Publication •  18/04/2023

Wet March and April showers likely to impact potato herbicide plans

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Irish potato growers are facing a different picture when it comes to weed control this spring compared to 2022 following delayed planting of much of the country’s maincrop, according to Corteva Agriscience. 

A wet March saw planters unable to travel and seed stocks stuck in the shed. Over 120mm of rain fell in Dublin, and 211mm in Cork representing 100% more rainfall than is typical for the month, according to Met Eireann data.

While planting is now beginning to get underway, Corteva says maincrop potatoes are likely to have been drilled later than planned and, where April showers have continued, residual herbicide programmes may not have been applied in a timely manner, if at all.

The bulk of weed control workload in potatoes is carried out using residual chemistry applied to ridges shortly after planting. Weeds evading the scope of residuals are tackled with a post emergence spray, typically in May.

Liz Glynn, National Field Technical Manager Ireland, said: “There are three main reasons why weed control is important in potatoes. The first is protecting the crop from yield-robbing competitive weeds, and the second is ensuring harvest machinery is not hampered or slowed down.

“But perhaps the most important reason to keep weeds in check is to reduce the risk of blight through sheltering leaves or contributing to a more favourable microclimate.”

Where growers find themselves too late to get their pre-emergence herbicides on, as the crop goes into rapidly-warming moist conditions, Titus applied in mixture with metribuzin, provides the most comprehensive post-emergence weed spectrum. While Titus is safe across all varieties, but should not be applied to seed crops, users should check that their variety is listed as tolerant of metribuzin before including in the mix.

“Titus is most effective against small actively growing weeds and should be applied before the crop provides a sheltering canopy, which may compromise activity,” she added.

Titus® is a sulfonylurea herbicide containing rimsulfuron for control of broad-leaved weeds in potatoes.

The selective herbicide has been a mainstay for potato growers for almost three decades, with a weed spectrum that includes cleavers, chickweed, redshank, mayweed, and oilseed rape volunteers.

Titus has also demonstrated excellent activity on some grasses, notably couch.

Liz said: “The qualities of Titus are well known to UK and Irish potato growers and agronomists in an environment where there are relatively few tools to do an important spring job.”



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Liz Glynn - National Field Technical Manager Ireland
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