Potato common scab rising

POTATO COMMON scab is becoming more widespread in crops, the British Potato Council has warned growers.

Dry conditions earlier in the year increased scab pressure and while the window for control has passed, growers need to pay close attention to crops, said the BPC’s Rob Clayton.

“Rainfall has been well below what we’d expect this season. We knew from day one it [common scab] was going to be a problem.”

Recent rainfall has come too late to help reduce incidence and has expanded some common scab already present, he said.

“Growers need to pay attention when test digging, know what you’ve got and ask some harsh questions over the marketability of the crop.”

Douglas Bain from Thistle Agronomy in Angus has also started to see common scab in crops, particularly Maris Piper, he said.

But despite this, quality is generally good at the moment, although yields are likely to be down, possibly by 15-25% in non-irrigated crops, he suggested.

Late planting and dry weather appear to be the main reasons for these lower yields, although there is wide variation across the country, according to the BPC.

“Marketing of the crop will be the most important factor this season. If you’re tied in with a packer, you need a good idea of what [price] you are going to get,” added Mr Bain.


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