THE PROPOSED supply chain safe haven scheme for ring rot testing will need 100% participation from seed producers if it is to succeed, a US ring rot expert has warned.

With this in mind, FWi is conducting an industry poll to find out whether or not you would be willing to take part in such a scheme. Visit our polls section to cast your vote and see the results so far.

What we know so far…

The proposed scheme would be accreditation based, with growers signing up as individuals, rather than on a geographic basis, according to the British Potato Council.

The key requirements for growers within the scheme would be:

  • To source seed directly multiplied from farms within a safe haven
  • Total traceability of each stock‘s history
  • All transported seed to be in new bags or sacks – if moved in bulk containers, these must have been adequately cleaned and disinfected

But, speaking at the BPC‘s recent Seed Potato conference, Neil Gudmestad said the proposed scheme was unlikely to keep the UK free from ring rot unless it had 100% participation.

“You need that buy-in,” he said.

The number of tubers tested for ring rot within the scheme needed to increase dramatically from the proposed 200, to be sure infection had not occurred, he added.

This should also apply to seed stocks imported from countries within the EU known to have ring rot, he said.

“The UK should, at a bare minimum, require tuber testing levels from other EU countries known to have ring rot, at the level the EU requires of Canada, which is 2000 tubers.”

Dr Gudmestad believed the UK should go further and ban the re-planting of seed stocks originating from countries where ring rot is endemic, but acknowledged this was unlikely to happen.

Further details of Dr Gudmestad‘s speech, including how ring rot has affected the US can be found in Farmers Weekly (Nov 19-25).