Changing weather pattern puts potato growers on high alert for blight

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Written by Charlotte Cunningham

Rain showers and warming temperatures have heightened the threat of potato blight with Hutton Criteria disease warnings declared across many of the UK’s key growing regions, meaning growers should be on high alert for blight, according to the latest advice from Corteva. Charlotte Cunningham reports. The Blightwatch alert system, hosted by AHDB and the MET Office, has displayed red warnings since 11 June – indicating the highest level of blight threat – just as many crops are reaching the crucial rapid canopy growth stage. Red alerts have been issued in England for Lincs, Yorks, Lancs, East Anglia and across the West Mids. In Scotland fewer warnings have been issued but indicate that the same urgency and tightening of the blight programme should be a priority for growers in Angus and Ayr, and also in Ceredigion in Wales. A prolonged period of hot, dry weather through much of April and May meant planting took place in good conditions and the disease threat remained low. The challenge is intensifying with the widespread presence of newer, more aggressive strains of late blight which make vigilance ever more important. Corteva Agriscience’s field technical manager for potatoes, Craig Chisholm, says that while the current situation…
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