INSIDERSCrop ProtectionTired Soils Aren’t an Inevitable, Unwinnable Battle

Tired Soils Aren’t an Inevitable, Unwinnable Battle


I receive countless calls from frustrated potato growers who tell me they are throwing costly inputs at their fields, yet not seeing the yields they need. In addition, production costs are increasing while water resources grow tighter. If you’re not satisfied with your yields, it’s time for a change.

Certain go-to tools, though proven in past generations, may need to be reconsidered. Our understanding of soil productivity and agricultural ecosystems has vastly improved in recent years. As an industry, it’s time to move away from indiscriminate pest management tools toward more targeted and sustainable options. Strike is a selective soil fumigant gaining popularity in potato production today. It manages potatoes’ key soil-borne diseases, including rhizoctonia, black dot, and common scab. Arguably most importantly, it acts like a heat seeking missile against debilitating early die complex caused by verticillium and lesion nematode.

Strike is a true soil fumigant actively moving through the soil profile suppressing soil-borne disease, and as an added benefit, promoting the growth of beneficial microbes. The impact can be rapid and significant, with a substantial increase in beneficial saprophytic microbe populations inside of a single season, and visibly improving plant health and crop growth. While producers need to understand soil rejuvenation takes time, shifting to Strike is an excellent way to make an important move towards improved soil health and better crop production.

While Strike is an effective option, it should be viewed as just one in a suite of sustainability and soil health promoting tools, alongside cover cropping, compaction management, and careful use of all inputs.

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Chad Hutchinson
Chad Hutchinson
Global director of potato research and market support for TriCal Group - Chad Hutchinson received his degree in plant physiology/horticulture from Purdue University in 1997. He was on the faculty of the University of Florida and the state potato specialist for 10 years. Hutchinson has worked with potato growers around the world on topics ranging from variety selection, crop nutrition, soil health and soil disease suppression helping potato growers be successful.