26 September 1997

Sutton Bridge contract

SUTTON Bridge Experimental Unit in south Lincs is more than likely to be bought by the consortium which recently took over the management of the potato re-search facility from the BPC.

The deal sees BPC paying the group, comprising SAC, Camb-ridge University Farm and ADAS, £50,000 a year. It secures the future of the unit while holding it at arms length from the BPC, said BPC chairman David Walker at the Potato Harvest 97 event in Suffolk last week.

The contract is set to run for three years after which Rotagrow has the option to buy the facility. "If all the green lights are flashing we would expect to acquire it", said Rotagrow chairman and SAC executive director Dr Eric Thain.

The unit has no links with the adjacent packing station. How-ever, it will seek new research funding beyond the BPC grower levy. Its work could include field vegetables and fruit storage as well as potatoes. Closer relationships with processors are also planned.

&#8226 More on Potato Harvest 97 on pp64-67 and p70.n