CAFRE Blight Workshops planned for 17th- 18th June 2024

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Several pressures are converging with potential to make blight control more challenging for Northern Irish potato growers during this and in subsequent seasons.

To help growers better plan their blight control programmes, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), in conjunction with Teagasc are hosting two workshops on blight.

Last summer’s weather characterised by seemingly persistent daily rainfall, heat and humidity, provided near perfect conditions for blight to develop whilst also limiting spray opportunities.

Some climate change predictions suggest we may see warmer and wetter summers more frequently, increasing blight pressure.

Potato grower Adrian Jamison and CAFRE's Robin Bolton discussing upcoming blight workshops on 17th and 18th JunePotato grower Adrian Jamison and CAFRE's Robin Bolton discussing upcoming blight workshops on 17th and 18th June
Potato grower Adrian Jamison and CAFRE's Robin Bolton discussing upcoming blight workshops on 17th and 18th June

Combined with this there has also been a discovery of new more virulent blight strains and the spread of strains with resistance to several fungicide groups have emerged in Europe.

Examples from different countries have shown that where not managed carefully severe blight outbreaks can emerge.

The good news is in countries such as Denmark with a reduced number of effective fungicide groups if the correct strategies are employed it is possible to maintain good blight control in these conditions.

The reduction in the availability of some active ingredients most notably Mancozeb which has been a key part of blight programmes for years will also add to the challenge.

This workshop aims to update growers on the problem, identify good IPM and spray application practices effective in controlling the disease and finally identify the most effective strategies when compiling a fungicide programme to protect against blight and protect the long-term efficacy of blight fungicides.

The workshops will be held in the Roepark Resort, Limavady on 17 June and the Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch on 18 June both meetings starting at 7:45pm.

Basis and Nroso points have been applied for and meetings are open to all potato growers and agronomists.

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