New tool to help potato growers reduce reliance on chemicals

A new tool is in development to help farmers review the potato varieties they use in order to reduce their reliance on chemicals.

The pressure on growers to reduce their use of herbicides and pesticides continues to grow and intensify.

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.

AHDB is developing a new tool to help farmers review varieties. In doing so, it provides a way for them to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The Potato Variety Comparison tool combines AHDB data on the planted area in Britain and market sector with information on disease resistance from the Potato Varity Database.

Growers, agronomists, breeders and retailers can use the tool to observe changes in the varieties farmers are planting across the country.

Growers and agronomists can utilise the tool to inform growth strategies based on enhanced knowledge of disease resistance for the market sector in which they are growing.

The new online tool has three main functions:

  • Resistance Uptake: this allows the user to visualise trends in what varieties growers are planting over a specified period of time in relation to disease resistance ratings.

  • Change in Use: the user can make comparisons of the use of varieties resistant to particular diseases on a yearly basis.

  • Market Traits: this function allows the user to identify a variety or varieties suitable for a particular region and their resistance rating for a particular disease.

The Potato Variety Comparison tool will feature at BP2019, where attendees will be able to try a beta version of the tool.

Source: FarmingUK