Seeking a seed grower for our next strategic potato farm

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

We are on the hunt for a host for our next strategic potato (SPot) farm in Scotland.

The current project – based at Bruce Farms in Perthshire – will come to a close in December, and the team are keen to have a new farm in place by the autumn of this year.

Having worked closely with a prime Scottish ware producer they are now looking for a high grade seed farm.

AHDB Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager Claire Hodge explains: “GB seed potato production is absolutely critical to the whole industry as the health of the national crop is founded on the health and quality of the seed potatoes we produce.

“We’re keen to work with a seed producer to better understand that crop, in terms of plant health, cost of production, and of course the export market which makes up a significant proportion of the sector.”

Seed growers interested in hosting a strategic farm should be able to answer yes to the following three questions:

  • Do you like working with other growers in your region?
  • Would you be happy to invite researchers to your farm and to try out some of the latest thinking?
  • Are you looking to make positive changes to your business?

If selected the host farm will use plots in their potato fields to run demonstrations which they will then discuss with other local growers, agronomists and industry reps at a series of open days.

The possibilities for demonstration topics are hugely varied and could include areas such as cultivations and soil management practices, crop nutrition, varieties, seed generations and the use of precision.

Current SPot Scotland host, Kerr Howatson, Potato Farm Manager at Bruce Farms, says:

“We got involved in the project as it allowed us to do field-scale trials which would give us meaningful results at the end of the day.

“Doing trials on your own land, with your own machinery and your own management is really useful, and you make lots of handy contacts.

“The key for us was having a hands on project team which worked well together to make sure that we focused on trials which would be of use to the wider industry.”

Seed growers interested in finding out more about hosting the next strategic potato farm in Scotland should contact Chris Leslie at chris.leslie@ahdb.org.uk.