This year’s summer in the UK has been unusual and has seen extreme variance in temperatures. From snow on April Fools’ Day, delaying potato and sugar beet planting and establishment; through to the prolonged extreme heat and drought of the last two months.
In March and early April this year, cold soils impeded progress in terms of soil preparation prior to planting and drilling of spring crops. This has led to a shorter grower season in many cases. The full impact of the late cold snap followed by unseasonably hot sun and drought have yet to be realised.
Potato lifting has already begun and some potato growers have already reported lower and smaller tuber numbers due to the prolonged drought.
With Autumn around the corner bringing changing weather conditions, making sure that produce is put into store properly and is disease and defect free is paramount. Quality and skin finish is a key factor in the potato industry. Despite most crops being irrigated, some potato growers are already encountering issues.
To pre-empt any problems arising once this year’s potato crop arrives into store; Fera’s Plant Clinic offers a range of specific tests targeting potato storage issues. We offer Rapid Direct Tuber testing which includes testing for Potato virus Y (PVY) as standard. Spraing tests for Potato Mop Top and Tobacco Rattle Virus using symptomatic tuber and soil bait testing methods are also available.
Fera’s Plant Clinic provides a storage disease testing suite which includes tuber blemish disease assessment as well as Scab testing and diagnostic tests for other storage diseases tests.