2014-04-25   facebook twitter rss

Shropshire Farm to Host Major West Midlands Potato Event

The Potato Council’s event, the West Midlands Potato Day (WMPD), sees more and more of the region’s potato growers attending each year. This year it takes place on 19th June and grower Jonathan Bubb of J.M. Bubb & Son will host the day’s programme at Lynn South Farm, Newport, Shropshire.

The WMPD always covers a wide agenda. This year is no different, with topics that the region’s growers will find of particular interest.

Chris Steele, Potato Council

Chris Steele, Potato Council

Chris Steele, who leads the event for Potato Council, tells us “The morning’s talks will examine some exciting topics. We’ll be looking at ‘One Voice’, Potato Council’s campaign to encourage industry to work together and promote the natural goodness of potatoes via a simple set of messages. We’ll also have the latest market overview of potato consumption from consumer experts, and we’ll be looking at efficiencies in production, plus - another issue close the hearts of many potato growers - the competition for land, and a ‘Risk vs. Reward’ debate which I know will be a lively session.”

After lunch the afternoon sessions will offer practical demonstrations, allowing attendees to choose what aspects of the industry to look at more closely. These include topics such as Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN), with demonstration plots showing the value of varieties tolerant of and resistant to PCN compared to susceptible varieties. PCN is considered one of the major threats to potato yields in GB so this session will prove invaluable for those dealing with this challenge on land used for potato crops.

A second session will provide cultivation demonstrations, comparing different machinery and the effects they have on soil profiles – key to giving your planted crop a strong rooting system and the best start in the new season.

Bruising and damage costs the potato industry around £200/hectare each year – this afternoon session will discuss best practice at harvest, grading and store loading, to protect your crop going into store, led by grading equipment experts, Tong Peal.

Driving efficiency in store can really help to maintain profitability for your crops – Andrew Kneeshaw of the Farm Energy Centre will look at how renewable energy can be used to power potato stores and save money.

A further session option, led by GB’s leading crop storage experts, Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR), and Crop Systems Ltd will demonstrate the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of sprout suppression and the best practice of building a potato store, the importance of using inverter fans and maintaining correct air flow, all crucial to protect crops in store.

Jonathan Bubb, McCain’s Southern Grower of the Year 2013 and the host farmer for the event, says “This will be a great opportunity to see science in practice on-farm and catch up with friends and colleagues in the region.”

Potato Council

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