2013-05-01 xml
Join the Disease Police and Spend the Summer as a Tattie Roguer

Scotland’s Seed Potato growers are on the lookout for qualified Tattie Roguers!

A five day course from Scotland’s Rural College offers not only a job for the coming summer but, potentially guarantees summer work for years to come. Tattie Roguing may sound quaint but it’s a key quality control job in a Scottish industry worth £221m a year.

Potato Field

photo © farm-images.co.uk

Scotland produces 80 per cent of the seed potatoes grown in the UK. From them we harvest the eating (or ware) potatoes we need at home, but Scottish Seed is also exported world wide, including major growers like Egypt. The reputation of our quality seed is based on its disease free status and purity. That is where the roguers come in, as the eagle eyed disease police of a global business.

Growers plant specially selected, virus tested, parent tubers in fields that have not grown potatoes for at least 5 years. They fuss over them as they develop, using every possible strategy to limit attacks from pests or fungal, bacteria or virus disease. Then, in the summer, they call in the specially trained roguing squads who know the drill.

They work in teams of four to eight and, with about eleven thousand hectares of seed potatoes grown in Scotland, cover a lot of ground. After training they can spot the wrong variety and a case of blackleg or virus mosaic at a hundred paces. They pull it out, put in the sack on their back and walk on. A seasons rouging, from June to August can earn them £2,500 to £3,500. It is an outside job, in fantastic countryside stretching down the east coast from the Black Isle to the Borders.

The job attracts all sorts, from those for whom it is an outdoor, working holiday to cash strapped students. There have are even marriages that began in the tattie drills. Whatever their reasons for being there all the teams play an invaluable role.

There are three SRUC Potato Roguers courses on Disease and Variety Recognition. They cost £300.00 and are VAT exempt, although students may be eligible for up to £200 of ILA (Individual Learning Account) Scotland funding towards training. To request an application pack please phone free to 0808 100 1090.

One at Craibstone campus outside Aberdeen runs from Wednesday 19th to Tuesday 25th June 2013 (not including the weekend).

Two at Elmwood Campus, Cupar in Fife from Mon 17th to Fri 21st June and 24th to 28th June.


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