Novel ways of tackling pests on show at Potatoes in Practice

13th Aug 2014

Potato growers and industry representatives will be able to learn about novel research being conducted at the James Hutton Institute and how it contributes to Integrated Pest Management at Potatoes in Practice on 7 August 2014.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has recently come to the fore as one of the major growth areas in tackling pests and diseases and it will be a major topic of discussion at the event, which is the UK’s largest potato field event. Potatoes in Practice is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute and held at its Balruddery Farm near Dundee.

IPM uses contemporary information on the life cycle of pests and pathogens and their interaction with the environment, in combination with predictive diagnostics and an array of control methods, to manage diseases in the most economical way while minimising risks to human health and the environment.

The Institute’s research contributes to IPM through a range of strategies, including host resistance and better management of inputs and resources. Case studies will be presented showing how different strands of research combine to support the development of IPM for late blight, nematodes and viruses affecting potato.

Professor Ian Toth, Controlling Weeds, Pests and Diseases Research Theme Leader at the James Hutton Institute said: “The introduction of European legislation aimed at reducing the use of control chemicals against pests and pathogens of potato and other crops, together with our need to protect and maintain the environment, has resulted in a major challenge to identify alternative yet sustainable methods of crop protection.

“While not all control methods alone may offer a complete solution to pest and disease control, an integrated approach that combines methods is likely to be our best chance of success. An integrated pest and disease management (IPM) approach is therefore our primary aim.”

IPM offers a toolbox of options, combinations of which can be selected for different cropping systems or climatic conditions. The aim is to maintain disease control through the use of economically and environmentally appropriate methods, whilst also minimising the risk of pests and pathogens becoming resistant to those control methods. IPM is itself an important component of sustainable intensification, contributing to reduced disease losses and optimal use of resources.

Around 1,000 growers, agronomists and industry representatives are expected to attend Potatoes in Practice, which is an essential date in the potato industry calendar. Attendees will be able to see new crop varieties, crop treatment trials, live machinery demonstrations, network with colleagues, suppliers and industry experts and attend seminars on current issues affecting the farming industry. New for this year are Harvesting Clinics with tips and advice for harvesting.

Potatoes in Practice is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute and sponsored by Potato Council. It is presented in association with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Agrii and supported by media partner Potato Review. Attendance at the event is free and you can register in advance on the Potatoes in Practice 2014 registration page. There is more information about the programme for the day and directions to Balruddery Farm on the Potatoes in Practice 2014 event page.

More information from: Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media and External Relations Coordinator, Tel: 01224 395089 (direct line), 0844 928 5428 (switchboard) and 07791 193918 (mobile); or Lorraine Wakefield, Content Manager, Tel: 01382 568749 (direct line), 0844 928 5428 (switchboard) and 07964 777906 (mobile).

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