Effective seed treatment quickly builds bigger and stronger root systems, which can support higher number of tubers with more even size and maturity at harvest – and one new treatment is an eye opener.

Frontier Agriculture’s potato seed treatment specialist, Paul Overton, reported that the company’s extensive trials with Maxim (fludioxonil) had shown it consistently enabled more eyes to open and stimulated extra rooting.

“More viable eyes that increases stem numbers per ha is key to increasing overall yields,” advocated Paul. “Our controlled environment trials at Sutton Bridge repeatedly provided the earlier and stronger root vigour with Maxim treatment. In the field, that translated to more even initial eye movement in the box and typically meant crops were faster to reach 100% emergence.”

Frontier’s store allows it to accelerate seed-borne diseases on seed lots. “If we can identify seed issues before planting, it gives the chance to make the best decisions on what treatments to recommend. We also get a better understanding how to work with specific varieties and for different markets to achieve the optimum performance for growers,” he said.

Growing salad varieties, he reported combinations of ethylene and Maxim has shown to stimulate far greater shoot numbers. With varieties which have the capability for branched stolons carrying extra tubers, such as early maincrops Brooke and Taurus, it makes the control of rhizoctonia even more important, he pointed out.

“Stolon numbers are the absolute framework for carrying tubers and increasing the yield potential. With the Maxim treatment the cleanliness and vigour of the stems is incredible, so growers and agronomists can really begin to influence potato plant population dynamics for higher yields and marketable quality.”

Fludioxonil is well suited as a seed treatment. It is relatively immobile in the soil and surrounds the tuber and protects roots for longer.

Work by Frontier with Dr Stuart Wale, at SRUC Craibstone, had shown earlier application helped stop skin diseases, including black dot, silver scurf, skin spot and fusarium, along with rhizoctonia. Research with tuber dip tests and hand applying seed treatment with a paint brush to individual dormant eyes demonstrated the crop safety and that applying the full dose achieved more consistent results.