Speaking at BP2021, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy, warned growers in the Scottish seed potato sector about the challenges presented in 2021 – emphasising that minimising the handling and damage of the seed in grading pre-treatment is always important.

Warm, dry soils and a temperate autumn could cause early dormancy break, with the stored tubers opening their eyes more rapidly than normal, he pointed out.

This will impact on any seed treatments which need to be applied while tubers are dormant and he reminded ware and seed growers about timing differences between liquid and powder treatments.

All operators applying seed treatments should hold NPTC Pa1 certificate and have had training in Pa12 prior to taking the Pa12 test. Red Tractor assurance required all application equipment to be NSTS tested every six years.

Mr Anderson said: “The take-home message about liquid seed treatment, is that it needs to be applied at an early stage before dormancy breaks. Suggested thresholds are 0.5% dry rot and or gangrene and 20% silver scurf. Alternatively, the variety has to have a resistance rating of less than three, or is known to be susceptible.”

The main choices for black-scurf is now between RhiNo DS (flutolanil), which comes as powder and liquid, Maxim (fludioxonil) and Honesty (fluxapyroxad).

Moving on to discuss life in the post-AHDB world, he pleaded for the seed and ware industry to collaborate and add value for growers, avoiding duplication.

“We need to find a way to work together in our research and be accountable to the industry funding it. As a farmer cooperative, we see ourselves as being part of the solution,” he said.