Europe, UK, Ireland, Pests and Diseases, Smart Farming, Sustainability

Why an integrated approach is key to tackling potato virus Y threat

Potato Virus Y is dealt with by a zero-tolerance policy at Albanwise Farming in North Yorkshire in the UK, where the specialist operation has 40ha of processing ware and 360ha of seed potatoes in the ground for 2021, consisting of 31 different varieties, according to a report by Louise Impey for Farmers Weekly.

A combination of chemical and non-chemical strategies is used at Albanwise, with new techniques that make good use of biology and ecology being given every chance to bring improvements. Greater awareness of the virus threat has been in place for the past few years, ever since the summer of 2018 when the combined effects of high aphid numbers and drought led to rising infection levels in the following year’s ware crops.

That prompted intense scrutiny and more post-harvest virus testing throughout the industry, reports Tom England, the company’s seed potato production manager, who is responsible for ensuring that seed health is maintained. “The quality of our seed stocks is paramount,” he says. “Albanwise has a virus policy which is distributed to all of our customers and the seed houses we work with. We stick rigidly to a 0% virus level on post-harvest tests and 0% from the growing crop inspection.”

“It has to be a belt and braces approach, but it doesn’t have to be all about insecticides. There are other ways to keep the guard up and we are making use of a whole range of techniques,” he says.

Source: Farmers Weekly. Read the full article here
Photo: Blackthorn Arable/Martyn Cox

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