Test spuds for peace of mind

POTATO GROWERS using farm saved seed should get stocks tested before planting to avoid problems with next year‘s crop, experts have advised.

Analysis of samples so far this year has found no major virus problems in general, but growers should not get complacent, said NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany).

Levels of Potato Virus A are much lower than previous years and potato leaf roll virus incidence is also lower, NIAB reported.

Potato Virus Y levels remain broadly similar to previous years, testing has showed.

“Potato growers are looking for assurance that their farm-saved seed stock is healthy before they put it in the ground,” said potato specialist David Kenyon.

“Advanced knowledge of any potential problems helps them modify their management of the crop to maximise yield.”

NIAB seed stock testing was something an increasing number of growers were using, as it could give them peace of mind and help make “informed management decisions,” Dr Kenyon concluded.

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