Cornish Seed potatoes1

Blackleg is a threat to the seed potato industry 

Leading potato businesses have helped fund a £240,000 research project looking at new ways of tackling blackleg disease and its impact on the Scottish seed potato industry.

The project, which also has funding from the Scottish government and the AHDB, will build on research from a former project that took place between 2013 and 2016.

The second project will begin this September and aim to improve management and understanding of the initial routes of contamination of high-grade tubers.

Senior crop protection scientist at ADHB, Sue Cowgill, said: “We hope that by determining the impact of post-harvest practices such as storage, grading and handling practices on the contamination of tubers we can set a platform for an industry-wide approach to tackling this disease.

“The research may also identify the potential for new and innovative control options as part of the blackleg management tool kit”

Scottish seed production represents 75 per cent of all seed grown in the UK and sustains a domestic potato sector valued at £167 million.

Chief executive at Cygnet Potato Breeders, Alistair Redpath, said: “Our seed trade is based on the maintenance of our excellent high-health reputation. As part of maintaining this justified position the industry relies on AHDB research to inform further improvements to our practices.”