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Potato Science Live sees Green Headland hits to aphids

Agronomy Issues
Green Headland mix alongside potatoes
Planting the Operation Pollinator Green Headland mix alongside potatoes could help clean up virus carrying aphids before they infect crops

The Syngenta Green Headland Mix has proved highly popular with potato growers, claimed Syngenta ecology specialist, Dr Max Newbert. Planted on non-cropped headlands it can serve to capture nutrients to the value of £200/hectare, as well as offer significant benefits in soil structure enhancement for the following crop. 

Speaking at Potato Science Live, Max reported over 300 hectares has now been established under the Operation Pollinator initiative. And the numbers of insects that have been found in monitoring has been truly mind-boggling.

Ladybird on potato leaf

In 2017, entomologists captured over 41,000 insects, compared to 11,000 the previous year. A more detailed study of ground beetles had shown a significant increase in beneficial predators, Max pointed out. 

“Of the 312 species identified, 60 were pollinators and at least 113 known to be predators of pest species at some point of their life cycle, “ he said.

“There was a very high level of predator to pest ratio.”

Importantly, no aphids were found in any of the insect monitoring. “We will be further evaluating the role of Green Headlands to mitigate risk of virus spread into potato crops," added Max (below)..

Dr Max Newbert - potaoes

“In addition to the number of predators present, any aphids that spend time in the margin as they pass through would lose the capability to transmit non-persistent viruses.”

In carrot crops surrounded by Green Headland Mix the 2018 trials had shown a 70% reduction in yellowing symptoms of virus, he added.

This season’s extended series of Syngenta Potato Science Live events gave growers and agronomists an exciting insight into some of the future technologies designed to enhance the efficiency and profitability of potato crop production.

With a range of speakers and specialists from across the industry, Potato Science Live provided a first look at a range of new agronomy opportunities, along with some ideas and practical measures that could be readily implemented this season.


Read more reports from Potato Science Live. Click on the links below:

Syngenta Potato Science looks to clean soil start

Potato Science Live focus on blight change implications

Aphid advice to stop virus spread at Potato Science Live