Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Growth & Jobs | Protect your Irish potato after the rain

Published:Tuesday | May 23, 2017 | 5:00 AM

With the rains last week devastating many farms and with agriculture being a major plank of the Government's growth prospect, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) are advising farmers how to protect their Irish potatoes. They said that the prolonged hours of wetness have made conditions for rapid development and spread of fungal and bacterial diseases on Irish potato highly favourable.

"Irish potato farmers are being advised to be vigilant and take immediate steps in protecting crop from damage with late blight (also called by farmers as 'burn') and other diseases," a statement from MICAF and RADA said. "Disease can spread very rapidly and the timing of spraying is critical."

They advise:

- Where practical, remove plants that are wilted due to diseases and dispose in a plastic bag.

- Systematically apply fungicides to control late blight as soon as weather permits. No application of contact fungicides is recommended during this time.

- Use only approved fungicides on Irish potato. Read label carefully and apply correct dose rate of product.

- Use of sticker is highly recommended to improve fungicide adherence.

- Start fungicide application from the least to the highest affected areas of the field.

- Ensure that good spray coverage is achieved.

- Farmers who are planning to harvest their crop should spray field with Reglone one week after the last spraying, or approximately 10 days before harvesting. This is to ensure that are top of plants are killed before the tubers are harvested, to reduce tuber rots.

- Maintain good drainage and weed control.

- Limit movement of workers and applicators between fields to reduce the spread of the disease.

- Read and immediately respond to text messages sent from RADA for recommended fungicides to be used and dose rates.