Spud Special: Open lenticels pose disease risk

Potato crops in Scotland are in the process of being harvested – oh for a bit of sunshine to help with this process. Harvesting conditions are improving in the field although in all cases the rate of improvement is very slow.

The further North and East in Scotland you go the slower harvest tends to be. This has not been helped by the delayed cereal harvest.


Regrowth in general is low, mainly due to weather at desiccation, and the final chemical application being applied in favourable conditions to a good target area.

With the previous heavy showers and lack of sunshine, many crops that had the prospect of being lifted in good conditions are now being lifted out of sticky soils.

On the whole, the quality of crops being lifted is good. There are few rots, mainly water-logging related, although lenticels are open in many crops which may lead to rots or problems developing if wetter weather returns. Tuber blight, as predicted earlier, is not proving to be a problem.

Bruising is generally low, although some damage is taking place in wetter areas of fields.

Common scab levels are moderate to high in some crops. Powdery scab levels are low and many varieties that have in previous years been susceptible to the disease are showing lower levels this year.

Establishing storage temperature has been generally straightforward, although the lack of good drying air is making the removal of field moisture more difficult.

There is concern that some seed that has to be loaded for early export may have a problem with soil sticking to the tubers. The benefits of positive ventilation following harvest are again being seen.


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