SPot Store event – 14th May 2024.

Winters Lane Storage Ltd,
Winters Lane,
Long Sutton,
Spalding
PE12 9BE

GB Potatoes in partnership with Potato Storage Insight and SDF Agriculture have launched the Strategic Potato (SPot) storage project.  This is a new project to help refine potato storage practices and its aim is to fine tune practices through on farm research and learning.

Rather than reviewing older trials results on paper the partnership believes that it is better to run pro active activity helping growers to improve their understanding of potato storage, and ultimately maintain control of ever-increasing costs.

After the launch event in December 2023 a further on-site meeting is being held at Winters Lane Storage Ltd., Long Sutton, on May 14th, where various aspects of potato storage are being tested and monitored.  This will be an opportunity for visitors to hear from Adrian Cunnington, of Potato Storage Insight and Simon Faulkner of SDF Agriculture talk through areas of the work that they have been conducting at Winters Lane and the nearby Gedney Dyke stores. Topics being covered will include cold storage strategies for fresh potatoes, featuring Maleic Hydrazide uptake and storage regimes such as cold temperatures and ethylene as well as other products.  Store design in terms of air flow and the evenness of temperatures throughout the store as well as insulation, respiration and dormancy will also feature. Additionally, a look at varieties from a PCN trial and how they store under the different regimes.

After a hog roast lunch where the other 21 partners in the project will be on hand to discuss their businesses and what they can offer growers there will be the chance to travel the very short distance to the processing store at Gedney Dyke where two storage strategies will feature and a look at dormancy break, respiration and weight loss information from the Produce Quality Centre pods will be discussed as well as a look at fry colours from each storage regime.

Roger Stones from NFU Energy will be on hand to talk all things energy use and saving and Richard Colgan will be talking about the Produce Quality Centre pods that have been used to measure respiration.

We are also delighted to confirm the following partners will be in attendance on the day:

  • Agrofresh
  • Biofresh
  • Branston
  • Burgess Farms
  • Certis Belchim
  • CIPC residue monitoring group
  • Cornerstone Systems
  • Crop Systems
  • Farm Electronics
  • Frontier
  • GB Potatoes
  • HK Timbers
  • Hutchinsons
  • McCain Foods
  • NFU Energy
  • Potato Storage insight
  • Potato Storage Treatments
  • Produce Quality centre
  • Restrain Company
  • S&S Pugh
  • SDF Agriculture
  • UPL
  • Welvent
  • Winters Lane Storage Ltd.

Contact Graham Bannister:  info@gb-potatoes.co.uk

Potato Storage Insight is a company offering independent advice on all aspects of potato storage.

Contact: Adrian Cunnington: Adrian@potatostorageinsight.com

https://www.potatostorageinsight.com/

SDF Agriculture is an independent agronomy business specialising in potato production.

Contact: Simon Faulkner: simon.faulkner@outlook.com

 https://www.sdf-agriculture.co.uk/

GB Potatoes Organisation ltd. Is incorporated as a business limited by guarantee and not for profit, funded by voluntary membership with an annual subscription. 

CIPC Residues Monitoring Group        

  for the UK potato industry   

Chair: Adrian Cunnington   Secretary: Andrew Curtis

WE NEED YOUR DATA TO ENSURE STORES STAY IN USE

  • CIPC Residues Monitoring Group (CRMG) is a cross-industry body which has been set up by the UK potato industry to satisfy the data submission requirements of the Health & Safety Executive’s Chemical Regulation Division (CRD). 
  • They need us to measure chlorpropham (CIPC) residues in potatoes held in potato stores previously treated with CIPC.
  • This is needed after CRD set a temporary Maximum Residue Level (tMRL) for CIPC of 0.35 mg/kg effective from 10 April 2024. The MRL will monitor residues for CIPC as it is no longer approved for use in the UK but residues remain in store.
  • It is incumbent on everyone in the industry to ensure that the data requested are provided so that potato stores that were previously treated with CIPC can continue to be used safely. If the data are not supplied, all stores with a CIPC history are at risk of being taken out of use.

