This is question being discussed by Alan Spedding from the countryside charity Arthur Rank Centre at the West Midlands Potato Day on May 26.
The event is taking place at Tibberton Manor in Newport in Shropshire and also sees Caroline Evans, Potato Council head of marketing, discussing how growers and the industry can tap into the consumer trends to market their crop more effectively.
Other speakers at the event include:
Stuart Thomson from English Food and Farming, who will be advising growers on how they can work closer together - as well as the advantages and disadvantages of collaboration and how to set up a group of like-minded growers
A representative from The Environment Agency (to be confirmed) who is updating growers and landowners on the Water Framework Directive legislation and the new laws that will be coming into force later this year.
Ken Smith, who is letting growers know about a new tool known as "near infrared reflectance spectroscopy," which analyses the nutrient content of manures to allow for better-targeted applications of nutrients.
Richard Thwaites of FERA, who is discussing Common scab. Thwaites is a member of the team that recently completed a study on the integration of precision irrigation and non-water based measures to suppress common scab on potatoes
Jerry Knox, who is talking about water efficiency and the application and accuracy of irrigation. His talk is examining the use of rain guns and other alternatives.
Andy Barker, formally of Branstons but now an independent specialist, who is discussing the use of biocontrols in controlling soil pathogens and pests, in particular PCN.
The event is the first of a series of three being organised by Potato Council. An East Midlands Potato Day is taking place in Askham Bryan, York on July 6 while a South East Potato Day is taking place at the Quex Park Estate in Birchington, Kent on June 24th. For further details visit www.potato.org.uk.
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