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Potatoes in Practice: Britain’s largest technical potato field event is this week

Potatoes in Practice: Britain’s largest technical potato field event is this week

Potatoes in Practice: Britain’s largest technical potato field event is organized this week on August 10.

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.

Seminar Sessions


The Potatoes in Practice seminar programme forms a key part of the technical knowledge exchange with growers.

Confirmed seminars are:

Session I Market Intelligence

  • Consumer Trends and the Potato Market: Stewart Batchelor, Insight Analyst, AHDB
  • Challenges and Opportunities for the Potatoes Industry from Brexit: David Swales, Head of Strategic Insight, AHDB

Session II Apps / Diagnostic Tools

  • The PotatoSize App – counting and sizing with image analysis: Matt Aitkenhead, James Hutton Institute
  • Buntata – Plant disease identification on the go!: Lesley Torrance, James Hutton Institute
  • BlightWatch: Claire Hodge, AHDB

Session III Blight

  • Intersection between research and potato and tomato growers: Christine Smart, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University
  • Late Blight – from Smith Period to Hutton Criteria: Siobhan Dancey, James Hutton Institute

Session IV Agronomy

  • Title TBC: Peter Raatjes, RMA
  • The rise of PCN in ware potatoes and impact on land available for seed: Kim Davie, SASA and Andy Evans, SRUC
  • Scotland Green Cover Trials Update and Future Soil Borne Pest Management Strategies: Richard Barnes and Clive Wood of Kings
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.

Demos, Displays and Dialogue


Come and speak to staff and researchers at the James Hutton Institute in both the field, main marquee and seminars marquee about a variety of topics:

  • Learning from the past in the future fight against blight?
  • Potato Breeding - parental improvement strategy at James Hutton Limited
  • PotatoSize App - seminar and in-field demonstration
  • The Commonwealth Potato Collection
  • What's next in the flight against blight?
  • Strategies to reduce waste due to greening in potato tubers
  • Climate-proofing potato against the effects of heat and drought
Rob Clayton, Sector Strategy Director for Potatoes at AHDB:

“Potatoes in Practice 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 Potatoes in Practice 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.”
Potatoes in Practice 2017 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.
Companies in this Article
AHDB Potatoes (formerly known as Potato Council) is a public body working on behalf of potato growers and purchasers to promote British potatoes.
The James Hutton Institute is an international research centre based in Scotland.