A field day run by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) will help potato growers with alternatives to Diquat.

The workshops, run with the support of Grimme, will highlight how to set flailing machines correctly to provide a suitable target to apply the follow-up spray.

Following the withdrawal of Diquat last year, the desiccation of potatoes has become more challenging. The only current chemical option for potato desiccation are the PPO inhibitor group of chemicals, which include Spotlight Plus and Gozai.

While slower acting than Diquat, spraying with these chemicals alone has proven to provide suitable desiccation of crops that are already beginning to senesce.

Mechanical flailing

Some crops, however, have to be desiccated before this stage to control tuber size for market requirements and to prevent virus infection in seed crops.

Successful removal of the haulm in these crops will, in many cases, also require mechanical flailing in advance of the chemical application. This is a new technique for many growers in Northern Ireland.

In light of this, CAFRE with the support of Grimme, have organised a workshop at Greenmount Campus, demonstrating best practice in the setup of potato haulm flailing machines, to ensure suitable target for follow up spraying.

How to secure a space

The workshops will take place at Greenmount Campus on Thursday, July 22.

Attendees must pre-book. Four timeslots are available throughout the day, however, these are limited to 25 attendees per slot so growers are advised to book early.

Places can be secured here on the CAFRE website.