Bayer Offers Advice on Healthy Potato Plant
Bayer has started to advise growers on building healthy potato plants. The company explains that is doesn’t matter how healthy the plants look in a potato field, the power “is in the ground and the proof is in the digging.” That’s why potato growers list root protection as a top priority, the company says.
“The top of the plant doesn’t make you any money. It’s all beneath the soil. Roots are important. You have to have a strong base before you can even create a crop,” said Drew Nielsen, Bayer customer business advisor.
Creating a strong base starts with reducing pressure from nematodes. U.S. Department of Agriculture research shows nematodes can cause as much as a 90% reduction in potato yield.
In Washington State, Michael Hubbard of Hubbard Ag Science, sees the damage and yield impact of nematodes, primarily Meloidogyne chitwoodi, or root-knot nematode, and the lesion nematode, which has been at the forefront of recent research because it plays a role in early dying complex.
“Basically, it’s a component of yield. You can see some reduction in root mass with root-lesion nematodes, but mostly we see a yield component when we have high levels of root-lesion nematode,” Hubbard said.
With the 2019 crop, growers have more options than ever before for protecting those roots. Managing nematodes—the most economically damaging below-ground pest, both at-plant and in-season—is essential to maximizing water and nutrient uptake and minimizing risk of disease. Growers who manage nematodes also suppress pressure from opportunistic diseases that otherwise would move in through nematode-wounded roots.