Practical checks when thinking of treating seed

Growers are advised to have seed health professionally checked and discuss results with their agronomist before making the decision to apply seed treatment

Quality of Seed

  • Check for disease incidence and severity including any tuber damage
  • Health of Tuber (Good quality & vigour)
  • Check tuber temperature, especially if coming out of cold storage; minimum 6°C
  • Assess potential for damage to tubers and /or sprouts when treating
  • Has the seed been cut? If yes, wait for wound (cut) to heel before treating

Other seed treatments

  • Check history of other treatments with seed supplier.
  • Check product label of product intended to use for any restrictions or sequences

Seed can be weakened due to these factors without showing any visual signs, tubers may also be inherently weak due to generic reasons.

Practical steps when preparing to treat Potato seed tubers

Steps to take before using a tuber treatment.

  1. Always carry out a risk assessment; for the operator, the consumer and the environment
  2. Consider the safety implications of applying the product
  3. Read and interpret the product label.

Legal & Safety

  1. Always read the product label before use
  2. Ensure the working area is a safe zone
  3. Wear PPE if applicable
  4. Have a First Aid kit available
  5. Applicator Calibration.

Factors affecting crop establishment

APPLICATION PRACTICES

  • There is always the potential for seed treatments to interact with seed tubers and / or other chemical treatments (used in conjunction or in sequence) particularly if seed is not dormant when treated.
  • De-sprouting may adversely influence the performance of the seed treatment
  • Check conditions of use, maximum dose, number of treatments, latest time of application.
  • Are tubers free from soil deposits?

PLANTING CONDITIONS

  • Planting into wet, cold seedbeds, especially at excessive depth will delay and reduce emergence.
  • Heavy rainfall after planting could have a similar effect.
  • Seed treatments can exacerbate negative affects if “eyes” remain in prolonged contact with the chemical.

Final check list!

Before starting treatment ask yourself the following questions

  • Do I need to use a crop protection product?
  • Is there a BASIS recommendation?
  • Has correct product been selected?
  • Have I read and understand the product label?
  • Is the Applicator Set up and been Calibrated correctly?
  • Do I hold the correct NPTC certificate of competence?
  • Record keeping by  essential if needed.
  • As with crop spraying, a full daily record of tuber treatment should be kept

Guidance for Potato Tuber application equipment

Objectives:

To optimise the efficacy of the application equipment available

To ensure that application occurs with minimal risk to workers and the environment

To identify the strengths and weaknesses of various application methods

Achieving optimum results for treating Seed Potatoes

Roller tables are the preferred method of application

Tubers must be rotating at the point of application to achieve optimum coverage

Evidence shows that higher water volumes (2 lts) gives better coverage, adhesion and deposit of the product

All treatment areas to be enclosed to prevent drift (engineering control)

Drip trays should be situated below the treatment site to catch any waste

It should be possible to stop all machinery on the line via one switch in case of emergency

Key considerations when setting up application equipment for treatment of seed potatoes

What is the intended throughput (tonnes / hour)?

Can all parts of the line handle this throughput?

Can a consistent throughput be maintained?

Can the treatment table be consistently filled across its entire width?

Is the conveyor feeding the roller the same width?

A roller table with variable speed control is best

Will the treatment be applied immediately before tubers enter their final container?

Will the applicator deliver the correct output and maintain an effective spray pattern?

In the event of an emergency, can the line be shut down from one place?

Does the application system have an automatic cut off to stop application if tuber flow ceases?

What action has been taken to prevent accidental contamination to the environment and exposure to workers to spray drift?

Do you have a NPTC PA12 certificate?