AHDB to host desiccation events to aid growers

AHDB Potatoes is to host a range of events designed to help growers fine-tune their desiccation programme following the loss of diquat.

The ban has had significant ramifications for multiple grower’s desiccation strategies, due to its common usage, and the limited alternatives available that are as effective and economical.

Alternatives

In response, AHDB’s Strategic Farm programme has been conducting national demonstration trials to investigate alternative desiccants and combinations of these that growers can use without the popular herbicide.

Last season it became apparent that the EU Commission would be making the decision not to renew the approval of diquat.

AHDB was able to act quickly, by adjusting a herbicide trial on Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm North to include alternative desiccation strategies.

The results of the subsequent trial offered useful insight allowing AHDB to plan multi-site trials across the country for 2019.

The trials look at both chemical and mechanical options, and focus on dealing with factors that can make desiccation challenging – such as heavy soils and indeterminate varieties.

This season’s trials work is currently underway across four strategic farms, including: SPot North, SPot South, SPot East and SPot West – with additional work being carried out in Scotland and Wales.

To show how the plots have been getting on, the AHDB is hosting a number of desiccation events.

The venues are as follows:

  • Strategic Potato Farm South, Somerset – August 15, 2019;
  • Strategic Potato Farm North, North Lincolnshire – August 29, 2019;
  • Elveden Estate, Suffolk – event date TBC;
  • Strategic Potato Farm West, Shropshire – event date TBC;
  • Aberdeenshire – event date TBC.