28 January 2015 | Online since 2003



8 June 2009|Arable,News

Potato event picks out a positive path


There are bright prospects for British potato growers to address global economic challenges and credible opportunities to save on fertiliser cost. Around 200 growers and specialists attended Potato Council’s West Midlands Potato Day on Wednesday, June 3, to discuss business and technical priorities with some of the country’s leading experts.

Potato Council’s summer meetings kicked off at Chasepool Farm, near Dudley, West Midlands. Sponsored by McCain Foods, Greenvale AP and the NFU, the day comprised formal presentations and field discussions, addressing a range of topical issues.

NFU deputy president and Pembrokeshire grower Meurig Raymond said British potato growers are well placed to address global economic challenges.


"The UN predicts the world population will rise from six to nine billion people by 2050. Potatoes are an extremely good value food source. They are highly nutritious, and an important source of carbohydrate and they will have a major role to play in feeding the world," said Mr Raymond, who grows 80 hectares (200 acres) of potatoes, packed and processed through Puffin Produce for ASDA.

"The challenge to produce the future global food requirement, while lowering the environmental footprint at the same time, is huge. Climatic change and reduced water availability will restrict many growing areas. But Britain, with its temperate climate, will be well placed to increase production.


"With the Government withdrawing research and development spending, Potato Council’s knowledge transfer role in helping British growers increase production, and lower their environmental impact will be crucial. The NFU values its close relationship with Potato Council and we look forward to working together at events to make sure we make the most of every opportunity for growers."

The morning business-focused papers were followed by afternoon technical workshops. Manure applications could be worth a staggering £450 per hectare at current fertiliser prices, according to ADAS consultant Ken Smith. Growers at the event were advised not to skimp on nutrients, but to adopt an integrated approach, making optimum use of available manures and nutrient alternatives, to feed a profitable crop.

"In the rotation it is usually the potato crop that is most responsive to phosphate (P) and potash (K) levels, so make sure these nutrients are not limiting," said Mr Smith. A 40t/ha application of farmyard manure (FYM) would typically provide 320kg/ha of potash – about the same as the off-take of a high yielding crop – and 140kg/ha of phosphate.

"But manure P availability is limited, at least in the short term, so it would still be worth topping up with fresh fertiliser P, even though P off-take for potatoes is a relatively modest 50kg/ha for a 50t/ha crop. The surplus P, and possibly K, can then give you scope for a break, or P and K holiday, perhaps for several following crops."

Fertiliser inputs represent the biggest single cost component for maincrop production, at around 18 per cent of total costs, so merit careful planning. Regular soil analysis, especially before a potato crop, is crucial to ensure nutrients are neither limiting nor wasted. "Make sure you are mindful of NVZ restrictions, and it is always worth testing manures for nitrogen content."

A LINK-funded project, coordinated by ADAS, aims to develop a new test based on a rapid scanning technique, to make manure analysis quicker and more accessible for growers.

The West Midlands event is the first of a number of key technical events taking place around the country this summer, pointed out Chris Steele, Potato Council’s water, soil and energy specialist.

"Feedback suggests the Potato Council summer events are now an established route for growers, agronomists and farm managers to gather key technical updates from the nation’s top experts. It’s not just a day out from your business, it’s an essential part of your business," he said.

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


7 January 2015
Day Maintenance/Craftsperson
The role will involve planned maintenance across a range of electrical, pneumatic and mechanical equipment, yardman duties an...

12 January 2015
Sainsbury`s Sampling Ambassador P109
Cosine are looking for Sainsbury`s In-Store Sampling Ambassadors at the Winchester and Badger Farm store. As the sampler you ...

22 January 2015
Stock Person/Tractor Driver
Will be working on a family dairy farm as part of a team. Applicants will need to have agricultural experience to include abi...

23 January 2015
Animal Care Apprentice
Animal Care, Agriculture, Horticulture, Arboriculture, Veterinary Nursing, Trees and Timber, Sports Turf, entry requirements ...

9 January 2015
Regional Manager or Regional Manager Designate
Strong interpersonal skills to be able to deal with a wide range of business to business customers from Agriculture to Public...




Top stories you may have missed
12 November 2014 | Arable
GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops are good for the economy and can reduce the amount of pesticides u...


6 November 2014 | Cattle
Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Demand from smaller European markets has helped drive strong growth for UK ...


6 November 2014 | Agri Safety
Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

A lack of engineers, not enough people promoting the land-based industries ...


4 November 2014 | Bees and Beekeeping
Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is launching the National Pollinator ...


4 November 2014 | Arable
Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Agricultural specialists have welcomed a potential financial boost for youn...


3 November 2014 | News
Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

As retailers continue to participate in a highly competitive race to the bo...


31 October 2014 | Arable
New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New farm business income data from Defra, which focus on income from March ...


30 October 2014 | Agri Safety
Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture has remained one of the industries in which workers are most li...


29 October 2014 | Finance
UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

Prime arable land in the UK has seen a substantial year-on-year growth in p...


27 October 2014 | Arable
Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

A new mobile app for farmers able to pinpoint and identify disease, pests a...