The Use of Seed Potatoes in Home Gardens

It is extremely important for home gardeners to use certified seed potatoes. Certification ensures that the seed potatoes are high yielding and compliant with biosecurity requirements for some pathogens such as Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) which is a quarantine pathogen in Australia. All fields used to grow certified seed potatoes under the AuSPICA seed certification Scheme are soil sampled and tested negative for PCN. The growing crops are inspected throughout the growing season and assessed for strict tolerances to diseases such as Potato Virus Y and other defects.  Importantly, certified seed lots are labelled with their known variety based on visual crop characteristics and accurate record management to ensure the integrity of the seed lot. 

There is a real threat of gardeners using uncertified seed potatoes and introducing disease.  Uncertified seed potatoes may carry traces of the Potato Virus Y, the virus which is the most important disease for potato certification.  It is transmitted by aphids, so can easily spread from a home garden to a seed potato field.  Therefore, it is important for home gardeners to only purchase certified seed potatoes.  

Always ask before buying and check that the seed potatoes you are buying are from an approved certified seed source. Brands approved under the AuSPICA seed Scheme will be listed here.

Certified seed potatoes are usually grown in commercial volumes and provided in bulk. Under agreement, AuSPICA provides the ability for commercial seed lots to be repacked into smaller lots. The main conditions of the agreement between the “Repacker” and AuSPICA  include: 

AuSPICA administers the AuSPICA seed potato certification Scheme.  Pursuant to the Scheme AuSPICA is responsible for overseeing the repacking of certified seed potatoes.  AuSPICA agrees to authorise the repacker to pack certified seed potatoes carrying an original AuSPICA official label into smaller parcels and to identify such parcels as “certified seed” subject to the following conditions. 

  1. The repacker undertakes to ensure that no commercial potatoes of any varieties, including uncertified seed potatoes, shall be held or bought onto the premises during the period of repacking of the certified seed.
  2. The repacker must ensure that all certified seed potatoes that are to be used for repacking must have a reference to a negative Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) laboratory test.
  3. The repacker agrees that the machinery used for repacking of certified seed must not be used for the handling and/or grading of commercial potatoes and or other bulb crops without an appropriate disinfectant procedure as approved by AuSPICA. 
  4. The design of labels used on the repacked material, and the system used by the repacked to identify the repacked certified seed shall be approved by AuSPICA. The system used by the repacker must ensure that traceability of seed lots can be accuracy maintained.
  5. It is the responsibility of the repacker to ensure that each label must carry the words “Packed under license from the Australian Certified Seed Potato Authority (AuSPICA).”
  6. The repacker shall keep accurate records of the label numbers from the certified seed purchased and the label numbers used for the repacked bags.  AuSPICA staff shall inspect the records each season.  The repacker shall submit such records to AuSPICA on the completion of packing and or as requested by AuSPICA. The repacker should keep copies of the original official label from each seed lot. 
  7. The repacker must ensure the premises used for repacking shall be kept clean and tidy to avoid a potential variety mix and maintain quality of product. 
  8. The repacker must ensure that the packing machinery is appropriately washed and disinfected before packing to avoid the potential spread of disease. 
  9. The repacker must ensure that any unsound, damaged or diseased tubers are graded out during repacking.
  10. The repacker must advise AuSPICA immediately of any breach to biosecurity and or conditions of this agreement.
  11. The repacker agrees that the authorisation to repack certified seed shall be revoked by AuSPICA if the above conditions are not met and that in such an event all unused labels shall be disposed of in a manner approved by AuSPICA. 
  12. The repacker must check requirements for interstate and regional market access conditions of trade that may apply with the relevant authority.
  13. The repacker agrees to indemnify and keep indemnified AuSPICA from all claims, actions, demands or losses made with respect to repacking of the certified seed potatoes. 

Seed Potato Certification

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The AuSPICA seed potato certification scheme has a considerable role in the production of high quality seed stocks for the Australian potato industry.

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