Welcome dose of good news for growers

THE Scottish seed potato industry, which has faced a terrible growing season in 2012, received two pieces of good news this week.

THE Scottish seed potato industry, which has faced a terrible growing season in 2012, received two pieces of good news this week.

First there was confirmation that a new record tonnage of 103,000 tonnes was exported from the 2011 crop.

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Then, despite more than 800 samples being taken from the most likely sources, not one showed any trace of the highly infectious bacterial disease, dickeya, which made an unexpected and unwelcome entry into Scotland in 2010.

Rob Burns, head of seed and export at the Potato Council said: “Key areas of growth have been the North African countries and the Middle East, thanks in part to careful development of seed potatoes in varying climatic conditions.”

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture warned that only by continuing to be vigilant could the Scottish industry maintain its reputation for producing high health seed potatoes. The dickeya testing regime will continue on the 2012 crops after they have been harvested.