peas. Additional crop uses in potatoes, field beans and field grown vegetables was approved in January 2018.
- Azoxystar is available through national distributors ProCam and Hutchinsons.