Trials are underway in Aberdeenshire aimed at rethinking the approaches growers take to controlling virus in seed potato crops, writes Dr Philip Burgess in this article published by The Scottish Farmer. Dr Burgess is lead researcher and consultant, Scottishpotatoes.org, a partnership of SRUC, James Hutton Institute and SASA.
He writes that the seed potato sector in Scotland underpins the whole of the GB potato industry, as well as exporting high-quality seed around the world. The natural advantages of the climate, which reduce the numbers of aphids which can carry virus, are well known.
But generally warmer winters – with this last winter being a notable exception – and longer, drier summers are likely to increase the numbers of aphids flying into crops and spreading virus.
There is no doubt that Scotland will remain one of the best places in the world to grow healthy seed potatoes, but some changes in the way crops are managed are going to be needed as the number of pesticides available is reduced ever further.
It is not just that the number of active ingredients is becoming fewer, but resistance of some important aphids is also occurring to those few that remain. Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, we can expect further reductions in product availability. A new approach, less reliant on the use of pesticides is required.
Source: The Scottish Farmer. Read the full article here
Photo: Potato roguers have been out early cleaning up crops.