CMRG has already been given pan-industry support from the following organisations who have offered to sit on the Group: GB Potatoes, UK Potato Processors Association, Fresh Potato Suppliers Association, National Farmers Union, National Association of Agricultural Contractors (Postharvest Group), Certis Belchim B.V, UPL, CS Backhouse, Isle of Ely Produce, Potato Storage Insight and SA Consulting.

Now, the Group is seeking the co-operation of growers and suppliers from all production sectors to provide residue data from compliance sampling for over 120 potato stores annually to meet the CRD data requirement.

Any growers or store managers willing to supply CIPC residue data from crops held in stores with a CIPC history (note all data will be submitted anonymously), are asked to email adrian@potatostorageinsight.com or contact any CRMG Group member/ supply chain. A data submission form will then be issued to send in with a copy of your lab result. The Group will act in the interests of the whole of the UK potato industry to ensure that the data submitted meets the quantitative and qualitative standards expected by CRD with the aim of maintaining the new tMRL through its annual review process.

National Virus Forum Feb 2024: A Call to Action

On the 7th of February 2024, stakeholders from across the agricultural spectrum converged at FERA for the National Virus Forum.  Led by Mark Taylor, GB Potatoes Chair, this gathering marked the fifth meeting of its kind, with representatives from various sectors, totalling over 45 attendees, including both physical and virtual participants. As discussions unfolded, it became evident that the landscape of virus management had evolved significantly since the last forum meeting in February 2023.

The catalyst for the forum's inception lay in the challenges faced by the industry in preceding years.  In 2018, increased aphid activity coupled with escalating virus levels in seed crops foreshadowed looming troubles for ware crops.  By 2019, these issues materialised into substantial problems in ware crops across England, prompting the formation of the Forum in January 2020. Its mission: to address these challenges head-on and restore confidence in the system.

Reflecting on the journey thus far there is ongoing need for transformative action.  While strides have been made, the core issues persist.  The imperative for change looms large, underscored by the realisation that the era of cheap seed is over.  You can buy cheap seed, or you can buy good seed.  The two are distinctly different.

Key agreements emerged from the discussions:

  • Enhanced transparency and communication within supply chains.
  • To review and consider appropriate changes to certification.
  • Greater scrutiny and management of varieties in particular shorter generation reproduction.
  • Share knowledge, across GB and internationally.
  • Adoption of best practices across the industry.

So, where has this taken us?  We made some good progress and raised the profile and highlighted the increased threat of virus but despite commendable efforts, 2023 proved to be a tumultuous year, marked by significant downgrades due to virus outbreaks, and with the increase of Leaf Roll in the figures, virus pressures are potentially changing, and we must reflect this in how we approach the management of the issue. The production of the 4 steps guide for ware growers, and the 6 steps guide for seed growers raised the profile and control options, but again not enough impact.  More work needs to be done with these to make the industry more aware and to adopt the practices contained within the guides.  It is obvious that the risks v’s rewards are becoming more marginal.

Virus remains an on-going and unfortunately increasingly serious concern which needs the whole industry to become involved and we need to formulate a plan! Maintenance of reputation and quality standards to retain customer confidence and market opportunity are paramount.  Our high-grade seed production must be protected to secure our future healthy stocks. 

The issue of virus reservoirs must be addressed, this to include groundkeeper control, considering old variety portfolio pressures as many of these have a greater propensity to spread the problem.  Dual cropped free market varieties with potentially compromised focus on virus control, as well as looking at ware production next to seed crops.  Furthermore, renewed emphasis on aphid monitoring and reporting, potentially through a reinstated national network, was deemed essential for early detection and mitigation.

The journey has definitely not finished, though the areas of focus may need to change.  We have done lots of talking – now it’s time to turn that talking into actions and doing!

