Potatoes more exposed to effects of stress at all-important tuber initiation stage this season 

Late planting and slow emergence of potatoes in cold, wet conditions could leave crops more exposed to the effects of stress at the all-important tuber initiation stage this season, warns a Syngenta expert. 

Andy Cunningham of Syngenta said that tuber initiation is one of the key points at which potato plants can be impacted by stress. 

Syngenta’s technical manager, Andy Cunningham, said that recent research has shown that tuber initiation is one of the key points at which potato plants can be impacted by stress. 

He added: “That could be further compounded this year if it coincides with the onset of warm weather in late May or early June. 

“Studies have shown that routinely applying Quantis biostimulant at tuber initiation can help reduce stress on potato plants. It’s proven effects on temperature stress will be especially relevant this season.”

Critical time for potato plant’s development

Mr Cunningham recommends Quantis application when the first tuber set is at, or before, small pea size.

“This is a critical time for the potato plant’s development, as they are particularly sensitive to stress. Weather conditions and temperatures at this timing will largely dictate how many tubers will be produced, and subsequently supported through to yield. 

“Potato growers and agronomists will need to nurse them through with all the tools available, including nutrition, irrigation, blight protection, and biostimulants to alleviate stress,” he advised.  

Syngenta’s technical manager, Andy Cunningham.

The expert added that crop research at the James Hutton Institute highlighted that the temperature has a pronounced effect on the formation of potato tubers: when the temperature is too high, potato plants form less or no tubers, which can greatly decrease yields. 

Adapting hormone pathways 

Quantis has been shown to adapt the hormone pathways that govern the potato plant’s response to temperature stress, thereby enabling it to continue to function more efficiently and make better use of light and resources for growth. 

Mr Cunningham concluded: “Growers should be prepared to always apply Quantis at tuber initiation, ideally at a timing where it can be tank mixed with a blight spray treatment,”  

Quantis is compatible with all Revus and mandipropamid mix blight sprays. 

Potato stolon swelling at onset of initiation.

He advocated growers and agronomists continue to track temperatures through the growing season, to allow Quantis applications prior to heat stress as crops develop.  

Trigger points in potatoes are flagged when leaf temperature exceeds 25⁰C for more than three hours per day or above 30⁰C for any length of time. 

The Syngenta Quantis Heat Stress Alert tool, which can be tailored for early warnings of temperature events on individual fields, is available for free in the company’s myField app

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