GIVEN the current state of waterlogged potato crops, it could be a monster year for bacterial tuber diseases this harvest.

Harvest is well underway and yield predictions are looking positive, but rowers should be on high alert for diseases, as higher than average incidences are already being seen across the UK. 

“As a result of conditions being dry around tuber initiation, we’ve seen more reports of common scab, especially in the east with some reports in the west and Scotland too,” said Morley Benson, field sales manager for Certis UK.

“Black leg has also been reported in some areas, which not only damages the tubers in the field but can also lead to infection within the store reducing the quality of the crop.”

In light of this, he stressed the importance of attention to detail at harvest and good store management in order to minimise the impact of disease.

“Where possible, minimise tuber damage and bruising during harvest and handling into store, and lift crops as early as possible ensuring that the crop is dry before going into store. 

“Increasing attention to detail at grading out will also ensure that only the best quality crop is being stored for longer periods of time, and good ventilation will also help to prevent condensation forming,” he added. 

“By implementing a robust storage plan, which also takes into consideration end markets, growers can ensure that bacterial diseases are managed and that they get the best out of their crops following harvest.”