THE FOUR STEPS

Effective Virus Management in Ware & Processing Potato Crops

The National Virus Forum

March 2022

The 4-steps to effective IPM control of virus in ware and processing potatoes 

Whilst UK Seed Potato Classification Schemes aim to provide assurance to buyers and growers that seed potatoes meet specified minimum health and quality standards, it does not fully eliminate the risk of virus infection in certified potato seed. Infected seed can reduce yield and impact quality in ware potato crops, so it is important growers take measures to control both seed and aphid-borne virus in their crops. This guide offers a simple 4-step approach for ware growers to follow.

STEP 1: Understand your variety

  • Know the virus resistance of your planned crops. Resistance scores are an important IPM consideration, and data can be found by referencing the AHDB Potato Variety Database1 or the European Cultivated Potato Database.2 
  • Speak to your seed supplier or the breeder for additional variety information.
  • Some varieties can be infected but show very mild symptoms, these can be a source of virus for other crops.
  • Know the propensity of your varieties (“propensity” describes whether symptoms observed in a variety are higher or lower than that observed across all varieties).3 
  • Target high risk varieties and crops with appropriate virus control measures throughout the season.

STEP 2: Seed and location

  • Only plant certified potato seed (or seed which has been grown specifically as a seed crop and treated accordingly). 
  • Know if virus has been detected in your input seed; your seed supplier may have this information. If not, consider testing the seed yourself using an accredited laboratory.4
  • Practice good husbandry, removing groundkeepers from neighbouring crops and always destroy potato dumps; this helps reduce virus (and blight) risk on your ware crop.
  • Be aware of neighbouring crops which have the potential to be a source of virus vectors e.g., carrots, peas, and sugar beet.
  • Encourage beneficial insects into your crop as they will naturally predate on virus vectors. Consider hedgerow management, buffer strips, and field boundaries. Annual pollinator mixes are widely available for drilling into field corners or any unused areas of land to provide a habitat for beneficials. 

STEP 3: Crop monitoring and use of decision support systems

  • Track the “enemy” (aphids) and understand the seasonal risk of aphid presence.
  • Make use of information from yellow water traps networks and suction traps.5
  • Monitor crops regularly for the presence of aphids and use this information to make informed spray decisions.

STEP 4: Target your spray programs

  • If you are aware of a risk of in-season spread of virus within your crop, plan an appropriate control strategy in advance.
  • Monitor aphid flights and target your spray applications based on variety risk.
  • Understand the mode of action of insecticides in relation to the type of virus. Due to the mode of virus transmission, systemic products are effective against PLRV (Potato Leaf Roll Virus), but they are not particularly effective for PVY (Potato Virus Y) control. 
  • Identify aphid species present in your crops and only treat if they are a known vector of potato viruses.
  • Only spray an insecticide for virus control when the crop is at risk of a reduction in yield or tuber quality. For example, varieties highly susceptible PVYntn or PLRV.
  • Control treatments should start immediately once virus vectors are found in high-risk situations.
  • The spray threshold to limit direct feeding damage due to aphid infestation is five aphids per compound leaf
  • Refrain from using pyrethroid products alone, where possible, due to the risk of developing resistance and their negative impact on beneficial insects. 
  • Make sure all insecticide applications are made in line with your retailer or end-user protocols

 

1   https://varieties.ahdb.org.uk/ Note that data has been generated using different strains of PVY which can affect resistance ratings.

2   https://www.europotato.org/  Note as above.

3  Propensity data is only available for Scottish seed crops. https://www.sasa.gov.uk/seed-ware-potatoes/virology/varietal-propensity-virus-infection 

4   Two types of virus test are available (a) Direct rapid tuber molecular method (<1 week turnaround) and (b) an ELISA growing on test (4-6 weeks minimum). 

https://aphmon.fera.co.uk/

Industry encouraged to sign up to the first SPot Stores project

A new project to help fine-tune storage practices has been established by a consortium of GB Potatoes, storage specialist Adrian Cunnington of Potato Storage Insight, and agronomist Simon Faulkner from SDF Agriculture

A new project to help fine-tune storage practices has been established by a consortium of GB Potatoes, storage specialist Adrian Cunnington of Potato Storage Insight, and agronomist Simon Faulkner from SDF Agriculture. 

