Build a Foundation for Plentiful Potatoes

January 9, 2019

Tempting tubers get their good looks and heavy weights from healthy roots.

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- No matter how healthy the plants look in a potato field, the power is in the ground and the proof is in the digging. That's why potato growers list root protection as a top priority.

"The top of the plant doesn't make you any money. It's all beneath the soil," said Drew Nielsen, Bayer customer business advisor. "Roots are important. You have to have a strong base before you can even create a crop."

Creating a strong base starts with reducing pressure from nematodes. U.S. Department of Agriculture research shows nematodes can cause as much as a 90-percent reduction in potato yield.

In Washington State, Michael Hubbard of Hubbard Ag Science, sees the damage and yield impact of nematodes, primarily Meloidogyne chitwoodi, or root-knot nematode, and the lesion nematode. Lesion nematode has been at the forefront of recent research because it plays a role in early dying complex.

"Basically, it's a component of yield. You can see some reduction in root mass with root-lesion nematodes, but mostly we see a yield component when we have high levels of root-lesion nematode," Hubbard said.

With the 2019 crop, growers have more options than ever before for protecting those roots. Managing nematodes—the most economically damaging below-ground pest, both at-plant and in-season—is essential to maximizing water and nutrient uptake and minimizing risk of disease. Growers who manage nematodes also suppress pressure from opportunistic diseases that otherwise would move in through nematode-wounded roots.

Jeremy Shuler, sales manager for Wilbur-Ellis at two Washington State locations, started recommending Velum® Prime to his customers in 2018. Velum Prime, a nematicide/fungicide, provides wide-spectrum nematode suppression and helps manage key diseases, including early blight, white mold and Verticillium wilt, another component of early dying complex.

"We did a lot of trials with Velum Prime in 2017. And at the end of the season, we saw a yield bump on the half that was treated with Velum Prime," Shuler said.

In Idaho, many growers are applying Velum Prime and then coming back with Movento® HL. V+M Solution is a nematode management program that combines the wide-spectrum nematicidal activity of Velum Prime with the sustained in-season nematode protection of Movento to guard against nematodes.

The V+M Solution has worked well for Kamren Koompin, a grower in American Falls, Idaho.

"The Velum Prime fits in really nicely, especially going after root lesion nematode and the connection it has to Verticillium wilt, which can show up as early dying complex later in the year on certain varieties," Koompin said.

Movento, a foliar insecticide and nematicide, employs two-way systemic action to suppress nematodes and control sucking pests, including psyllids and aphids. Movento moves from leaf to root to protect the entire plant, providing a high level of residual efficacy that extends into new plant growth.

"Movento fits in really nicely with our integrated pest management program and helps control psyllids and aphids. Zebra chip [disease] showed up several years ago in Idaho and so psyllids have been on kind of the front of everybody's watch list," Koompin said. "And, having that added nematode effect—benefit—along with the Velum Prime on those fields really helps with late-season plant health."

For additional information on promoting root health to get maximum yield and optimum quality from your potato crop, talk to your Bayer representative and visit the Movento and Velum Prime web pages.

Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online at

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