THE BI-ANNUAL meeting and greeting event for the seed potato industry is going online for the first time.

Delivered via the Hopin digital platform on Tuesday November 24, the conference’s keynote speaker, Brendon Rockey, grows ware and seed potatoes for the North American market at his farm in Center Colorado.

He does this at 7600ft above sea level, with fewer than six inches of rain a year, meeting this challenge by developing his own ‘Biotic Potatoes’ system and carefully managing carbon exchange using a diverse range of cover crops and grazing livestock on them.

Speaking ahead of the conference, AHDB Potatoes strategy director, Rob Clayton, said: “Moving this year’s event online has allowed us to secure an exciting line-up of international speakers that we hope will appeal to as wide an audience from across the potato industry as possible; and not just seed growers.

“Many of the challenges the potato industry is currently faced with are common to all of us. The global pandemic, changing market conditions, changes in consumer behaviour, Brexit, removal of actives and aphid/virus diseases to name but a few. Working together across the supply chain and involving everyone will be the most effective way to tackle them.”

The day will be broken down to morning and afternoon sessions.

The morning sessions will focus on external markets, business and consumers and feature presentations from AHDB senior analyst (potatoes), Alice Bailey and AHDB consumer insight analyst, Grace Randall.

They will be supported by Sandy McGowan, from Cygnet PEP, who will offer a view on Brexit and its impact on the potato industry; Karri-Anne Lamb, from Whickham Farms, Queensland, Australia, who will provide a world view of the potato market; and Claire Hodge, Nuffield scholar and senior arable knowledge exchange manager in Scotland at AHDB on connectivity in the supply chain.

These presentations will be followed by a live question and answer session.

Over lunch there will be a presentation on potato marketing from Nicola Dodd, interim senior marketing manager at AHDB, celebrating all things potato related, while the Potato Industry Awards, now in their 23rd year, will be held at 12:20 with AHDB chair, Alison Levett, presenting.

The highlight of the afternoon session will be Mr Rockey, whose series of video presentations will be on the topics of probiotic and antibiotic thinking; integrated pest management; managing for aphids in a probiotic system; mechanical weed management and cover crop grazing; and optimising the carbon cycle in potato production. This will be followed by a live Q and A session.

Register for the event at