NEWS

Promising field trial results for potatoes with reduced inputs

by | Feb 1, 2024 | News, Trial Reports, TRIP

Emerald Research Ltd (ERL) released the first season’s trial results from the Innovate UK funded Transformative Reduced Input in Potatoes (TRIP) project.  Emerald Research is running farm field strip trials, commercial field-scale trials and replicated pot trials for the project along with Dyson Farming Research and leading potato growers across the country. To date, the field trials have been completed at the Cornish and Lancashire sites.

Cornish trial site

The objectives of the Cornish trial were to:

  • Establish if both soil and foliar applied fungicides can be reduced or eliminated
  • Establish whether reduced rate seedbed fertilisers or manures could provide commercially viable yields when supplemented by foliar nutrition and biostimulant combinations

Treatment summary

Treatment

Base Nutrition

Fungicide & Biological

Foliar Nutrient Programme

Other Foliar

1

FYM (20t/ha)

Maxim + Amistar

Yes

ODX only

2

FYM (20t/ha)

MMX Only

Yes

ODX only

3

Green Waste

MMX Only

Yes

ODX only

4

50% Standard

Maxim +Amistar

Yes

Blight programme

5

50% Standard

MMX Only

Yes

Blight programme

Control

100 standard

Maxim + Amistar

No

Blight programme

  • Trial compounds: MMX = Mixture beneficial micro-organisms, ODX = Novel biostimulant/elicitor

Notes:

Treatments 1-5 had an Emerald Research foliar nutrient programme following a full OptiYield® soil analysis and an OptiYield  nutrient recommendation programme was implemented.

The base fertilisers were applied to the seedbed – either at 50% or 100% – of Treatments 4, 5 and 6 (Control). Treatments 1 and 2 received only farmyard manure and Treatment 3 received only green waste.

Trial results

Treatment

Average Dig Weights

Average Count >30mm

Average Count <30mm

T1

2.44 kg

40

30

T2

3.34 kg

44

16

T4

2.60 kg

35

21

T5

3.38 kg

51

15

T6 Control

2.58 kg

36

17

Average Treatment Yields graph- TRIP Trials 2023

The Green Waste treatment (T3) was not sampled, as the very low level of nitrogen present in the GW was insufficient for realistic growth comparison. Trials next year will probably seek to supplement GW with some additional seedbed nitrogen, or look to apply foliar nitrogen at an earlier stage

Cornish trial conclusions and working hypotheses

Following the full statistical analysis of the trial data, there were five areas of interest that will be tested and explored further in the following seasons’ replicated trials.

Firstly, the accuracy and validity of Standard Soil Analysis, the OptiYield analysis clearly showed that the soil would significantly lock up soil phosphate leading to greatly reduced availability. The use of full-rate fertiliser using standard soil analysis recommendation, as in the Control, considerably under-recommended phosphate, leading to poor crop response in relation to the cost of fertiliser added.

Secondly, the yield results showed that the use of either FYM or half-rate (50%) seedbed fertilisers in combination with foliar fertilisers provided yields equal to, or greater than, the yield from the Farm Standard (conventional) approach.

Thirdly, it can be concluded that the substitution of MMX at planting has resulted in a significant increase in overall yield of 33.46% between the groups.

Fourthly, the Cornish trial results supported the previous independent trial work carried out by the University of Bangor over several years, which has shown that the development formulation  ODX is both an active biostimulant and a highly active disease resistance elicitor.

Finally, in this trial, two Treatments did not receive the standard blight spray fungicidal programme, but ODX only at each “blight spray interval”. Despite not receiving any blight spray the crops remained blight-free throughout the season. The variety (Jazzy) is prone to Late Blight and 2023 was a high blight pressure year.

Over the next two trial seasons, the findings of this season’s trials will be further tested in multiple locations. Currently the initial results indicate that it is possible to produce a viable commercial crop with fewer inputs.

TRIP trial test dig Cornwall 23