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Reducing chemical use: British growers asked to help developing a new potato variety comparison tool

The pressure on growers to reduce their use of herbicides and pesticides continues to grow. One of the most effective tools in the arsenal of any grower is exploiting the variety of a crop for its genetic resistance to disease, according to AHDB in the UK.

“We are developing a brand new tool to help you review the varieties you use in order to reduce chemical use, or to react to the loss of an active,” AHDB says on its website.

Growers may have been encouraged to follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM), however potato growers often feel restricted by the varieties their customer or market will accept.

The Potato Variety Comparison tool combines AHDB data on the varieties planted in Great Britain, intended market sector and information on disease resistance from the Potato Variety Database and other sources.

While it is already providing a picture of how the resistance profile is changing in the range of varieties supplied to each market – the tool could be of use to individual growers and agronomists to aid planting decisions, or discuss options with their customer.

AHDB would like to form a pilot group of users to help in the development of a new tool and ensure it is user friendly and effective.

More information on the AHDB website here