Potato planting has started again after the recent cold snap in the lighter areas and timeliness of cultivation to reduce compaction effects on root growth is now of paramount importance.

With such a delayed start to the growing season, we desperately need a settled period of weather during and after planting.  This will help reduce the potential for diseases that have built up in some stocks on the back of three predominantly wet seasons coming to fruition.

Planning for the crops about to be planted is nearing completion, although obtaining information from some seed companies with regard to tuber counts and seed treatments can be slow.  This can be very frustrating for growers who are buying this seed.

It has been possible to reduce fertiliser inputs in many cases on the back of revised SAC fertiliser recommendations, particularly where phosphate is concerned. 

However, with soil analysis being carried out by many UK laboratories, it is important to ensure that phosphate analysis of soils from Scotland  tested by the correct method.

The Modified Morgan method (the Scottish method) should be used, but where the Olsen method is used check the correct  interpretation is given to avoid confusion and excess phosphate fertiliser being applied.