Potato production is always a challenge, but just now growers are facing a whole series of new issues. It is these that SAC will focus on at their Annual Conference at Perth Racecourse on 28th January.
Potato production is always a challenge, but just now growers are facing a whole series of new issues.
Growers will hear from some of the country’s top experts and, just as important, get a chance to have their say during the workshop sessions. It is an event organised for the practical producer and you are invited to attend.
As usual, disease will be very much to the fore with a workshop on the threat posed by Dickeya spp, another form of blackleg, which has already devastated Dutch crops and could do the same in Scotland. There are also concerns about the increase in alternaria early blight and questions over how to control it. Some might argue GM can help but a special debate by two Scottish Crop Research Institute researchers, Finlay Dale and Gavin Ramsay, will highlight the pros and cons of a sometimes complicated strategy.
New and old strategies will also be discussed when considering if chitting, the pre-planting sprouting of potatoes, should be revived or the whether composts have a place in potato growing. One new development is the increasing use of ethylene to suppress sprouting. It is a technique there is still much to learn about as Richard Barnes will explain.
Mechanical innovation won't be ignored either. Lawrence Defty will consider the potential of automated grading in a world where people are increasingly reluctant to take on the tedious task. In addition, with sulphuric acid no longer available for haulm destruction, there will be presentations on alternative chemical and mechanical options.
For an overview, organiser Dr. Stuart Wale, SAC’s potato guru, has invited an Australian, Andrew Powell, to give his impressions of British potato production. As expected from an Aussie it will be a candid, no holds barred reflection and a stimulating start to a busy day. We hope to see you there.
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