The Tattie harvest in the north is almost complete – certainly most seed growers have either finished or are in their last field. The 3in of rain earlier this week has made what is left to do slightly more challenging and for ware growers it will take a few weeks yet to get the crop into store.

Yields are on the whole above average and there are a number of requests for “spare boxes” which tells a tale.

What has been lifted and stored is, in general, in good condition. There are some soft rots in crops across the region – a legacy of Hurricane Bertha, which hit in August and dumped 5in of rain in 24 hrs on the Moray Firth coast, leaving low lying parts of fields, or poorly drained areas, susceptible to water logging and breakdown.

Seed store temps will begin to be pulled down now and the change to cooler weather will help this. Maximising ventilation at this time of year will help to dry crops and desiccate any rots that have made it into the store.

Seed growers are now turning their minds to grading the crops destined for the early export markets. Quality in general is pretty good but there are crops affected by common and powdery scab which will be tricky to grade to the required standard. There seem to be more affected crops in the Angus and Fife area compared to further north.

Growers are also turning their thoughts to next year’s crops and will be keen to get some answers to questions on the implementation of the new CAP rules. There are a series of road show meetings across the country next month which will hopefully provide answers to greening and land letting questions, in relation to potato crops.