Potatoes in Practice, the UK’s largest field event for potatoes and a highlight of the season, brings the sector together to view variety demonstrations, learn about current and new research while viewing trade exhibits in one place. PIP is set to return to Balruddery Farm (Angus, Dundee DD2 5LJ) on Thursday 11th August 2022, when it will focus on new research and current challenges, with the support of event partners James Hutton Institute, Agrii UK, SRUC and Potato Review.
It is a welcome comeback for an event that has become an unmissable date in the potato industry calendar. After cancelling the event in 2020 and holding a socially distanced event in 2021, Potatoes in Practice is back in full force, with a full seminar programme, demonstration plots, and field exhibits where the trade can interact and re-connect to discuss issues including sustainability, food security, net-zero, pests and diseases, new varieties, IPM and current market challenges.
Notwithstanding the many challenges for the potato industry, Potatoes in Practice 2022 is shaping up to be a vital forum for the discussion of key topics about the technical and business realities. The seminar programme for this year includes the following talks:
- Seed Potato Organisation, Introduction to a New Organisation for Seed Potato Growers: This year, Potatoes in Practice will host a meeting of the new Seed Potato Organisation, an initiative currently in development which aims to support the seed potato industry. Views are being sought from seed potato growers; visit the Seed Potato Organisation website to learn more.
- Professor Lesley Torrance, James Hutton Institute: A world-leading International Potato Innovation Centre. This seminar will describe the Institute’s concept of a centre of excellence to translate innovation and research into solutions for the potato industry. The International Potato Innovation Centre is envisioned as a collaborative partnership of researchers, knowledge brokers and commercial companies, acting as a nucleus for the sector, bringing together partners and conducting challenge-led research, promoting translation of innovations, and accelerating the adoption of new research products across the potato value chain.
- Dr Philip Burgess, Scottishpotatoes.org: Bringing “PCN Action Scotland” to Life. This seminar will discuss work funded by a Scottish Government investment of £2.2m in the future sustainability of the Scottish potato sector. The project aims to protect the land base for future generations, control the PCN epidemic and enable the introduction of PCN-resistant varieties. Dr Burgess will answer three key questions during his seminar. 1. Why should I be worried about PCN? 2. How do I know I have PCN? and 3. Can resistant varieties help me?
- Archie Gibson, Mercury Programme Partner: Centre for Agricultural Sustainable Innovation (CASI) Crop Quality Centre for the UK Potato Industry. The prospect of developing an industry-owned and run quality centre, the first of its kind in the UK, is really exciting. The quality centre will aim to assess multiples of 300 tuber samples from the field or store using state-of-the-art optical sorters capable of reporting size bands and skin finish, while also checking for internal defects, dry matter and storability. In addition to field inspections, these quality assessments will reinforce the reputation of the Scottish seed industry promoting our high-grade seed for export and domestic customers alike. Assessment data from seed lots and ware samples will be collated and confidentially returned to the grower, to help them validate varietal economic performance and integrated pest management strategies along with other useful benchmarking information. The centre will be open to all potato growers whether growing table potatoes or certified seed for export or the home market.
Dr Philip Burgess, director of Scottishpotatoes.org, comments:
“Potatoes in Practice is a unique event that brings together the whole potato supply chain into one field and the range of discussions this year will cover everything from geopolitical events to the rooting structures of different varieties!
“World events have always had an impact on the potato sector in Scotland and the current situation is no exception. Russia’s war in Ukraine has directly disrupted seed supplies as well as planting operations in the country. The full impact of these events is only just beginning to reveal themselves as the knock-on effects of food supplies around the world are felt and the impact on seed potato exports around the world is uncertain. Egypt for example imports large amounts of wheat from Ukraine and seed potatoes from Scotland while exporting substantial volumes to Russia. The Brexit agreement, despite considerable effort by many, continues to prevent the export of seed potatoes to EU countries (and Northern Ireland).
“Meanwhile the major input costs in growing potatoes; labour, fuels and fertiliser, have rocketed since the last PIP, further challenging both domestic and international supply chains. These changes will have an impact on the choices growers make in growing crops. Just where can new precision technology or advanced varieties reduce production costs to keep the potato competitive?
“The potato sector in Scotland is a resilient industry, well supported by technical innovation and uniquely placed to meet these challenges. Investment is being planned or underway; PCN Action Scotland, a large programme of research and knowledge exchange aims to provide tools for growers to tackle the increasing PCN problem. Major initiatives are being brought together such as the Centre for Agricultural Sustainable Innovation (CASI) which aims to bring a potato crop quality centre to Angus. Meanwhile, the James Hutton Institute and partners are building support for an international potato innovation centre in Scotland. The PIP seminar tent is the place to go if you want to know more.
“Growers are also organising into new groups, following the demise of AHDB, with aims of representing their interests to government and supply chains as well as supporting the required research and innovation to ensure the future sustainability of the sector. It’s exciting to see a new landscape of grower representation forming.
“In summary I see an industry facing many pressures but determined to find a way ahead. There will be much to discuss and see at this year’s PIP. Come along and find out what is happening in the sector.”
The event partners, organisers and exhibitors look forward to welcoming everyone to Potatoes in Practice 2022, on Thursday 11 August at Balruddery Farm, Angus. See you there! One NRoSO and five BASIS points are available at this event.
Field plots at Potatoes in Practice 2022
- Greenvale AP
- James Hutton Institute
- James Hutton Limited
- Agrico UK
- Cygnet Potato Breeders
- GPS Potato Breeders
- Meijer Potato UK
- Caledonia Potatoes
- IPM Potatoes
- Solana Seeds UK
- SAC Consulting
- Action PCN Scotland
- Agrovista UK
- Bayer CropScience
- Scotland’s Plant Health Centre
- Frontier Agriculture
- SEFARI Gateway
- James Hutton Institute
- Harvest Eye
- Smart Rural
- Farm Electronics
- Stet Potato
- Restrain Ethylene Control Systems
- JD Cooling
- Corteva Agriscience
- Andy’s Man Club
- Belchim Crop Protection
- HL Hutchinson
Static Machinery Displays
- Netherton Tractors
- Nufarm NUCROP
- Alan Mackay Machinery
- Agrovista UK
- GRIMME UK