19 January 1996

UKwants more brown rot info

PRESSURE is growing on the Dutch potato industry to provide more information on outbreaks of brown rot.

The Potato Marketing Board claims the lack of information over which varieties have been infected is causing concern among seed buyers.

Dr Mike Storey, PMB research and development officer, said UK growers needed more details. "Growers buying seed need to know which varieties have been infected and which ones have been unaffected but have been caught up in infected zones."

Details were expected to be presented to the industry at last weeks EU plant health standing committee, but were not forthcoming. PMB officials are to meet MAFF representatives in London next week to discuss the issue.

Latest information from Holland suggests the source of the brown rot bacteria infection has been found at the River Reitdiep in Groningen. Infected seed has spread the disease across the country, and there are 57 farms in 38 different infected zones in the Netherlands. Brown rot has also been found in Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland.

Control measures were discussed in the House of Lords last week. Lord Lucas, MAFFs spokesman, said all consignments from sources where there was a risk of infection were inspected at the point of entry. &#42