Scotland: Growers planting English seed potatoes

English seed potatoes are once more being planted in Scottish fields. Latest figures show that 18 ware crops north of the border were planted with such seed in 2016. The practice is not illegal under EU plant health regulations as long as the crops are certified but it carries a huge risk of importing exotic bacterial diseases such as brown rot and ring rot. This is especially the case if the seed has been once-grown in England from stocks sourced in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe. Experience shows that once these diseases become established in the environment, they are all but impossible to eradicate. Colin Herron, general manager with the Montrose-based potato division of McCains Foods GB said: “It is vitally important that Scottish growers use only seed sourced in Scotland from growers in the Safe Haven Scheme. The last time this was an issue was in 2010 and once the problem was pointed out it was dealt with efficiently. It is disappointing to see the problem creeping back in again.” More