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GB’s largest technical potato field event is coming up

15 July 2015

With up to 1000 industry visitors expected, Potatoes in Practice (PiP), sponsored by AHDB Potatoes and supported by Potato Review magazine, is the UK’s largest technical field event for the potato industry. It provides key topical technical content to hundreds of growers and industry ‘influencers’ and this year it will be held on Thursday 13th August, at the James Hutton Institute’s Balruddery Farm, Invergowrie, near Dundee, DD2 5LJ.

PiP is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute, a world-leader in crop and environmental science where work focuses on leading crop research to support agriculture.

Also held in association with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Agrii, PiP offers the anticipated high-standard mix of science, technology and practical advice.  The packed one-day programme takes the form of agronomy and variety trial plots with guided tours, a technical seminar programme, research and trade stands, static and working machinery displays.

Nearly 900 industry visitors travelled from near and far to the event in 2014, with increasing numbers of visitors coming from overseas to see the advances the GB potato industry is making. Growers, seed breeders, exporters, plant health officials, machinery companies, trade and marketing organisations all gather at PiP, making it a ‘must-attend’ event in the technical calendar.

Currently, AHDB Potatoes sponsors forty-two R&D projects and PiP visitors can find out about all levy-funded R&D projects, practical outcomes and technical campaigns by visiting AHDB Potatoes’ stand in the marquee, where the technical and crop storage team will be on hand to help.

2015 is the International Year of Soils and soil management is a vital part of potato production.

One of the two AHDB Potatoes-sponsored soil demonstrations examines whether cover crops offer a viable option before potatoes.  In a three year project funded by AHDB Potatoes and as part of the Soils Platform Project, ADAS and SRUC have evaluated the sowing of cover crops in the late-summer before a potato crop.  This demonstration will look at various cover crop species tested utilising an English site and a Scottish site. Visitors will learn how the cover crop most suited to the locality differed between north and south of the Border, and why the time of incorporation of cover crop is also critical if the nitrogen is to be effectively released to the following crop. 

The James Hutton Institute will be showing the second AHDB Potatoes-sponsored soil pit demonstration, examining the impacts on soil and crop associated with the cultivation of wet soil and of soil at optimal water content. This soil pit will show several features, revealing outcomes from recent research by NIAB-CUF, funded by AHDB Potatoes, demonstrating the benefits of delaying primary cultivation. In this demonstration, soil was cultivated at two different water contents - one drier and one wetter than the plastic limit.  Differences in the extent and nature of aggregates of clods will be examined.

As part of the AHDB Potatoes-funded platforms to test and demonstrate sustainable soil management, the James Hutton Institute will be using the Balruddery Centre for Sustainable Cropping to examine whether differences in management change soil aggregation.  

Further event trials and demos will look at foliar and crop nutrition, high-grade seed production, seed tuber treatments and bio-controls. Plus, growers can take a look at all the current and new varieties available and discuss their requirements with the breeders.

Now a regular feature, live machinery demos will be held again this year. Euan Caldwell, James Hutton Institute Farm Manager, is instrumental in preparing the site and developing the working machinery demos. Euan says “We’ll see Agricar working a Grimme BF200 Bedforma and a mounted Norsdon 1502 pneumatic fertiliser applicator. George Moate will be demonstrating the Tillerstar. Grimme (UK) will demonstrate their BFL-series BedForma and Grimme CS150 multiweb de-stoner, and both machines will be guided by Soil Essentials RTK GPS guidance system. Also RGS Forfar will be demonstrating a Scanstone windrower and Dewulf self-propelled harvester. There will be a lot to see, all working live on the site.

“The machinery demos are scheduled to run twice, so there’ll be an opportunity for all visitors to see them,” advises Euan.

Irrigation, promotion and science funding

The PiP seminar programme forms a key part of the technical knowledge exchange with growers, with hot topics being discussed this year.

The first seminar will look at two recent AHDB Potatoes-sponsored research projects which have produced new practical recommendations for both early- and late-season irrigation. NIAB-CUF will talk about using irrigation to control common scab in more resistant varieties, higher allowable deficits and a later start to irrigation. 

AHDB Market Intelligence (MI) team will discuss the information services they provide to assist producers and merchants with immediate pricing decisions, market planning and understanding the longer-term trends in the potato industry. AHDB Potatoes will highlight their projects which help sustain demand for potatoes and deliver added value to the potato industry.

The potato is one of the crops studied intensively at the James Hutton Institute and their potato scientists work closely across different disciplines, spanning genetics, breeding, pathology, physiology, agronomy as well as others, and interact with other potato scientists across the globe.  A ‘Pecha Kucha’ (dynamic, team-style) talk will describe how the funding they receive is being used to deliver knowledge of the potato genome, genetics and stress responses. 

Dr Phil Burgess, AHDB Potatoes’ head of knowledge transfer and communications says “Potatoes in Practice offers fresh content each year and gives growers and industry an excellent chance to find out about the latest government, AHDB and industry-supported initiatives.

“There will be seasonal advice from experts in their field on crop nutrition, pests and disease issues, as well as the latest products and equipment on the trade stand exhibits and machinery displays.                     

Dr Burgess adds “This event provides growers and wider industry with the latest science and technical advice, with nearly 900 attendees last year. It’s a very wide-ranging field day and there’s something there for everybody, from agronomists to students to researchers and farmers alike. I’d encourage everybody in the industry to attend.”

Useful links

For more information on the event, including visitor booking information, visit:

Twitter: @AHDB_Potatoes #PiP2015


Contacts for this press information

AHDB Potatoes communications contact

Sophie Lock

Communications Officer

024 7647 8772


The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

AHDB Potatoes is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). AHDB is a UK-wide Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by Defra and primarily funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain through statutory levies. It supports the meat and livestock industries (beef, sheep and pigs) in England, the horticulture, dairy and potatoes industries in Great Britain, and the cereals and oilseeds industry in the UK. AHDB Potatoes was formerly known as Potato Council.

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