Disease yet to affect Scottish potato crops

Potato crops in Scotland have yet to be affected by the devastating disease Dickeya dianthicola - even though it spread to England several years ago.

Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) representative Ian Toth, working with Scottish Agricultural Science Agency's Gerry Saddler, said at the Potatoes in Practice (PiP) event this month: "We've had a number of English growers who say they've seen these symptoms. So far we haven't had a case confirmed in Scotland. Vigilance and sourcing seed through the Safe Haven Accreditation Scheme will hopefully keep it that way."

Potato plants inoculated with the disease were on show at PiP to help growers spot the symptoms of the infection. The disease was kept safely within Perspex boxes for growers to view.

Dickeya dianthicola is an increasing threat to potato production in Europe and seems to prefer warmer conditions than blackleg.

It was first reported in the Netherlands in the 1970s and was found for the first time in English seed potatoes seven years ago.

Plants infected with the disease, which causes systemic wilting and stem rotting, must be destroyed.

On seed potatoes, the disease is controlled during certification by applying tolerances for blackleg and soft rot.


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