Following the introduction of a zero tolerance for Dickeya spp. in Scottish seed potatoes, the Scottish Government has carried out an extensive survey for the pathogen during the 2010 growing season.
All seed potato crops, and all ware crops grown from high-risk non-Scottish seed, were inspected twice during the season. Where symptoms of blackleg were found samples were taken and tested at SASA to determine the cause. In addition, a representative sample of seed and ware crops grown from Scottish seed were also included in the survey.
A total of 573 samples were taken. This represents 10% of all seed crops, 100% of non-Scottish origin crops and a representative sample of Scottish-origin ware crops which were showing blackleg symptoms.
No Dickeya spp. were found in samples from Scottish origin crops.
Only 9 ware crops, all grown from non-Scottish origin seed, were found to be infected.
Statutory notices were served on the growers of these crops when the results were confirmed, requiring action to be taken to prevent the disease spreading. This includes a requirement to clean and disinfect all equipment and machinery coming into contact with the infected crop.
A news release giving further details has been published.