Looking Back and Planning Ahead: WA Potato Recap
With 2019 coming to an end, it’s important to look at this past potato season and review what worked and what didn’t, and how we can use this information to better our management plans against Rhizoctonia, white mold and Colorado potato beetles.
Potato trials at the Ephrata, WA, Grow MoreTM Experience site allowed our agronomists to test crops and get a glance into what growers were seeing in their fields this season. Test fields at the site were inoculated with Rhizoctonia solani, a devastating disease that causes weakened plants, stunted growth and yield loss in potatoes. We saw cold soils combined with a late-planted, slow-emerging potato crop, which highlighted the importance of a robust seed treatment and in-furrow fungicide package.
Along with testing several competitor products, we tested the performance of Syngenta products to see how well they did against Rhizoctonia. The CruiserMaxx® Potato Extreme fungicide seed treatment provided early-season vigor that helped the potatoes accelerate establishment in cooler-than-average spring soils. Then Elatus® in-furrow fungicide helped fight off the nibbler pathogens, and allowed our potatoes to make consistent sets of tubers in preparation for bulking during the early season. As soon as the crop started flowering, our growing conditions were perfect, and a lot of potatoes caught up from a physiological perspective.
The biggest fungal pathogen in many areas that threatened potato crops this season was white mold. White mold must be controlled preventively, and if it infects crops early, it can have devastating effects on yield and quality. As the weather continued to be favorable for spore development, multiple fungicide applications of products like Omega®, Omega Top® and Miravis Prime® were necessary to protect the potato crop from white mold.
Colorado Potato Beetle
The most widespread insect pest of importance this season was Colorado potato beetle (CPB). As the potato plants developed and pest pressure increased, it was important for growers to utilize foliar insecticide programs that rotated modes of action and did not flare mite populations during sensitive developmental times. Two products we recommend that help control CPB are Minecto® Pro insecticide and AgriMek® SC miticide/insecticide.
When preparing for the 2020 season, it’s important to keep these disease and insect pressures in mind, so that they don’t catch you by surprise as the season progresses. Contact your Syngenta sales representative for help planning your potato crop management program.
For more information on CPB and white mold, listen to Syngenta agronomist Dan Maxfield on The Potato Podcast.
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