With around 2,500 farmers generating in order of 6 million tonnes from an area close to 126,000 hectares, there is no doubting the importance of the potato crop to UK agriculture. There is a very useful export market for UK grown potatoes – particularly seed potatoes – and this is likely to continue to grow in future years.
Although ware potatoes are also exported, it is the seed sector which has the more stable profile with around 10,000 tonnes going overseas each year.
It is the agronomic performance of the varieties with a strong reputation for quality which underpins this valuable market.
In terms of threat to the crop, the potato cyst nematode (PCN) is a notable player as it has been estimated that this pest results in losses of around £40 million in lost production. When crops are attacked by PCN, the development of the root system is compromised, growth is then restricted and the net result at the end of the season is a reduced yield.
Speak to your local Seed Specialist about growing PCN resistant varieties and for advice about our Greening crops that can provide a solution to nematode control.