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New event in Scotland addresses PCN challenges

Potato Council creates a new opportunity for growers in Angus to get together in July for a close examination of PCN and the ways science and industry is working together to manage it.

Claire Hodge

Claire Hodge

Potato Council creates a new opportunity for growers in Angus to get together in July for a close examination of PCN and the ways science and industry is working together to manage it. PCN is a major threat to potato yields so this event will prove invaluable for those dealing with PCN on land used for potato crops.

Alistair Redpath, Chief Executive of PseedCo, leading regional seed growers and member of the QV group, will open the event and he tells us “I am delighted to be involved with this new Potato Council event for this important growing region. This event will highlight the importance of working together to address PCN issues and give an overview of the research work being carried out by Potato Council and partners to deal with the threat that PCN poses to potato yields.”

Responsible land use and soil testing will be examined by Dr Denise A’Hara, Head of Potato Branch at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), Scottish Government.

Nematicides are under EU regulatory pressure. In view of the potential for loss of nematicides for PCN control, there is much interest in non-chemical means of controlling the pest. Trap-cropping is one way of achieving this and involves growing a crop specifically to induce PCN to hatch ahead of potato cropping. Dr Daan Kiezebrink, applied potato pathologist, will look at how bio-fumigants can play a significant part in PCN control.

Darryl Shailes of agronomy experts Hutchinsons will look at options for chemical control of PCN and how planning and implementing a control programme can reduce your PCN population levels and protect your potato crops.

Archie Gibson, Managing Director of Agrico (UK) Ltd will update you on what industry is doing now to prevent PCN and how PCN-resistant varieties can make a huge difference to yield and quality. James Daw, of Staffordshire-based farmers and growers W B Daw & Son, will talk about his own experiences of precision farming and how applying technology can help reduce your risks and increase the rewards.

Plus, John Reid of the host family partnership will guide us on a short tour giving an overview of their potato growing enterprise.

Claire Hodge, who leads the event for Potato Council, tells us “I talk regularly with Scottish growers about many issues and increasingly how PCN is a major cause for concern. This is compounded by increasing regulatory pressure from the EU on chemical treatments. So I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to create this new event which focuses on PCN and what research is being done to provide solutions.”

The East of Scotland Potato Event is free to attend and will be held between 1430-1930 hours on Tuesday 15 July 2014 at Newmill Of Balgavies Farm, Forfar, Angus, DD8 2SF. Industry is warmly invited to join Potato Council and the experts for the afternoon’s programme, with refreshments and an informal supper available for participants.

Get information and register for this event at www.potato.org.uk/events/east-scotland-potato-day-2014

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