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Potatoes in Practice: Britain’s largest technical potato field event is coming up

Visitors at Potatoes in Practice 2016 (c) James Hutton Institute
"PiP is a vital event for our industry. It's the only time we see the breeders, seed houses, growers, researchers and manufacturers together for one event"

Potato industry representatives, growers and influencers from all over the UK and beyond are expected to descend on Dundee to take part in Potatoes in Practice (PiP) 2017, a technical potato field event featuring a high-standard mix of science, technology and practical advice and the largest of its type in the UK.

Growers, seed breeders, exporters, plant health officials, agronomists, scientists, machinery companies, trade and marketing organisations all gather at PiP, making it an essential event in the calendar for anyone involved in the sector. The packed one-day programme takes the form of a full day of agronomy and variety demonstration plots with guided tours, a technical seminar programme, research and trade stands, static and working machinery displays.

This year’s event will be held on Thursday 10th August, at the James Hutton Institute’s Balruddery Farm near Dundee. Attendees will be able to review crop varieties and the results of new crop treatments, attend live machinery demonstrations and discover the latest research on current issues impacting on the farming industry, as well as networking with colleagues, suppliers and experts.

The seminar programme focuses on four key subjects: market intelligence; apps and diagnostic tools; late blight and agronomy. The market intelligence session will feature a talk by David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, into the challenges and opportunities for the potato industry from Brexit and a consumer trends update.

Looking ahead to his talk David said: “Changes to trade regulations could present both challenges and opportunities for British potato growers. There is uncertainty over what trade agreements may be in place in our traditional seed markets, which are predominantly outside the EU, as we currently operate through EU trade agreements with these countries. Meanwhile, the possibility of tariffs and the weakness of the pound, may provide opportunities for growers to access the frozen processed potatoes market by replacing current imports with British grown product.”

Similarly, the diagnostic tools session will see demonstrations of new tools PotatoSize, Buntata and BlightWatch. The blight session includes a presentation on the newly announced Hutton Criteria for blight risk analysis, and the agronomy session features talks on the rise of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) in ware potatoes and Scotland’s green cover trials.

On-site demonstration topics will include the past, present and future of the fight against blight; potato breeding, the Commonwealth Potato Collection and its recent seed deposit in the Crop Trust’s Global Seed Vault in Svalbard; waste reduction due to greening and research to climate-proof potato crops against heat and drought, all in addition to the traditional live machinery demos.

Rob Clayton, Sector Strategy Director for Potatoes at AHDB, said: “PiP is a vital event for our industry. It's the only time we see the breeders, seed houses, growers, researchers and manufacturers together for one event. The market we are operating in is changing rapidly and PiP gives us a chance to work together as an industry to gear-up for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“Attention to detail in order to produce a competitive offering is the best way for British growers to take advantage of new prospects. PiP, as GB’s largest potato field day, provides a platform for collaboration with key-players who can help businesses make positive change.”

PiP is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with AHDB Potatoes, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Agrii, with the support of Potato Review magazine.

For more information on the event, including visitor booking information, visit the Potatoes in Practice event page. Join in the conversation before, during and after the event by using #PotatoesInPractice on Twitter.

Notes to editors:

Journalists are invited to attend the Potatoes in Practice 2017 Press Breakfast, from 8:00 to 9:00 am on the day of the event at Balruddery Farm, Dundee, DD2 5LJ. To confirm RSVP to Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media and External Relations Coordinator, James Hutton Institute, Tel: 01224 395089 (direct line), 0344 928 5428 (switchboard), 0771193918 (mobile) or email Bernardo.Rodriguez-Salcedo@hutton.ac.uk.

The James Hutton Institute is a world-leading, multi-site scientific organisation encompassing a distinctive range of integrated strengths incrop research spanning genetics, breeding, pest and diseases and sustainable production systems, with academic and commercial collaborations in five continents. The Institute has a staff of nearly 550 and 125 PhD students, and a portfolio of research encompassing land, water, environment and socio-economic science. It takes its name from the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment scientist and agronomist, James Hutton, widely regarded as the founder of geology. www.hutton.ac.uk

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at www.ahdb.org.uk

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.