Growth of seed crops
- The aim should be to produce seed of at least the quality of certified seed.
- Use the highest quality seed available.
- Use virgin potato land or land where potatoes have not been grown for many years and where there are no PCN (a statutory requirement for commercial seed crops) or other soil borne pest or disease problems (remember that there is a risk of wireworms in grassland).
- For high potential seed, avoid growing in very warm conditions.
- Grow crops according to the best PRG practice but with additional monitoring for pests and diseases.
- Ensure good control of aphids to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
- Ensure good control of potato blight, using products which provide protection against tuber blight.
- During the season, rogue the crop to remove diseased plants (including underground parts) and off-types.
- At harvest, grading, treating and re-planting, handle seed tubers carefully to avoid cuts and bruises. Ensure that tubers are warmed any time that they are handled during storage.
- After harvest, wash tuber samples and examine for blemishing or rotting diseases; have samples tested for virus diseases.
- Ensure seed tubers are fully cured and store in cool, dry, conditions to limit increase in diseases. If possible, store separately to ware tubers. DO NOT STORE IN BOXES OR BUILDINGS WHERE CIPC HAS BEEN USED.
- If seed treatments are to be applied during storage, ensure that products will be compatible with any to be applied at planting.
- The amounts of disease in progeny crops can often be related to levels of disease on seed tubers.
- SE seed grades should have low levels of virus infection than on lower grade seed but levels of blemishing diseases may be as high as on lower grades of seed.
- Crop and store hygiene may have a greater influence on blemishing disease levels than has seed grade.
- Seed from certified Safe Havens are produced to high standard of hygiene.
- Home grown seed should be produced to at least the classification standards of commercially produced seed. More …
- A comprehensive testing service is provided by laboratories such as FERA, SRUC and NIAB.
- Tubers should be tested for viruses including PLRV and PVY and for rots such as Pectobacterium. A two stage test may be required to determine the risk of PTNRD.
- Tubers should also be assessed for blemishing diseases. This may be performed by a commercial laboratory; or in a farm laboratory, using washed tubers and disease charts.
- The aim is to maintain a low tolerance for diseases and multiple samples may be required to ensure that low levels of disease are detected.
See the Industry bodies page for details of laboratories.
Growth of seed crops notes
Seed 2020 (Includes an introduction to / review of the importance of seed)
Transmission of seed borne diseases 2018 (Includes classification standards for certified seed)
Seed production and storage on farm 2017 (Reducing the risk of virus infection of the growing crop, potential problems of unplanned sprout growth in store)
Seed care 2015 (Storage of seed and risks of bruising when handling seed)
Seed storage and health 2014 (Development of diseases during storage and after planting)
Seed diseases and treatments 2007 (Potential diseases on bought-in seed; store hygiene)
Seed rate and water supply 2007 (Influence of water on seed prolificacy)
Growth of seed crops 2005 (Crop growth and control of pests and diseases)
Seed provenance 2005 (Growing conditions of the seed crop can influence seed prolificacy)
Seed handling 2001 (Taking care of seed)
Seed testing 1997 (Detection of soft rot bacteria and of viruses)