Industry partners involved in the storage sector are being encouraged to sign up to the Strategic Potato Stores project, which has been based on the Strategic Potato (SPot) Farms model run by AHDB Potatoes prior to its demise.


 

The first grower meeting will be held in Wisbech on December 5, and the first SPot Stores have been chosen and the potatoes loaded will be used for trials. There are also plans for an open day in May 2024.  Growers and their advisers attending the open days will get to see the set-up and then return to find out how practices develop over future seasons, explains Mr Cunnington.

“Currently there is a lack of practical research in storage, and very limited funding available for any R&D. However, rather than revisiting old trial results on paper, we believe that practical activity will help growers better understand how to refine their own storage facilities’ performance,” he says.  
“Working together to build better practice will help improve returns as we will be monitoring costs such as energy.” 

“These trials will demonstrate the contrasts of what can happen with a range of varieties subjected to different strategies, and with some of the currently available sprout suppressants.

“To be sustainable and make a realistic margin, potato stores need to be profitable, so tuber quality needs to be good and costs transparent and controlled.

“Seeing things done in a commercial set-up helps our hosts and partners share experiences with visitors who can then go home and confidently apply them in their own stores.”

Learnings from the SPot stores will also be shared at other workshops run by GB Potatoes in Yorkshire and Shropshire in 2024.

Mark Taylor, GB Potatoes Chair, says: "At GB Potatoes we are committed to supporting work to on potato storage strategies, with knowledge being shared across the industry. Our work will focus on ‘practical solutions’ which have the potential of immediate impact. 

“Workshops, together with demonstration sites, will bring our industry together to share best practice and consider simple changes to refine farm practices.”

In addition, PCN-resistant varieties are being stored in two south Lincolnshire stores for additional evaluation. This follows the successful first year of field demonstrations held in conjunction with SDF Agriculture and Hutchinsons. 

Mr Faulkner says: “This will assess the storability of useful PCN resistant varieties that are set to help growers’ develop an effective strategy against PCN.”
 

2023 PCN newsletter .

With the current situation we find ourselves in regarding the atrocious weather and the associated problems with the remaining harvest, that this brings it is easy to take our eyes off the issues that threaten our industry. One of the major issues is PCN.  As you will know, GB Potatoes and CUPGRA have joined forces to form the GB PCN Forum.  PCN and the impact this is having on our industry must not be underestimated, and the Forum is there to formulate a strategy and actions to help combat PCN and its huge impact.  Please see the attached newsletter from the Forum which highlights the issues and provides some background to the need for this group.

Raising awareness is key to fighting back against PCN. 

Establishing the GB PCN Forum

GB Potatoes & CUPGRA
working in partnership to the benefit of the industry.

Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) is potentially the biggest threat facing the whole of the British potato industry and unless it is brought under control it could seriously reduce the future productive capacity of the UK potato sector. 

There has been and continues to be a large amount of work being done by different organisations and bodies across GB but currently there is no joined up approach. The PCN Forum will correct that!

To counter the problem and produce a comprehensive strategy for future management of PCN, GB Potatoes is working in partnership with CUPGRA to establish a GB PCN forum.  The Forum will focus on bringing together all those from across the industry who have an interest in, or knowledge of PCN and coordinate an approach that turns that information into a practical industry plan. 

The Forum’s interest will include research past and present, future threats to chemical control, breeding of resistant/tolerant varieties and information on trap cropping and bio fumigation amongst other areas to provide the industry with a strategy for tackling the PCN issue in an integrated way. 

An initial workshop was held on 21st March 2023 at CUPGRA, attended by representatives from all sectors of the industry where it was agreed that there was a need for a GB PCN Forum.  The first meeting of the PCN Forum took place on August 17th. 

Mark Taylor, Chair of GB Potatoes comments” PCN is one of the major issues facing the potato sector and without a co-ordinated approach to the pest the industry is under a grave threat of walking into a situation from which it will be difficult to reverse.  This is why it is so important that the industry comes together to tackle the problem in a joined up and focussed way.  As the voice of the GB potato industry, GB Potatoes is ideally placed to facilitate this forum in partnership with CUPGRA.

