Spud Watch: Early planting under way in Scotland

Growers in the north of Scotland have had a typical Scottish spring during March with every season being present at some stage.

Snow showers and freezing temperatures 10 days ago were followed by beautiful settled dry weather just as the clocks changed.

At least the relatively dry winter has meant soils are in pretty good nick.

Ground conditions have improved a lot as a result and some early salad and ware crops are going into good seed-beds with soil temperatures just about reaching the desired 7C.

See also: Growers left owed £1m-plus by potato business

Some of the earliest crops planted have been with chitted seed to try and reach the specified size for harvesting in June.

Andy Steven

Andy Steven

Seed is being treated either with 1-2kg/t of Monceren DS (pencycuron) or has already received an application of Rhino liquid (flutolanil) in store.

Some of the lighter soils will also get an in-furrow application of Amistar (azoxystrobin) to reduce the risk of soil-borne rhizoctonia.

Hopefully, the weather will remain settled and allow growers to get on with sowing spring barley crops before they turn to the seed potato crops, which will begin to be planted in two to three weeks time.

Grading of last year’s seed crop continues apace and much of the crop has been moved south to ware growers but inevitably there will be a long tail end to the season and there is still high-grade stocks to move to other seed growers across Scotland.