Crop protection firm issues advice on best use of the Quantis biostimulant

Late planting and slow emergence of potatoes in cold and wet conditions could leave crops more exposed to the effects of stress at the all-important tuber initiation stage this season, Syngenta has warned.

Syngenta's Andy Cunningham

Syngenta’s Andy Cunningham

The crop protection company’s technical manager Andy Cunningham pointed to research showing that tuber initiation is one of the key points where potato plants can be impacted by stress. That could be further compounded this year if it coincides with the onset of warm weather in late May or early June, he added.

“Studies have shown that routinely applying Quantis biostimulant at tuber initiation can help reduce stress on potato plants,” Cunningham said. ”Its proven effects on temperature stress will be especially relevant this season.”

Cunningham recommended Quantis application when first tuber set is at, or before, small pea size. “This is a critical time for the potato plant’s development, as they are particularly sensitive to stress. Weather conditions and temperatures at this timing will largely dictate how many tubers will be produced, and subsequently supported through to yield.

“Potato growers and agronomists will need to nurse them through with all the tools available, including nutrition, irrigation, blight protection and biostimulants to alleviate stress,” he advised.

Effects of temperature on tubers

Crop research at the James Hutton Institute notes: “Temperature has a pronounced effect on the formation of potato tubers: when the temperature is too high, potato plants form less or no tubers, which can greatly decrease yields.”

Syngenta said Quantis has been shown to adapt the hormone pathways that govern the potato plant’s response to temperature stress, thereby enabling it to continue to function more efficiently and make better use of light and resources for growth.

“Growers should be prepared to always apply Quantis at tuber initiation, ideally at a timing where it can be tank mixed with a blight spray treatment,” Cunningham continued. Quantis is compatible with all Revus and mandipropamid mix blight sprays.

Cunningham advocated growers and agronomists continue to track temperatures through the growing season, to allow Quantis applications prior to heat stress as crops develop. Trigger points in potatoes are flagged when leaf temperature exceeds 25⁰C for more than three hours per day, or above 30⁰C for any length of time.

The Syngenta Quantis Heat Stress Alert tool, which can be tailored for early warnings of temperature events on individual fields, is available free in the company’s myField app.