Stamp out spud waste
WASTE and downgrading costs each registered potato grower £3000 a year, cutting profits in the UK industry by £30m, says the British Potato Council, which is launching a campaign to stamp the problem out.
Disease and damage are the two biggest culprits, though size, greens and storage problems all add to the figure. A special "Driving defects down" seminar at Potato Technology 98, at Sutton Bridge, Lincs, on May 13-14, will provide ideas and answers to tackle the problem. Cambridge University Farm researcher Mark Stalham will examine the role of water management in reducing common scab, damage and tuber deformities.
There is also much room to improve tuber size control and reduces greens and bruising. Some 8% of the crop fails to meet specification, resulting in downgrading or stock feed, at a cost of £24m, adds Dr Storey. *