As Scottish seed stocks begin to come ready for this season, the expectation in other
countries is that the previously high standard of Scottish seed is maybe not as high as it has been with levels
of virus, blackleg, rhizoctonia etc. on the rise in following crops.
Most Scottish seed growers appreciate that seed grown in Scotland is acclaimed across the world for its high health status. These same growers are buying in PB stocks or minitubers each year to bring forward to S FG4 or 5 at the most to sell on as a commercial seed crop, allowing the grower piece of mind that they are using new, clean seed that they control every year and the end customer gets a quality Scottish seed to grow their ware from in the following season. This system works and keeps seed stocks as healthy as they can be.
The past couple of seasons have seen a sudden increase in Mild Mosaic and Leaf Roll virus and an uplift in severe mosaic and blackleg, especially this season with a hot and sunny June followed by a cool wet July. With the increase of varieties grown for the export market due to the high prices being paid, this has led to varieties like Cara and Hermes being grown to E FG7 using every tuber available that wasn't suitable for export. This has includes ware growers that have applied for land to be certified to grow seed. They need seed from somewhere to plant this extra hectarage and manged to find it.
With a weakened arsenal of chemicals or treatments, early seed inspections in the past two season's, the use of old seed to produce a crop and uninspected ware crops surrounding seed crops, this has this led to where we are this year, can we convince everyone of the dangers of using old or unclean seed or will it be put down to just a natural rise in aphids and bad weather? We have had outbreaks of virus in the past and we have removed it but it does mean using good clean seed, using good clean land with long rotations, using the chemicals/treatments that are still available and rogueing all stocks and any ware that is near seed. By doing this we can quickly get back to producing clean, healthy, virus free, world class Scottish Seed that people all over the world want to buy and grow year after year.