Rogueing seed potato crops to remove groundkeepers costs the industry £304,000 a year, a survey conducted for the Potato Council has shown.
Rogueing, which is the only permissible way of removing groundkeepers in seed crops, cost an average of £19/ha, said Daan Kiezebrink of the Scottish Agricultural College.
“Some 71% of the respondents to the survey said groundkeepers were a problem on their farms, while 17% had stocks downgraded as a result, with an average loss of £1,930.”
Seventy-one percent also had land they were not using as a result of groundkeepers, the survey found.
Removing groundkeepers was easiest in cereals and oilseed rape, Dr Kiezebrink said. “After harvest, it is worth using minimum-tillage rather than ploughing to keep the tubers on the surface to keep them available for frost to degrade.”
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