7 April 2000

Spud research goals

BETTER detection of brown rot and improved store management are key goals in a range of new research projects backed by the British Potato Council.

A total of seven projects supported by £486,000 of levy funds have been launched.

The brown rot work will produce a standardised, robust and sensitive test for detecting the bacteria in waste effluent and solids, says Ewen Brierley, BPC R&D project manager. Project partners include MAFF, Greenvale AP and McCain Foods.

The result will be standard operating procedures to help the potato processing and water industries certify that potato waste products are free from bacteria.

"This will help promote responsible recycling of waste water and soil by-products. The project will also produce detailed risk assessments of current control measures and define the need for additional precautions," says Dr Brierley.

The main focus of the storage projects at Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit is better management of sprout suppressants. A range of foggers will be tested with different settings and CIPC formulations in an effort to enhance CIPC use to limit fry colour deterioration and reduce wastage.

Another project is looking for better cold store layout and CIPC application to optimise sprout control and minimise residues. &#42

NEW BPC RESEARCH

&#8226 Brown rot test + standard procedures to minimise spread.

&#8226 Fry quality and sprout suppressants.

&#8226 Sprout suppressants in cooled pre-pack stores.

&#8226 Effects of transient condensation in store.

&#8226 Anti-aphid fungus.

&#8226 New tests for potato rots.

&#8226 Fast virus test for dormant tubers.

Use website to compare your crops

Do you want to keep tabs on how your potato crops are developing compared with industry standards? Data from four reference crops planted by the British Potato Council is now available on the BPC website (www.potato.org.uk). Weekly updates will allow growers to compare emergence, ground cover, irrigation status and development stage for Cara, Estima, Lady Rosetta and Russet Burbank in Somerset, Cambridge, Shropshire and Tayside. Fertiliser recommendations are also listed. Such benchmark information will help growers manage their crops more precisely, says BPC R&D director Mike Storey.