It has been confirmed that the first outbreak of potato blight in Northern Ireland this year was in Coleraine on 15 July in a crop of King Edward potatoes.

This has followed on from full infection periods being recorded between 8 and 14 July at sites across the North. Growers are now advised to protect crops with approved fungicides.

The timing and application of these fungicides on crops is critical as once an infection starts in a crop it cannot be eradicated.

Advice from CAFRE and AFBI is to use approved fungicides with different modes of action. This means not relying on any one active ingredient in a fungicide for more than half of the season.

Farmers have also been told to limit the use of phenylamide-based fungicides, such as Epok and Fubol Gold, to no more than twice in the season due to a significant rise in the proportion of phenylamide-resistant blight strains in 2014.

Updates on blight infections in areas in Northern Ireland can be followed on the decision support system, Blight-Net, on the DARD website.