JHI Celebrate Potato Genome at Potatoes in Practice event

7th Aug 2013

Practical ways in which the potato genome is being used to help breeders and the industry improve the potato crop will be showcased at Potatoes in Practice this Thursday (8 August), the UK’s biggest potato field event.

Hundreds of farmers, agronomists and others from the potato industry are expected at the event which is organised by Potato Council, the James Hutton Institute, SRUC and Agrii. The event is hosted at the James Hutton Institute’s Balruddery Farm near Dundee.

Scientists from the Institute, who led the UK effort in decoding the potatogenome two years ago, will be on hand to talk to visitors about how they are using the genome to benefit the potato industry. By using the genome they can identify markers for important traits, such as disease resistance, tuber appearance and flavour, leading to improved agronomy advice and better varieties released to market.

Dr Finlay Dale, principal potato breeder at the James Hutton Institute and its commercial subsidiary Mylnefield Research Services said: “The availability of the potato genome is making a real difference and bringing practical benefits to the potato industry. By identifying markers for certain traits we can use them to introduce things like better yield, disease resistance and good tuber appearance and flavour, which are all important to growers, buyers and consumers.”

At Potatoes in Practice James Hutton research staff will have a large exhibit to illustrate the significance of this research and its practical benefits to both the agronomy and production of the crop as well as the science behind the breeding of new improved varieties. The results of the research will be further illustrated through two field exhibits demonstrating research into traits and new potato varieties bred at the Institute that are approaching the marketplace.

For the first time this year visitors to Potatoes in Practice will have the opportunity to see live potato machinery in action with two demonstrations at 9am and 4pm. Machinery being demonstrated include a two-row Tiller Star, a Scanstone windrower, a Dewulf self-propelled harvester to follow up after the windrower, plus an Agrator front-mounted bed tiller and a Grimme stone separator.

Attendance at Potatoes in Practice is completely free and visitors can register online in advance to speed up their arrival. Full details of the event including the programme and downloadable directions are on the Potatoes in Practice 2013 page.

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