Alexey Egorov, Head of Plant Protection Products, Agrotrade Company
I would like to start the article in the autumn issue of the journal with congratulations to all agricultural producers on the Day of the Agricultural Worker and the successful completion of field work. The season 2018 turned out to be peculiar, with its own characteristics and difficulties. We will talk about them, as well as possible solutions to problems in this material.
SPRING: REDUCING SOIL AND SEED INFECTION
As you recall, the spring of 2018 turned out to be dry and cold, which led to a delay in seedlings, slow growth and development of potatoes. In addition, during the monitoring of the landing of our partners, we everywhere recorded the defeat of rhizoctonia (Rhizoctonia solani) - and in the North-Western part of Russia, and in Central, and in the South, and beyond the Urals. We emphasize that the spread of the disease was caused by a complex of reasons, including damage to the seed, weather conditions, lack of crop rotation and systematic work with crop residues from previous crops.
As you know, for the decomposition of crop residues a number of conditions are necessary: this is the presence of moisture, microorganisms, free nitrogen. Technologically, the problem is solved by treating the harvested field with a tank mixture of liquid forms of nitrogen and preparations containing trichodermine (Trichoderma harzianum). Dosages of the drugs depend on the chosen formulations or specific manufacturers. This operation can be carried out not only in the autumn, but also in the spring when working with clean steam or before planting green manure in the soil.
How to deal with seed and soil infection? A universal solution does not exist, not all farms have the opportunity to organize a 4-5-field crop rotation, to buy seeds of only high reproductions. But we can recommend that farmers include sideral pairs (using cruciferous or leguminous crops) in the farming system, and develop an individual plant protection system that combines both chemical and biological preparations. And of course, pay special attention to the quality of purchased seeds.
The proper use of products for the treatment of seeds and the bottom of the furrow during planting will effectively deal with seed and soil infections, and the complex of agrotechnical methods described above will reduce the infectious load on the plant.
SUMMER: FIGHTING DISEASES AND PESTS
Potato vegetation and harvesting this year took place almost throughout the country in dry and hot weather with occasional rain, which did not prevent the development of late blight and alternariosis: their manifestations in the fields were not as significant as in the 2017 season, but their negative effect the disease certainly had. Mainly affected households that worked on the "symptoms" of the disease, and not on a pre-designed system. Delay in processing for 1-2 days led to losses in both quantity and quality of the crop. The same consequences were caused by treatment with underestimated dosages of drugs, errors in the selection of products and in determining their place in the plant protection system. Many farms, for example, "saved" on the last treatment of plantings on the eve of harvesting.
Meanwhile, the last treatment with a fluazin-containing preparation, combined with desiccation or carried out after mechanical removal of the tops, plays a very important role in obtaining a high-quality product, thereby reducing the degree of overgrowth of tubers by a fungal infection in the soil during harvesting and during storage.
In connection with the increased market requirements for potato quality, one of the leading places is the fight against soil-borne pests, in particular, the larva of the nutcracker beetle or wireworm. This problem is far from being solved, especially in farms that grow potatoes according to stubble predecessors, where the minimum cultivation technology is used when cultivating crops.
The problem with wireworms (and other insect pests) is constantly aggravated by experiments of agricultural producers using insecticidal and insectofungicidal preparations in low dosages. The result of this “creative approach” is easy to predict - low potato marketability. Although the consequences may be more severe: low dosages lead to the appearance of pest populations that are resistant to the active substance of the products used.
I would also like to dwell on the topic of nematodes: more and more often we have to deal with this pest. One of the main solutions is quarantine of infected fields: exclusion of areas from potato crop rotation for several years. An alternative way is the use of nematicides, in particular, the drug Nematofagin, developed by the Vector Scientific Center for Virology and Biotechnology. The drug is based on spores of nematophagous fungi. According to the developers, Nematofagin is compatible with seed treatment products - Albit and Trichodermin. The development is extremely interesting, with confirmation of compatibility with insectofungicidal products, it can be used for soil application when planting potatoes.
AND ONCE AGAIN ABOUT THE SYSTEM
In previous articles, it was repeatedly mentioned that the secret of success of a potato grower is largely based on adherence to growing technology and accurate adherence to a competently developed plant protection system.
It is worth noting that such a system has not been created for centuries, it must be adjusted annually to take into account new circumstances: changes in the set of diseases, the introduction of more advanced products on the market, in order to prevent resistance to a particular active substance, when changing the specialization of the enterprise. If the economy switches to the production of potatoes suitable for washing, the quality requirements increase sharply. Obviously, the set of products in the processing system must change.
We wish you thoughtful and beneficial solutions. And great harvests for next season!