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Potato growers quiz experts on money saving strategies

2 August 2011

Scottish potato growers questioned industry specialists on practical issues such as biosecurity at this year’s Scottish Government funded Potatoes in Partnership days on July 22, 27 and 28.

 Dr Stuart Wale from SAC led discussions with delegates on the economic evaluation of potato biosecurity measures.

According to Dr Wale, the most usual way that non-indigenous pests and diseases are transmitted to potatoes is though using contaminated seed. However, transmission can also occur through contact with soil in boxes or packaging, infected ware potatoes or from contaminated water systems used for irrigation.

Dr Wale’s talk covered the economic costs if brown rot became established, taking into account aspects such as expenses connected with destruction of stock, disinfection of machinery, rotation restrictions and government monitoring costs.   He compared this to the relatively small cost of the Safe Haven Scheme.

Additionally, growers from the region received updates from Andy Evans from SAC on the three-year AHDB Potatoes funded project that is studying the complexity of associations of aphids, viruses and sources of virus.  Results to date show the incidence of PVY may be related to the numbers of non-colonising aphids in the previous season.  Reservoirs of virus in volunteers and home-saved ware crops could also be important. 

Jon Pickup and Jean Waddie from SASA outlined the implications of the new PCN directive that came into force on July 1. This is a major piece of legislation which has implications for both seed and ware production.
 “The practical discussions are really popular at this type of event,” says AHDB Potatoes technical executive Drummond Todd. “They allow delegates to interact with the speakers, asking questions about their concerns so they are able to maximise the benefit from access to these experts on the day.”

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