At its annual potato agronomists’ conference on 25th January, Bayer launched a new tuber treatment – Emesto Prime DS – that will be available for growers to use on this year’s plantings.

Introducing the product Bayer’s campaign manager for root crops Edward Hagues described it as the new, improved tuber treatment. “Compared with Monceren DS – the long-standing powder standard – Emesto Prime DS brings even greater efficacy against tuber-borne Rhizoctonia. Whatever measure you take – black scurf incidence on tubers, crop emergence, final stand, tuber size distribution or marketable yield – it’s improved,” Mr Hagues said. He added that in trials it has also shown useful reduction in silver scurf and is very crop safe.
Based on Bayer’s new SDHI active substance penflufen at 2% w/w the maximum dose rate is 1 kg/tonne of seed tubers at planting. It can be used on all varieties but must only be applied using automated powder dispenser equipment fitted on an automatic planter.
Mr Hagues said the company had been encouraging the transition to on-planter application for more than ten years with stewardship training and demonstration of on-planter applicators. “Four years ago we conducted a national survey which found that three-quarters of the area planted was being treated via on-planter powder applicator and that growers could see the days of manual application were numbered.
“Growers are now well served in making the move to on-planter application. Team Sprayers offers them to fit all the main makes of cup and belt planter including Standen, Grimme and Miedema which can either be bought fitted on new planters or retro-fitted by dealers,” Mr Hagues said. Emesto Prime DS is programmed into Team’s current Digimon control version 4.1b as a treatment option. Growers with an earlier version will need to send their Digimon control box to Team customer services to be re-chipped.
Another direction for use to note is that Emesto DS should not be used on seed tubers, which have previously been treated with a dry powder seed treatment. However, it is compatible with azoxystrobin applied in-furrow enabling growers to target soil-borne as well as tuber-borne sources of infection.
As the product only gained authorisation last August, Bayer is only able to make a limited release of product onto the UK market this year, which will be equivalent to around a tenth of Monceren use. By the time of 2019 plantings, production will have been increased to meet the expected widespread demand from growers switching to the new product.