Potato tuber health is the aim of a new campaign launched to help the seed potato supply chain improve quality.

As the foundation for profitable potato production, minimising the incidence of viral and fungal pathogens when producing seed crops is paramount and conditions in recent seasons, such as the hot and dry summer of 2018, have seen seed producers across Britain battling to keep some viral and fungal pathogens out of seed stocks.

So said agrochemical manufacturer, Certis, when it launched its Tubercare initiative at the recent Potatoes in Practice event, at Balruddery Farm, near Dundee. This aims to promote industry best practice from planting through to storing seed and ware tubers, to improve the overall health of the national potato crop.

A key aim is to promote the safe and responsible use of seed treatments, which play a vital role in helping to deliver the best quality potato seed and keep subsequent crops disease free post planting. The company’s potato portfolio manager, Nick Badger, said it was forging strong links with scientific experts and top agronomists to deliver the best and most relevant advice for the industry.

“Seed health is extremely important and producing clean seed benefits the industry as a whole, facilitating the production of high-quality ware crops at less risk from virus and fungal disease spread,” he said at the launch. “After the issues seed producers have had over recent seasons, we are committed to helping growers tackle these problems with our the Tubercare initiative.”

Tubercare aims:

Develop and improve best practice seed production with the scientific community.

Provide advice on the optimal and cost-effective use of potato seed treatments.

Enhance seed treatment stewardship and best use through monitoring programmes.

Support legislation compliance by producing bag labels for seed growers.

Promote the quality of the UK potato industry.