In total,671 samples were tested this year for dickeya from field grownpotatoes showing signs of blackleg.The pathogen was not detected in any of these samples. This marks the 3rdconsecutive season that Scotland has maintained its freedom from Dickeya, says Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
Dickeyaspp., particularly dickeya solani is a major pathogen of potato in manyEuropean countries and Israel. It hasbeen found previously in a small number of ware crops grown in Scotland during2009 and 2010, all of which were produced from non-Scottish-origin seed. Withthe support of industry, who continue to make informed choices particularlywith regards the origin of their seed, and the introduction of strictlegislation in 2010, Scotland has maintained its freedom from this pathogen.
It isparticularly noteworthy, says SASA, that no positive findings were made in 2013as the prevailing weather conditions over the growing season, warm and dry,favoured the pathogen. The lack of any positive findings this year puts to resta possible theory that the pathogen had already established itself in Scotlandand was lying dormant during the unfavourable summers of 2011 and 2012. These results reinforce the view that seed isthe source of the infection and serve as a timely reminder that purchasingScottish-origin seed potatoes is an effective means of maintaining freedom fromdickeya infection.