AHDB to release results from its Strategic Potato farm network project

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will present the latest results from its Strategic Potato (SPot) farm network via a series of online events next week.

Following the successful Potato Showcase week in July 2020, AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm Results week will consist of a series of webinars and other online events between January 18 and January 22, to present the latest results on the on-farm trials and research projects.

Growers, agronomists, and researchers who have delivered field trials in 2020 will be brought together to discuss their work, deliver results, and highlight what they have learned.

Previous SPot farm hosts and industry experts will also participate in panel discussions to present in-depth analysis and opinion.

Presentation topics include: aphid and virus control desiccation of seed; salad; and ware crops; irrigation; trap crops for Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) control; storage without the use of CIPC; weed management; and cultivation practices.

The SPot Farm programme is a network of potato growers throughout the UK with a range of geographical locations, soil types, and challenges.

Each SPot farm hosts scientific research, paid for by a £1.5 million annual investment fund.

How do the trials work?

Growing everything from certified seed, through salads, to maincrop for the fresh and processing markets, some of the trial and demonstration work aims to address local challenges experienced by growers and identified by the host farmer.

In other cases the farms host national multi-site trials taking place across the network.

The results of the research are shared with growers via on-farm visits and over the last three years of SPot events, 94% of levy payers who attended say they improved their technical knowledge while 86% commented that they picked up something to improve productivity or efficiency.

Richard Meredith, AHDB’s Head of Arable Knowledge Exchange, said:

In these difficult times it is more important than ever for AHDB to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information between our growers.

“Moving our events online allows us to engage with a wider audience than we can with on-farm events and we hope that even more of our levy payers will benefit from the valuable information that we have to share.

“One of the highlights of the SPot Farm Results week will be the sessions with our strategic farm hosts in Scotland, North England, and East Anglia who will explain how they are running local and national trials putting research into practice,” he concluded.