Preparing for 2021 planting: the outlook

{Sponsored} 2020 was a banner year for potato growers in the most unexpected ways. Unlike many seasons, pests and diseases weren’t necessarily the biggest issues they faced — but this means growers need to be all the more vigilant going into the 2021 growing season.

Being prepared as growers plan for the spring season requires understanding the pressures from last year, as well as the options available for controlling issues that can decimate fields.

Knowing what’s available on the market and understanding the issues many growers have with resistance management are just half the battle. Being prepared to apply chemistries preventatively will go a long way to reducing issues later in the season, but all of that requires that growers plan ahead and have the right chemistries on hand before the season kicks off.

When concerned about resistance, growers need to understand not only what is available but also what limits they may have, making the timing of applications one of the most important aspects of pest and disease management.

Tye Shauck, technical services representative with BASF Corporation, notes that the most important thing for growers to think about now is having the right chemistries on hand before the season starts. “You never know how your spring will shape up. Make a plan early,” Shauck said. Even if disease or pest pressure was abnormally low in 2020, growers need to take care not to grow complacent about common threats.

BASF offers several chemistries, from in-furrow and foliar fungicides to preemergent herbicides, that growers can apply to help start the season off right.

These include Priaxor® fungicide, which works against Rhizoctonia when applied in-furrow, and which Shauck calls “very effective” in this capacity. Priaxor® fungicide can also be applied if needed as a foliar fungicide to control black dot and early blight and also offers plant health benefits, such as an improvement in growth efficiency and reduction in plant stress. Keeping ethylene and oxidative stress low in the plant means less impact on the plant when in a stressful environment.

Shauck recommends that in the fight against white mold and early blight, growers should use foliar applications starting just prior to row closure. Endura® fungicide is a perennial favorite with many growers and “what I would consider best-in-class for white mold control and is also very effective on early blight in areas without Group 7 resistance,” Shauck said. Provysol® fungicide is the newest chemistry developed by BASF for use in potatoes. Provysol provides excellent control of early blight with long residual activity as well as resistance management. Being a group 3 fungicide, it works in areas where resistance has developed to group 7 chemistries. When considering late blight, BASF offers Forum® fungicide, for control.

As pre-emergent herbicide applications, Shauck recommends that growers consider Zidua® SC herbicide and Prowl® H2O herbicide. Zidua® SC herbicide is newly labeled for potatoes with long residual activity at a low use rate and is effective on difficult weeds including nightshades and pigweeds. Prowl® H2O herbicide is broad-spectrum while also protecting fields for long periods of time. “It’s important to apply these chemistries early in the season to control weeds from a residual standpoint, before they emerge and become competitive,” Shauck said.

When growers are in a position to possibly face issues related to contracts, like they were in 2020, the best way to get in front of the issue is to ensure that the best yield and quality are available from all fields. Growers need to focus on the things they can control: fungal disease, pests and weeds. “We can get you there with the top-quality BASF products that we offer in our potato portfolio,” Shauck said.

For more information about the portfolio of chemistries BASF offers for potato growers, visit

Provysol®, Zidua®, Prowl®, Priaxor®, Endura® and Forum® are registered trademarks of BASF Corporation.

© 2020 BASF Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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