The arrival of warmer weather at the end of last month finally gave growers the opportunity to put planting delays behind them. Meanwhile, campaigners were seeking support for a vote to wind up the Potato Council.
Read about it in our new edition.
New ring rot cases elevate threat level
With imports of ware and seed potatoes having risen following a shortfall in the UK harvest last year, the risk posed by this potentially devastating disease has heightened. In a bid to stay one step ahead of the pathogen, the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) has implemented additional measures to trace and monitor overseas consignments in England. New legislation came into effect in December 2012 and now applies to Scotland, with similar action being considered for Wales and Northern Ireland.
With only three outbreaks of ring rot in the UK previously, and none since 2005, the first few months of 2013 saw two incidents identified by Fera’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI). One case was an interception of a ware consignment from Poland, the other was a contaminated seed stock brought in from the Netherlands.
‘Processors and traders importing large quantities of potatoes this year should be aware of the risk involved and should take care about their sources,’ says principal seed inspector Derek McCann.