A new campaign has been launched to help the seed potato supply chain improve the health and quality of its tubers. Charlotte Cunningham reports. 

Healthy seed is the foundation for profitable potato production, so minimising the incidence of viral and fungal pathogens when producing seed crops is paramount, according to agrochemical manufacturer Certis.

Conditions in recent seasons, such as the hot and dry summer of 2018, have seen seed producers across Britain battling to keep some viral and fungal pathogens out of seed stocks. 

In response, Certis launched its Tubercare initiative at the Potatoes in Practice event at Balruddery Farm, near Dundee, last month.

Promoting best practice

Tubercare will promote industry best practice while planting, growing, harvesting, handling and storing seed and ware tubers to improve the overall health of the national potato crop.

In addition, it will look to promote the safe and responsible use of seed treatments, which play a vital role in helping to deliver the best quality potato seed and keep subsequent crops disease free post planting.

The company’s potato portfolio manager Nick Badger says it is already forging strong links with scientific experts and top agronomists to deliver the best and most relevant advice for the industry.

A dedicated Tubercare website which will help deliver all the information to growers and advisers is now live and will be updated regularly as the seasons progress, added Nick.

“Seed health is extremely important and producing clean seed benefits the industry as a whole, facilitating the production of high-quality ware crops at less risk from virus and fungal disease spread.

“After the issues seed producers have had over recent seasons, we are committed to helping growers tackle these problems with our the Tubercare initiative.”

What is Tubercare?

Tubercare aims to:

  • Develop and improve best practice seed production with the scientific community
  • Provide advice on the optimal and cost-effective use of potato seed treatments
  • Enhance seed treatment stewardship and best use through monitoring programmes
  • Support legislation compliance by producing bag labels for seed growers
  • Promote the quality of the UK potato industry

For more information and the latest advice visit: www.certistubercare.co.uk