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Stackyard News Jan 08

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    SAC Association of Potato Producers Conference

The annual SAC Association of Potato Producers (SACAPP) Conference, due to be held at St Johnstone FC Football Ground, Perth on 30 January, goes from strength to strength. Now in its 8th year, this is the only major annual potato conference held in Scotland. Free to members of SACAPP, the conference is also open to non-members.


Organised by SAC potato expert, Stuart Wale, the conference has attracted a stimulating array of speakers: Tim Papworth of LF Papworth Ltd, a progressive ware producer will explain how he produces perfect potatoes and will go into the current issues that he faces. John Elphinstone of CSL will be unraveling the complexity of common scab, focusing on the work of the LINK project which is just completing its second year. Ruaridh Bain of SAC will be looking at the lessons which can be learned from the 2007 blight epidemic and the fungicide choice for 2008 and Mark Taylor of SCRI will be discussing a recent project undertaken by the Institute which studied flavour and genetics behind it.

This will be followed by a tasting session of potential new salad varieties supplied by Scottish breeders. The afternoon sessions will consist of workshops and further presentations. Ware growers will have the opportunity to examine physiological changes in potatoes; what causes them and how they can be controlled with Dr Peter Harkett of McCain Potatoes. The alternative session for seed growers will look at seed production and keeping virus levels low. This session will be led by Stuart Carnegie and John Pickup of SASA.

A technical session will provide brief presentations of technical summaries with strong take home messages for future production, all based on research and experience generated within SAC. Subjects covered include the possible effects of living nematodes on potato growth, life without paraquat an overview of the application of tuber fungicides to seed and PTMV and spraing.

Finally Alan Renwick of SAC’s Rural Policy Centre will discuss how changes in climate will affect potato production in the future.

Stuart Wale says,

‘This conference is aimed at growers and more than half of the audiences are producers. Thus the success of the conference has been that we cover relevant issues and provide strong take home messages. A focus on new varieties will show just how important they will be to future success of the industry’

The conference is free to members of SACAPP, but non-members are also welcome on payment of the delegate fee which is, £50 + VAT to non-SACAPP growers and £100 + VAT to agronomists and the potato trade. This includes refreshments and lunch.

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