New weapon in the fight against late potato blight

The James Hutton Institute has developed a new system of blight reporting. Picture: Robert Biedermann/thinkstock
The James Hutton Institute has developed a new system of blight reporting. Picture: Robert Biedermann/thinkstock
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Scottish potato growers will this year have an added weapon in their fight against one of their perennial problems – late blight.

The James Hutton Institute outside Dundee has produced criteria for warning growers when there is a risk of blight – the biggest husbandry problem faced by potato growers.

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The institute’s Siobhán Dancey said she and her colleagues had examined relationships between reported outbreaks of blight and the traditional system of warning called a Smith Period. As a result, new standards are now contained in what is being called the Hutton Criteria.

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“Past records revealed that the Smith Period was not performing equally well in all parts of the country, and the Hutton Criteria has eliminated this issue,” she claimed.

Working with the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board who supply information to growers, the plan is to build the Hutton Criteria and improve the reliability and reach of blight risk reporting. It will be launched in time for the 2017 blight pressure season.

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