Impact of weather on Scottish potato crop becomes clear

Scotland's potato crop will be down by as much as 50 per cent this season in some areas, according to growers who gathered this week near Dundee.

Some 700 farmers attended this week's Potatoes in Practice conference at Balruddery Farm near Dundee, the UK's largest field-based potato industry event, where the nearby James Hutton Institute (JHI) puts its crop research into practice.

Balruddery Farm manager Ewan Cauldwell said: "Right from planting it's been very wet, we've had a lack of sunshine, there's been a lack of temperature, the disease issues have been particularly bad, the pressures on disease have been bad, the ground conditions have been wet and the opportunity to get on control of these diseases has been challenging in itself."

Despite this, JHI potato breeder Finlay Dale added that drought resistance is still an important consideration for the industry going forward, along with blight control and reducing chemical inputs, saying: "Water is going to be expensive - not this year - but it is going to be a real cost."

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