With the UK potato industry facing more challenges than ever, ensuring accurate nematicide application is being advised by experts.

However for one grower, Ollie Dennis of Dennis (Haddenham) Limited, attention to detail along with using the best technology and equipment is already part of his approach.

With support from relatives, Ollie runs a 700ha arable farm including 400ha of potatoes for the crisping, chipping, packing and processing markets.

“In the eighty years since my great grandfather first established the business, I’d certainly argue that the past 10 years have seen as much change as the previous 70.

“As farmers, we often have to remind ourselves that external factors such as unpredictable weather, Brexit, inflation and larger events such as the war in Ukraine are out of our control, so it’s all about focusing on the elements we can control, and that obviously includes keeping on-farm production costs as low as possible to ensure the business remains profitable,” he says.

“A key early spring task is nematicide application, but given the cost of nematicide has increased by more than 50% during the past 10 years, accurate application to maximize the efficacy of the product and minimise wastage is as important as it’s ever been.”


Ollie says in 2014 the farm let go of their old chain-driven applicator following both calibration and maintenance problems, investing in the first of three Maxicast nematicide applicators from manufacturer Techneat Engineering.

“The key benefits of the Maxicast are that it has lower running costs than most other applicators, it’s simple to use, quick to set up, and uses the same Garmin GPS electronic rate controller as other Techneat machines – cab mounted and designed for easy output monitoring.”

Maxicast aims for safe, accurate and straightforward application with a closed transfer filling system and the machine’s 12 fishtail outlets, spaced at 450mm intervals along the full width of a 5.4m boom, deliver the product precisely via a powerful hydraulic fan.

Application accuracy

“To further improve accuracy this season, we’ll be investing in an Isobus controller for better variable rate control and adding an auto-shut off system for more accurate headland control,” adds Ollie.

“With a large 400-litre hopper that ensures we stop to refill less often, and an all-weather cover to protect the machine, the Maxicast has low running costs and offers a high level of accuracy. It can also be used to apply cover crops, and since we’ve decided to minimise ploughing in future establishment, we’ll be adding a cover crop mix to improve our potatoes by putting more nutrients back into the soil.”

He concludes by saying technical back-up and service support from Techneat has always been excellent with each Maxicast serviced pre-season alongside its annual National Sprayer Testing Scheme compliance test.