18 December 1998

Co-op guarantees potato traceability

COMPLETE traceability is being guaranteed by a seed potato co-operative in Scotland.

"It is increasingly important that we have a full life history of the crop. It is being demanded by end users and relayed to us by our customers – maincrop growers throughout Britain," said Gareth Baird, chairman of Scott Country Potato Growers at the official opening of a £750,000 grading and storage facility at Kelso.

The seven farmer members of the group grow 8500 tonnes a year with central control of variety and all inputs. "We match the 10 varieties we grow to the qualities of each farm and operate a pool price," said Mr Baird.

"We also control planting times, seed rates, spacings, fertiliser application, and burning down. We share machinery and the group effort allows us to produce, store, grade, and market seed potatoes with a degree of sophistication that individual members could not match," he said. &#42