Early approach reduces stress

Over the past three years, independent experiments in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire have been examining the effects of biostimulants’ applications to work out where the best results are achieved.

THREE years of independent replicated experiments carried out by Dyson Farming Research (DFR) have concluded that a consistent reduction in stress impacts can be achieved through early applications of a biostimulant.
Ilex EnviroScience’s PK Maxx +, a biostimulant used in the experiments, contains phosphorous in both the phosphate and phosphite forms, which are recognised to reduce stress, boost root development and stimulate healthy growth at critical growth periods. It also includes beneficial levels of magnesium, and sulphur together with essential trace elements manganese, zinc, copper, boron, iron and molybdenum.
The experiments started in 2021, investigating the influence of products containing (phosphite), Simplex (seaweed extract), and a new product called Advocate (containing calcium). In each experiment, sequential sampling was performed throughout the season and data from individual harvests were assessed by analysis of variance. Rates of tuber bulking were analysed by linear regression and rates were compared statistically.
In the 2021 experiment, heat stress interrupted tuber bulking in the middle of the season. After the stress period, bulking continued at a reduced rate which was lower in untreated than treated plots, with the difference being significant for Advocate, showing that this reduced the effects of stress (Graph 1).
In the 2022 experiment, the stress occurred later in development and treatments did not influence the initial rate of tuber bulking but final yield was significantly higher in plots treated with Advocate or Stimplex than in untreated plots, indicating protection of yield at the end of the season (Graph 2).
The experiment in 2023 aimed to continue this research and provide further data on the influence of PK Maxx + and Advocate on potato crop performance. The experiment included a wider range of timings, so that effects could be related to the timing of any stress events.
The experiment was performed within a commercial potato crop, planted in Lincolnshire, and comprising seven treatments with three replicates in a complete randomised block design.

Full details on how the trials were replicated and the results arrived at are detailed in the May issue of Potato Review. You can read our latest issues online or subscribe to receive your own digital copy here.

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