Farm advisory firm and trials specialist Agrii is set to lead a collaborative project intent on building on the legacy of AHDB Potatoes. The scheme will run in collaboration with Foskett Farms, East Suffolk Produce, Matt Gregory of Greenwell Farms and independent agronomist Graham Tomalin and aims to investigate solutions to some of the most pressing production challenges.
Nick Winmill, Agrii head of potato technical and development and project lead, said the intention was to expand on the work of AHDB Potatoes and maintain the provision of quality information to growers and the industry.
“We need to find solutions to some considerable pest and disease threats. How we manage populations of potato cyst nematode and wireworm against a backdrop of reducing product choice will be foremost in our minds. We also need a suitable successor to metribuzin for broad-spectrum weed control and actions for the integrated control of aphid borne viruses. It will take time to develop strategies that consider the challenges facing us, so it is imperative that this work begins sooner rather than later.”
The project will utilise the potato crop area on the partner farms but will also involve neighbouring land to maximise the value of the data generated.
“The intention is to identify solutions that can be deployed in the current season, but there is also a longer-term focus to much of the activities, namely the rotational control of soil pests. To ensure the continued generation of quality data, we will work with other interested growers,” said Mr Winmill.
The involved parties plan to share the learnings with others through a series of field events beginning in July and August this year followed by a summary briefing during the winter. “There is no time limit to our commitment, and we have a schedule of research activities that takes us up to 2028. With the right partners and interest from growers, we hope to continue beyond this period,” concluded Mr Winmill.