Top Crop Manager

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Challenging times

How its PowerYield program increases yield


November 14, 2007
By Top Crop Manager

Topics

32aCommercial growers across Canada faced challenges from various potato pests
in 2006, with insects and diseases being the top targets of their efforts. Pest
management supplier, Engage Agro, added another, a yield competition to which
43 growers answered the call!

The competition was designed to illustrate how its PowerYield program increases
yield and adds profit to the bottom line. "PowerYield involves using two
of our fungicides consecutively within a grower's usual program to manage late
blight," says Stuart Cullen, Engage Agro's potato product manager.

The concept was devised following research with Headline and Lance, two relatively
new BASF fungicides. Results from two years of research in the US and from Prince
Edward Island showed that when using these products in combination as the PowerYield
program, yields and marketable quality were increased due in part to better
plant health.

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The challenge was to grow 20 acres of potatoes, using the PowerYield program
of Headline and Lance in combination, added to a regular spray protection program,
and then compare that to 20 acres grown in the same field using only the grower's
regular spray protection program. The results were then gathered using three
by 10 foot digs from each treatment and results were graded for size and weighed.

"We asked growers to use their fungicide of choice for their usual first
application, then use Headline, alone or tank-mixed with a contact fungicide,
as their second or third application around the time of tuber initiation and
row closure. Then, 14 days later, they were to apply Lance at the high rate
(315g/ha)," explains Cullen.

Average yield increases of 2.4 pounds per 10 foot dig were recorded, with 75
percent of all the growers showing an increase in yield over the check digs,
this translates into roughly a 33cwt increase in yield per acre. Improvements
were also seen in tuber numbers and marketable yield, with 84 percent of growers
increasing the marketable yield.

Along with bragging rights and larger yields, the growers were aiming at winning
the prizes on offer. Prizes were awarded for the two growers who saw the biggest
percentage increase in yield over the check yield. These prizes were presented
to WP Griffen of Elmsdale, Prince Edward Island, which was runner up with a
yield increase of 29.2 percent over the check yield. The winner of the Prince
Edward Island challenge was Oliver Farms of Albertown, where total yield was
increased by almost 35 percent and there was a 51 percent increase in marketable
yield.

"The goal of the challenge was to show growers that by adding the PowerYield
fungicides to their existing protection program, we could show them a return
on that investment. The PowerYield program not only gave them unsurpassed disease
control, but also improved overall plant health and seems to reduce the plants'
stress," adds Cullen. -30-