3 March 2000

Spud list ditched

FOR the first time in over half a century potato growers will have no Recommended List of varieties to choose from for next year. In its place will be a Descriptive List of commercially available varieties.

The move to end the recommendation system follows an agreed change of policy under a new three-year BPC-funded programme, explains NIABs head of potatoes and sugar beet Simon Kerr.

"There have been question-marks over the potato Recommended List for a number of years, because it has been of relatively little value in the market place. In potatoes the recommendations have not been as influential as for crops like cereals, oilseed rape and sugar beet. Varieties are taken up much more for their end-use suitability."

The new Descriptive List, details of which are expected soon, will be summarised in a handbook categorising 50-60 varieties tested according to their type of use and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.