With potato harvest results looking promising, Farmers Guardian takes the opportunity to catch up with three agronomists from Hutchinsons for the final part of our series, as they evaluate the 2019 season and look ahead to next year.
We have not got as many apples and plums as last year, but the pears are pretty good. The rain over summer has helped the wheat and barley harvests and also the fern growth on our asparagus which is much bigger than last season.
As we've only got a small area, we're able to practice good crop hygiene and remove all the old fern and reduce the amount of inoculum on the old stems so our stem-phylium levels are very low.
Dr Alison Lees, a research leader for AHDB-funded research into late blight at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee speaks to Heather Briggs about this year's Fight Against Blight.
“We have currently received 576 samples from 86 blight outbreaks this season, with more arriving every day due to the weather conditions being favourable for late blight in large parts of the country through July and into August," she says.
A Shropshire grower is trying to limit the damaging effect of heavy cultivations for potato crops to his light soils through the use of cover crops.
He has seen worm numbers increase since introducing the cover crops to his rotation.
A new fenland potato site for leading agronomy firm, Hutchinsons, is already generating interesting results that will help shape future agronomy – including control of potato cyst nematodes (PCN).
An integrated approach to PCN management was one of the key topics which gained traction at Hutchinsons' recent open day hosted at AL Lee Farming Company's Folly Farm, near Ely, Cambridgeshire.
We're pleased to announce that our article on the value of an integrated approach amid higher disease pressure was the second most-read story on Agronomist & Arable Farmer's website in July.
The article focuses on the value of using a robust fungicide programme and selecting varieties with good resistance, sharing Helen Brown, Stewart MacIntyre and Bob Bulmer’s key insights from the Carlisle RTC event.
Read the full article here.
It has been an interesting and challenging spring and early summer, both in the fields and the garden.
Despite the deluges of last week, the water isn't much higher than normal in the River Waveney and certainly not as high as it was in June 2016 when the Waveney Valley flooded, including the gardens at the Open Gardens event which, as I write this, is approaching rapidly.
Favourable growing conditions so far this season have boosted prospects for the 2019 potato crop, as Farmers Guardian discovers in the second of our series following three agronomists from Hutchinsons through the season.
Agronomist Craig Green stressed that the increased aggressiveness of the 36_A2 and 37_A2 strains makes them the "ones to watch" and said growers must not be complacent.
Dr John Keer, of Richard Austin Associates, who has many years' experience of running blight trials, told delegates new strains of blight have disrupted the way growers and agronomists put their fungicide programmes together, not least following the failure of fluazinam to control the so-called dark green' blight strain, otherwise known as 37_A2.
"I don't believe we should be using fluazinam, he said. "Anyone who went to the Eurofins trials in 2017 would have seen