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RWL Services FACTS

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due to the abrasiveness of some nematicides, or due to a foreign body in the hopper. These are removed for cleaning and servicing, or completely replaced. “At around £140 each they are not cheap, but they are a critical bit of kit and relatively inexpensive compared to the nematicide itself,” he points out. As well as servicing and repair, Richard points out that calibration is an important part of the test which he does with live product, and NSTS dictates that each outlet must be accurate to within 10 per cent of the

Metering cassettes at the base of each hopper are the biggest cause of machine failure when they start to wear.

average output. To be sure, Richard works on the basis of calibrating machines to within 5 per cent, or better, accuracy.

RWL Services is a main dealer for Suffolk-based specialist manufacturer of potato and vegetable equipment, Bye Engineering, as well as for applicator manufacturer Horstine and Team Sprayers. It is also Suffolk and Essex sales and service partner for Scanstone, supplying a wide range of root crop machinery such as destoners, bed-formers, bed-tillers and the new Patriot harvester. RWL Services offers a full servicing, calibration and NSTS testing service, including sales, spare parts, fitting and support for many makes and models of specialist potato and vegetable application machinery. “PCN is the most important potato pest in UK and can result in anything from slight yield loss to complete crop failure, so it’s

worth ensuring accurate, efficient application and incorporation at the correct depth and in the correct place,” he concludes. ■

Varietal resistance vital to manage PCN populations The potato growing land area in England and Wales has seen a reduction in the overall levels of potato cyst nematode infestation, according to a recent survey. However, while the reduction of samples found infested with PCN is a positive, much more needs to be done in terms of varietal resistance if different strains of PCN are to be managed effectively. Those were the thoughts of Harper Adams University’s Dr Matthew Back, speaking at the AHDB Agronomists’ conference (Potatoes programme) prior to the Christmas break. He reminded attendees that PCN remains the number one pest of potato crops, resulting in serious damage each year, however the survey had shown a clear difference in the decline rate of the main two species – globodera pallida and globodera rostochiensis.

“The last survey took place in 2002 and so we wanted to see how populations in England and Wales have changed,” suggested Dr Black. Confirming an overall reduction in the number of samples infested with PCN, he said the survey (using AHDB potato plantings data) demonstrated that 48 per cent of potato growing soils in England and Wales were infested with PCN, of which 89 per cent contained pure ‘G pallida’, 5 per cent pure ‘G rostochiensis’ and 6 per cent contained a mixed population. “Since the last survey G pallida has increased and G rostochiensis has decreased,” he continued. “The implications of an elevated presence of G pallida means that we need more time to invest in varietal resistance. We have exacerbated the problem by growing varieties that are resistant to G rostochiensis, and not G pallida. “Any population density needs managing in some form and growers

sometimes test for population density, but not species, to select a suitable variety. Therefore, if G pallida is on the land then they must choose a more suitable variety. “However, the overall reduced incidence of PCN could be due to pure populations of G rostochiensis being reduced by use of resistant varieties,” he added. Taking a regional view of the survey, he highlighted that the East Midlands and north west of the country had the greatest percentage of samples featuring PCN. For the east and south east of the country, although samples were dominated by G pallida, these areas recorded the largest number of G rostochiensis

A PCN-infected tuber.

compared with other areas. No PCN were detected in the north east. Dr Black concluded with a reminder of the importance of IPM and that every strategy put in place takes a proportion of pest out of the system. “We can’t totally rely on chemicals because of future legislation, so where there are high populations of PCN, then eight-year rotations, cultivar resistance, biofumigation, soil hygiene and biological control can all be integrated to acheive as much as a 70 per cent reduction in PCN. “But it doesn’t replace chemical control,” he added. ■

Training key for nematicide know-how Operators applying nematicides to potato and other root crop fields at planting this spring still have time to enrol on a Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) training workshop if they haven’t already attended one. According to the NSP, a joint industry approach set up in 2014 to provide a minimum standard for nematicide use on UK farms, while also promoting best practice, the target is to train 1,200 operators by March this year – a figure the organisation says it is on track to delivering. All courses, operated by specialist training organisation Artis, are provided free of charge by nematicide product ‘approval

holders’ DuPont, Syngenta and Certis. Speaking to Farmers Guide, NSP independent chair Dr Sharon Hall (left) stressed that, like most crop protection products, nematicides are continually under challenge from regulators and from the threat of increased legislation, and therefore it is right that the industry continues to work together to demonstrate to regulators that nematicide application is being taken seriously. “Stewardship of nematicides is to ensure that a minimum standard is met when products are applied but, importantly, it comes with the core values of protecting the environment, the consumer and the operator,” she commented.

“It is in addition to the legal requirements already in place for product application, as set out on the label,” she added. While the requirement for operators to undertake training remains voluntary, Dr Hall suggested that, in future, there may be a move to incorporate some elements of training to be audited within an assurance scheme, but for now NSP is hoping to reach its target of 1,200 operators trained by March. “Training is absolutely

the key element to nematicide stewardship and if an operator is considering it, but there don’t appear be any courses available in their area, then they should get in touch with training company Artis which can often place people on to another course or even arrange a new one,” advised Dr Hall. “As many as 280 operators are booked to attend courses during the first three months of this year and there’s approximately 160 places to fill,” she concluded. ■

Nematicide stewardship – further information For the latest NSP nematicide training courses see: nematicide The Nematicide Application Protocol – code of good practice for the application of nematicides: Nematicide product approval holders: DuPont (Vydate), Syngenta (Nemathorin) and Certis (Mocap)

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Farmers Guide February 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine February 2017 Issue

Farmers Guide February 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine February 2017 Issue