Putting potato research into practice is the theme of this year's influential SAC Association of Potato Producers' annual conference in Perth – and it will feature the views of SRUC's new tattie guru, Dr Phil Burgess.

The newly appointed lead potato researcher and consultant for Scotland, he is to use his first public appearance in his role to highlight the importance of collaboration within the industry.

DrBurgess, who has been employed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the James Hutton Institute and SASA, will be among the speakers at next month’s annual SACAPP conference at Perth Racecourse, on January 29.

Dr Burgess told The SF that his role was 'all about putting cutting-edge research rapidly into practice'. “Collaboration between the three leading organisations in Scotland, drawing on their expertise in research, consultancy, diagnostics, knowledge exchange and regulation, creates a powerful whole which will help lead the industry forward as it continues to face a number of challenges, including the pressure to produce more sustainably using fewer pesticides and the market challenges post-Brexit,” he said.

The conference will be introduced by Innes Jessiman, senior potato consultant at SAC Consulting, part of SRUC, and he will be followed by a range of guest speakers, including Philip Wright, from Wright Solutions, a specialist in agricultural machinery and systems, who will examine which cultivations best suit potato root development.

Other speakers include independent potato agronomist, Denis Buckley, who will advise on how growers can address a loss in pesticides to sustain yield and quality.

Two workshops, on virus control and management and on Haulm destruction, will also be held on the day.

Stuart Wale, from SAC Consulting, who co-ordinates the event, said: “With a great line-up of speakers and the subject matter really relevant to potato producers, in these challenging times I am confident we will demonstrate the theme of the conference - that the future really is in the industry’s hands.”

This, the 21st annual conference, takes place between 9.30am and 4pm, on Wednesday, January 29, and is free to SACAPP members, but is also open to non-members.