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West Midlands Potato Day 2011


Food security and the sustainability of the potato industry are top of the agenda at this years West Midlands Potato Day to be held at Woodlands Farm, Weston-under-Lizzard, Staffordshire on June 8.

The day will follow the popular formula of a mixture of talks, an open forum and field workshops.

Keynote speakers will be AHDB chief scientist Professor Ian Crute and Potato Council sector director Dr Rob Clayton, who will be looking at challenges resulting from climate change and sustainability of the potato industry respectively.

It is important for growers to understand the language being used by retailers and policy makers and to decide whether practical actions need to be taken at farm level, says Dr Clayton.

Growers looking to maximise efficiency will not want to miss the practical field workshops given by industry experts such as agronomists Denis Buckley, Andrew Wade, Luke Hardy, water consultant Peter White and ADASs Martyn Silgram.

The Water Framework Directive has resulted in many growers already having to adopt new ways of working, explains Potato Council technical executive Chris Steele. We are looking at ways to help them maximise efficiency, including irrigation scheduling and tools.

Furthermore, minimising phosphate losses is becoming increasingly important, particularly as fertiliser costs have seen year-on-year increases of around 30 per cent. Growers will have the opportunity to quiz Martyn Silgram on the work done to date on soil management strategies, their application and effectiveness.

The Defra-funded MOPS2 project led by ADAS and run in conjunction with the Potato Council, has been comparing alternative management strategies in potato rotation to minimise the risk of surface runoff and diffuse pollution of soil (sediment), phosphorus, nitrogen and surface-applied materials (e.g. herbicides) to water courses.


Potato Council is a division of Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

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