AHDB’s Strategic Potato Farm network in the UK is carrying out a variety of trials to ensure growers have effective alternatives for banned chemicals such as diquat and CIPC.
The trials currently being undertaken on the network of five farms – based in Perthshire, West Suffolk, Shropshire, Somerset and North Lincolnshire – are supported by research funded by AHDB, ensuring the results are both robust and commercially viable.
Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager Claire Hodge explains: “We are very aware of the challenges that the continual loss of chemistry poses. The industry has lost both diquat for burndown, and CIPC for storage, in quick succession, and this trend is likely to continue.
“Our strategic farms are ideally placed to help growers find alternatives as they can trial different practices in a commercial environment and make sure the results are swiftly shared with growers.”
In terms of the loss of diquat, which is a real concern for producers across the country, a number of strategic farms are looking at potential alternatives.
There are currently replicated trials on both alternative chemical and mechanical methods which are being run in conjunction with similar work at the James Hutton Institute. These aim to highlight which methods will be most cost-effective for growers in the future.