Seed classification

Britain’s dedicated seed growers produce seed potatoes of extremely high quality that are regularly exported to more than 50 countries. There are over 150 varieties are available for table use, French-fries and chips. This page contains links to useful information and resources for those marketing or sourcing high-quality seed potatoes.

Characteristics of British seed potatoes

British climate

Britain’s cool climate and higher wind speeds lead to less aphids and virus than other European countries. The seed growing areas of Scotland, and Cumbria and Northumberland (in Northern England) have been designated an EU Community Grade region, safeguarding their high health status.

Disease free

All British seed potatoes meet rigorous standards set by the EU and UNECE. The nuclear stock from which all seed is multiplied is disease-free.

Long crop rotations and limited field generations ensure continued high health of seed. British seed potatoes are only planted in fields free from potato cyst eelworms. Potato wart disease has never been recorded in British seed-producing land. Brown rot and ring rot have never been found in potatoes produced from British seed.

Certification

Official inspectors maintain rigorous standards for seed certification. Land is tested and crops inspected twice, once whilst growing and again at harvest. High-quality British seed is labelled with unique reference numbers, and can be traced back to the growing field and parent stock.

Find out more about the Save Haven Certification Scheme. 

High quality

British seed potatoes are grown in de-stoned land and stored in temperature-controlled seed stores; this reduces skin damage and therefore the risk of infection. British exporters can produce seed of varying grade, size and physiological age in order to meet importer’s specific requirements. Seed can also be supplied by tuber count or to meet re-plantable area requirements.

Research

World-class research centres communicate the latest scientific and technical advances to Britain’s seed potato growers. Therefore, the British seed potato industry is continuously improving the quality and consistency of its seed for export.

Online Seed Potato Classification Scheme

Scotland

SASA has launched the new online Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) service which includes the searchable Scottish Seed Potato Crop Register, Producers Register and Seed Potato Variety Statistics for the current season and previous seasons going back to 2001.

The online Seed Potato Crop Register can be filtered and is linked to AHDB Potatoes Variety Database and to the Producer Register which contains quick links to producer’s crops and contact details.

Online registers and statistics are the first part of the MySpuds project, started in 2011 by the Scottish Government. The MySpuds service is the outward-facing database for Scottish SPCS customers and will also include crop data viewing and online applications in the near future. The project aims to improve customer experience and cut costs for both the Scottish Government and external users.

Visit the SASA Seed Potato Crop Register

England and Wales

The SPCS provides classification of all potatoes produced and marketed in England and Wales, depending on the class of the parent seed, and the health of the crop and tubers.

Visit the England and Wales SPCS

The British potato variety database

AHDB Potatoes database provides data on GB-certified potato varieties that have undergone independent resistance testing for key pests and diseases. Since 2016, the database has also included varieties where all information has been supplied by breeders/agents. 

Use the site to:

  • Search for varieties by name or characteristic and view variety data individually or two-variety- comparisons
  • Compare data for varieties that have undergone IVT procedures and data for GB-certified varieties that have NOT undergone the IVT procedures
  • Obtain grower, breeder and breeders’ agent contact details to source seed and varieties
  • See lists of varieties, images, variety breeders, seed marketing agents and related industry organisations

The database allows you to download variety data into Excel, compare two varieties on screen and it is mobile-friendly. 

Visit the British potato variety database

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