Top-notch seed tattie growers who are keen to make constructive changes to their businesses are being head-hunted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The levy body is looking for a host for the next strategic potato (SPot) farm in Scotland once the current project at Bruce Farms near Meigle, comes to a close in December.
The aim is to have a new farm in place by the autumn of this year, and AHDB is now looking for a high-grade seed producer following the successful project with the Perthshire ware growers.
Bruce Farms potato manager Kerr Howatson praised the experience, which he said had allowed the farm to carry out field-scale trials that produce meaningful results.
“Doing the trials on your own land, with your own machinery and your own management, is really useful and you make lots of handy contacts,” he said.
“The key for us was having a hands-on project team who worked well together to make sure we focused on trials which would be of use to the wider industry.”
AHDB says seed growers interested in hosting a strategic farm need to be prepared to work with other growers in their region and happy to invite researchers to their farm.
They also need to be keen to make positive changes to their business. The successful host farm will use plots in their fields to run demonstrations, which they will then discuss with other local growers, agronomists and industry representatives at a series of open days.
Demonstration topics can include areas such as cultivations and soil management practices, crop nutrition, varieties, seed generations and the use of precision techniques.
Claire Hodge, AHDB senior knowledge exchange manager, said seed production was critical to the whole potato industry because the health of the national crop is founded on the health and quality of seed. She said: “We’re keen to work with a seed producer to better understand that crop, in terms of plant health, cost of production and, of course, the export market, which makes up a significant proportion of the sector.”
Seed growers interested in finding out more about hosting the next strategic potato farm can contact Chris Leslie at email@example.com.