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Double coverage for seed and soil borne potato pathogens

Agronomy Issues
23.10.2020
Clean potato emergence

Potato growers and agronomists should now be considering a combination of Maxim seed treatment and in-furrow Amistar treatments, to reduce the combined threats of seed and soil borne pathogens, warns Syngenta Technical Manager, Michael Tait.

Michael Tait with new Amistar applicator demo set up

Protection against potato diseases at planting can help assure more even emergence and consistent growth, along with and cleaner, brighter tubers for sale and storage at harvest.  Key seed and soil pathogens to target include rhizoctonia stem canker (black scurf), silver scurf, black dot and common scab, warned Mr Tait (above).

Precision application of Maxim liquid seed treatment pre-planting can better help to assure complete coverage and protection of the tuber, compared to previous powders applied on the planter.

Pre-planting treatment in store is also controlled and convenient. It saves another task for planter operators and removes challenges associated with powder applicators.

Whilst growers have historically ordered seed pre-treated with Maxim from suppliers or used a specialist on-farm application contractor – which remains a primary route – on larger farms investment involved with setting up an on-farm treatment line can usually be justified, according to Mr Tait.

Maxim application kit from Team Sprayers

"It gives convenience and flexibility to treat individual seed lots to specific field risks," he added

Research by agronomists has also shown Maxim can help to quickly build bigger and stronger root systems, which can support higher numbers of tubers with more even size and maturity at harvest.

Maxim seed treatment on seed tuber, with subsequent healthy chitting

Extensive trials by Frontier Agriculture have shown it can consistently enable more eyes to open and stimulate extra rooting.

More viable eyes typically mean crops are faster to reach 100% emergence and higher stem numbers per hectare, that is key to increasing overall yields.

Trials work carried out by SRUC Craibstone, has shown the seed treatment had beneficial all-round benefits on skin diseases, including black dot, silver scurf, skin spot and Fusarium, along with Rhizoctonia.

However, where Maxim treated seed tubers are to be planted into fields with a known history of soil-borne rhizoctonia, or black dot, the use of an in-furrow Amistar application is also advised.

Potato planting with Amistar

Where soil-borne pathogens are an issue, the use of Amistar has been seen to be hugely beneficial for tuber numbers and consistency of size and maturity right through the growing season to harvest, as well as reduction in black dot for improved skin finish and storability.

The in-furrow application is particularly effective in creating a zone of protection around the seed through early development and tuber initiation.

Protecting the plant from rhizoctonia stem pruning (below left, compared to Amistar treated right) and secondary tuber initiation is crucial to achieving consistent quality potatoes, for both the fresh and processing markets. 

Rhizoctonia stem effects left vs Amistar protection right

Soil-borne pathogens are now endemic in soils regularly cropped with potatoes. With the availability of clean land increasingly scarce and expensive, growers now have the opportunity to mitigate against both seed and soil-borne pathogens, to protect resources and ensure economically sustainable rotations into the future.