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Potato crops boost yield from early disease control

man sitting on a pile of potatoes

Stuart Millwood believes controlling soil borne pathogens at the time of potato planting is critical to encourage faster crop establishment and achieve quicker ground cover.

Stuart, the State Agronomy Manager for Roberts Limited Tasmania, said keeping disease pressure low from planting is front of mind for his growers.

”Ultimately, a strong start and healthy seasonal growth reward growers with top yields and high quality,” Stuart said.

According to Stuart, the four main potato diseases in Tasmania are Black Scurf (Rhizoctonia solani), Pink Rot, Powdery Scab attacking roots and Late Blight.

He said however, that when growers are working through their crop establishment priorities, Rhizoctonia consistently comes up as an important disease they want to control from the start.

“It’s a soil borne disease that can significantly reduce crop growth, marketable yield and quality.”

Stuart said when selecting an in-furrow soil drench for Rhizoctonia management and as a foliar spray for Early and Late Blight, the use of Syngenta’s AMISTAR Technology has grown extensively in the Tasmanian potato industry.

“When AMISTAR Technology was first registered, we treated a lot of half paddocks of potatoes in order to assess its effectiveness against Rhizoctonia.

“The results were visually amazing. On the harvester we could see an increase in marketable yield and tuber quality with less green and knobby tubers.

“Since the use of AMISTAR in-furrow we have seen an increase in potato yield and quality, to the point where I’d say 95 per cent of our clients now use it.”

Some paddocks with high disease pressure gained with up to 8 t/ha of yield improvement.

“The confidence in the AMISTAR Technology is so strong it has become an industry standard in high disease risk areas.”