importance of certified seed quality
Snack Brands Australia (SBA) recently held a field meeting (6-7th Feb 2014) over two days at Toolangi and Thorpdale involving growers supplying the company throughout Australia. For many commercial growers this was the first opportunity to see behind the scenes of seed potato certification and science involved in the tissue culture and minituber production.
The group went on farm at Thorpdale where the importance of using high quality/certified seed potatoes was evident in comparing field plots at Thorpdale planted with uncertified farm saved seed and plots planted with certified seed. The level of virus in the farm saved seed was very high and the some tubers produced had severe cracking. Virus was confirmed in the field using a rapid lateral flow ELISA kit, similar to an at home pregnancy test, which are commercially available.
The SBA growers heard from Dr Scott Williams, about the world leading outcomes of the potato industry funded Australian Potato Research Program (phase 2). Further research outcomes of APRD2 were presented by Dr Tonya Wiechel (DEPI) specifically on her research on soil health to better manage powdery scab, common scab and Rhizoctonia. The importance of continuing research and development to find solutions to production issues such as diseases was a shared view by both SBA and the growers.
The future of the National public variety collection was presented to the group by Dr Nigel Crump (AuSPICA) with many of the audience expressing concern about the potential to lose varieties from Australia.
Michael Hicks of SBA showed growers new varieties in the SBA variety evaluation program.
The meeting was an opportunity for industry to meet with the new appointed manager of Toolangi Elite, Dr Daniel Isenegger.
The two day event was extremely well received by all who attended and highlighted the importance of the growers and company working together to build better collaboration and fostering the adoption of modern farming practices to ensure a profitable and sustainable industry.
Big thanks to Michael Hicks of SBA for organising the event.