Dr Mike Storey, head of R&D at AHDB Potatoes, said: "AHDB sectors work closely together to manage programmes of research with leading science organisations such as the James Hutton Institute and SRUC. It is this high level of collaboration that we are building on for the forthcoming tender. Our support for current and future research programmes is part of an integrated soils programme across AHDB and this profile needs to be raised."
Storey also emphasised at the annual event the important contribution made by Scotland (host of this year's PiP event) to the industry’s research portfolio. He said: "Forty four per cent of our committed levy spend for our current potatoes R&D programme is assigned to Scotland."
AHDB Potatoes invests levy funds in high-level training and support for research students – with nearly 50 per cent of the PhD students it supports conducting their research out of Scottish science organisations, with the James Hutton Institute leading the way.
Storey also touched on AHDB’s support for on-going nematology research and also how blackleg poses a continuing threat to the UK’s seed (and ware) growers. AHDB Potatoes and the Scottish government are therefore co-funding a three-year investigation into the causes of blackleg in order to identify the routes of infection and ultimately help growers to eradicate the disease from early-generation seed crops. This work is being supported by a secondment to enable AHDB Potatoes and Dr Gerry Saddler of SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) to investigate grower management of crops and survey which factors affect blackleg.