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Wildflowers could control aphid-borne viruses in potatoes

Sowing wildflowers into potato crops could reduce aphid-carried viruses and offer an alternative to declining access to insecticides for growers, according to Scottish Agronomy. In Scotland, trials are being carried out to discover the effectiveness of growing flower strips in tramlines and headlands to promote natural predator populations to reduce pests as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

Eric Anderson, senior agronomist and potato specialist at Scottish Agronomy, is leading the trials with Scottish Agronomy potato member Jim Reid on Milton of Mathers Farm. Jim is the current AHDB Strategic Potato (SPoT) farm host and, with AHDB, Eric, and Colin Herron and Colin Ross from McCain Potatoes, is looking at different sustainable measures as part of the four-year SPoT farm project.

Jim, who grows 80 hectares of seed potatoes, said:

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