POTATO BLIGHT has raised its ugly head in parts of the UK late in the season, following a spate of turbulent weather.

The Blightwatch alert system – hosted by the AHDB and the MET Office – has displayed red warnings indicating the highest level of blight threat, with Scottish outbreaks expected in Forfar and Ayr.

In England, the regions of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire have red warnings, with a similar level of threat indicated for Wales in the coming days.

Main crop varieties are closing in on the burndown phase but much of the planted area has up to two weeks left and growers have been urged to ensure they take clean crops into store.

Corteva Agriscience’s field technical manager for potatoes, Craig Chisholm, has received a flurry of calls from growers and advisors on how to protect crops late in the season.

“The risk is that tuber blight could be carried into store, caused by temperatures falling and rain washing zoospores into the soil. Catchy weather may well extend the intervals between spraying blight fungicides, so we are advising growers to use a product that will protect the canopy for 10 days," he advised.

“Some growers have the added complication of managing a stop-start cereal harvest at the same time as carrying out preventative blight sprays. Because of this, a product with some curative activity on blight will prove useful.”