Desiccation of potato crops

Timely desiccation is important to stop bulking and optimise yield, as well as prevent re-growth and the spread of virus.

Can you get good skinset when burning down without diquat?

Our research over the last two years has shown that, yes you can get a good canopy kill and the skinset you need, but it will not be as easy, and it will likely cost more.

The final report from last year's project of trials held acoss our Strategic Potato Farms also made practical recommendations on using the protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors, Gozai and Spotlight Plus, and examined the performance of Saltex, which currently doesn’t have approval from the Chemicals Regulations Directorate (CRD).

While we have likely seen the end of 'one-size-fits-all' desiccation, growers are finding success through an integrated approach, and either flailing, spraying or both.

The resources below will guide you through our latest findings:

Practical recommendations from latest research:

  • Quick canopy kill does not necessarily mean quick skinset
  • Aim to apply PPO desiccants early to mid-morning, ideally on a sunny day
  • Wet soils mean slower skinet, so aim to stop irrigation 7 days before desiccation
  • Expect a one - four day delay to skinset when using alternatives to diquat

Slower canopy death means you will need to manage disease risk until all 'green material' is gone

Webinar recording: How to apply alternatives to Diquat

Webinar recording: Desiccation - how effective are Diquat alternatives for potato crops?

Other considerations

  • Consider adjusting Nitrogen rates to reduce haulm
  • While flailing will be an integral to desiccation strategies, it gives a slower rate of kill meaning spray will also be needed
  • Ideal weather conditions for flailing are hot and sunny. Given the need to factor in other weather conditions, growers will need to plan a longer period between starting desiccation and harvest.



Desiccation 2020 – what to consider before you plant The cost of desiccation without diquat Life after Diquat: desiccation trials across AHDB’s SPot network Latest desiccation research shows reaching skinset depends on a range of factors Measuring alternative desiccants at SPot South Best alternative(s) to diquat for desiccation of potato haulm

Download our desiccation podcast episode and listen on the go