It is vitally important that we produce defined goals, realistic timelines and create practical solutions that support the industry. It is not a talking shop, and we will expect to be measured on our outputs”. 

David Almond, Deputy Chair of CUPGRA commented that “CUPGRA are delighted to be working with GB Potatoes to create this Forum and ensure that the industry takes a major step forward in developing a plan for tackling this costly and devastating pest”.

The GB PCN forum will be an open and inclusive group pulling on technical expertise from wherever it is available as well as utilising the practical skills of growers to produce a strategy that is workable in the field. The steering group is the “initiator” to get the forum underway. Beyond that all interested parties will be encouraged to contribute. 

It is essential that everyone in the industry buys in to the outcomes of the forum not only those directly involved but those on the periphery such as Land Agents, Landowners, consultants, retailers, and the supply chain.

Disseminating outputs and information will be essential and will be key to the success of the Forum, which is another area that GB potatoes and CUPGRA  are uniquely placed to deliver on.

Colorado Beetle larvae – confirmed findings in Kent

The UK Potato Industry needs to remain vigilant to keep this very serious pest out of the UK.

The notes below were circulated via GOV.UK news content 14th July 2023

This is a pest that we DO NOT want in the UK. Everyone must play their part in ensuring that does not happen!

Fact sheets are available here:

Pest-alert-Colorado-Potato-Beetle-update2.pdf (defra.gov.uk)

Pest-factsheet-Insects-mistaken-for-coloradobeetle.pdf (defra.gov.uk)

For any questions or enquiries we would direct the whole industry to the Plant Health Agency, details below. 

Please do your bit to protect the UK potato crop!

Many thanks 

GB Potatoes Board 

 

Dear Stakeholder,

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has today (Friday 14 July 2023) confirmed finding a single adult male Colorado beetle in a garden in Hampshire. For information, please see the below GOV.UK content that will be published today.

Colorado potato beetle confirmed in Hampshire

  • Growers, farmers, processors and the public are asked to remain vigilant after the Animal and Plant Health Agency confirmed the finding of a single adult male Colorado potato beetle in Hampshire.
  • Colorado potato beetle adults and larvae pose a significant threat to potato crops but do not threaten human or animal health.

A single adult male beetle identified in Hampshire was today (Friday 14 July) confirmed by Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata).

Confirmation was made following laboratory diagnosis of samples taken by APHA’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. This follows an unrelated outbreak of the beetle in the Kent area earlier this week.

The confirmation comes following a report made by a member of the public in Hampshire. APHA removed the beetle and will be conducting surveys in gardens, potato crops and land around the finding to ensure there are no other Colorado beetles present.

If not eradicated, Colorado potato beetles are a significant threat to potato crops. The adult beetles and larvae feed on the foliage of potato and other plants in the nightshade family and can completely strip them of their leaves if they are left uncontrolled. However, they are not a threat to human or animal health.

UK Chief Plant Health Officer Nicola Spence said:

“Following a report by a vigilant member of the public, our experts have identified the presence of single adult Colorado beetle in Hampshire. The beetle was swiftly removed by the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and there is no evidence to suggest this finding is connected to the outbreak in Kent.

“Whilst this pest does not pose a threat to human health, we encourage all growers, farmers, processors and the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings.”

The beetle is not endemic to the UK and is currently regulated as a Great Britain quarantine pest, with import and movement restrictions in place for susceptible host material. APHA is obligated to act upon the current findings and eradicate this pest to support our efforts to maintain this status. Statutory Notices will be issued to ensure the containment and eradication of this pest is undertaken. 

Farmers and growers in particular are being encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of the pest. The beetle is bright yellow or orange with black stripes and is usually between 8.5-11.5mm in length and 3mm in width. Its larvae are a reddish brown in colour, round and globular, and up to 15mm in length. 

