Routine protective spray application to commercial Majestic potato crops on two farms in south‐east Scotland for 9 and 10 years respectively gave highly significant average increases in total yield of 1.2 and 2.1 tons per acre (3.0 and 5.3 tonnes per ha) respectively in rows not affected by tractor wheels. In 6 and 7 years respectively the increases were more than 1 ton per acre. These increases were composed almost entirely of ware tubers. There was no average difference in yield whether the first spray application was made when the haulm closed in the rows or after the first general forecast based on the Beaumont period was announced. The average total yield reduction in the four rows affected by tractor wheels tended to offset the benefit given by spray application, and, where an eight‐row spray boom was employed, halved the potential overall yield increase. Reduction was again confined to the ware fraction. Similar experiments with cv. King Edward over a shorter period in eastern Scotland generally showed little consistent effect on yield, possibly partly because of the late appearance of blight in some of these crops. Considerable yield gains were obtained in Majestic crops even when the disease first appeared in mid‐August in some seasons which could not be classified as ‘blight years’. Over the 10 years of the investigation, there were 5 blight years as defined by Large (1959) compared with the 1 in 10 which Large mentioned for the north of England. Spread of blight from local sources, such as discard heaps outside the crop and before the occurrence of the field epidemic phase, was found to interfere with adequate timing of spray applications and with the effectiveness of the general forecast based on the Beaumont period. Infection of Majestic tubers was generally low but at one Majestic site and in the King Edward series the overall average tuber infection was significantly decreased by spraying. Tuber blight was shown to vary inversely with the size of tubers of Majestic as well as of King Edward.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Annals of Applied Biology|
|Publication status||Print publication - May 1973|