Although distinctive in appearance, there are several beetles that are frequently mistaken for them. The Colorado potato beetle plant pest factsheet provides more information about the beetle’s life cycle and provides information on how to differentiate it from some of our native and introduced species.

The beetles are occasionally imported into the UK from continental Europe as ‘hitchhikers’ on non-host plant material, such as leafy vegetables, salad leaves, fresh herbs and grain and are reported to the UK Plant Health Service who act on the findings. In the past 70 years, there have been two outbreaks of Colorado potato beetles in the UK, one in 1976 and one in 1977. Both outbreaks were eradicated shortly after detection.

Background notes:

  • Colorado potato beetle was first recorded in 1811 in the USA. The beetle has since spread across the USA, and moved into Canada, Central America, Europe and Asia. 
  • It first established in Europe in Bordeaux, France, in 1921, and is now present in most European countries. However, it has yet to establish in the UK. 
  • Further information can be found in the UK Pest specific Plant health response plan for Colorado beetle.
  • Please immediately report any suspected findings of the Colorado potato beetle or its larvae to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. All suspected findings, whether in a commercial, environmental, or domestic setting, must be reported to the APHA under the Plant Health Regulation. For England and Wales, telephone: 0300 1000 313 or email the planthealth.info@apha.gov.uk mailbox.

Kindest regards

Message sent by Corporate Communications on behalf of APHA’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate.

 

GB Potatoes Board Meeting 6th February 2023

First meeting of GB Potatoes Board

Monday 6th February saw the first board meeting of GB Potatoes (GBP).  The board made up of representatives from across the GB potato industry and including some of the members of the original working group, met to put in place the governance required for the organisation as well as starting to bring together ideas to focus the organisations activity. Inevitably a large part of the meeting had to be taken up with dealing with the practicalities around starting a new group, but after this, time was taken to look at the future direction of GBP. The inaugural Chair Mark Taylor explained that for the organisation to be able to truly represent the industry with authority, the number of members signed up had to significantly increase, so demonstrating that the group had a mandate for representation.  


Prior to the meeting board members were asked to highlight their top three priorities for the group to be involved with, and it was obvious that there was a common theme in their responses.  Most common was managing the risk involved in growing the crop.  The ever-increasing cost of inputs and the pressure being exerted within the supply chain was making the production of the crop far riskier.  The decline in the fresh market was also highlighted and ways to look at bringing the industry together were discussed in a bid to try to reverse this trend. A common thread picked out was the importance of encouraging fresh blood into the sector and the fundamental question, “how do we keep UK farmers growing Potatoes? The board agreed that GBP was not able to work on all the issues that the industry faces currently but should focus on areas where they can make a difference now. Increased activity is fully dependent on encouraging sufficient members to join.  Prioritising the list of those things that could be considered is being reviewed and an action plan for delivery put in place.  One thing that was discussed on the list was Fight Against Blight and how this would move forward after ScotGov funded it in 2022.  The Chairman is in discussion with The James Hutton Institute about GBP providing a contribution to help fund the campaign for 2023.  As membership increases and therefore funds increase it is hoped that other such industry essentials can be supported.


GBP has the opportunity to raise political awareness in a way no other existing body can do today. We must make the voice of the potato sector heard. We are not just facing a “single issue” but an increasingly long list of pressures and impacts that potentially will change UK potato production forever. We need to act as a collective group now! 

The success, or not of GBP relies on industry support. 


The next Board meeting will take place towards the end of March where more discussion can be had around the list of priorities that is being prepared and how they could be delivered.


Mark Taylor commented that “There is a need for a voice within the potato industry to represent all areas.  GB Potatoes aims to become that voice and act as a hub to facilitate communication, provide a platform for members to work in partnership and to defend the reputation of the industry.  To do this we need growers and other industry partners to sign up now.  Waiting to see how it goes will not work, as without the membership it can not exist.  It is a chicken and egg situation where in order to achieve our aims we need to have sufficient membership; without that membership we cannot achieve anything. Our ask today? Place your trust in us and give us the best opportunity to succeed” 
 

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