New blackleg strain found in Scottish potato crop
An aggressive form of potato disease blackleg has been found in a Scottish crop.
According to a report in the UK-based Farmers Weekly, the infectious seed-borne bacterial disease Dickeya solani was discovered in a crop growing in Perthshire, in the east of Scotland.
Scotland recently established rules to keep the disease out but it has been suggested that a Dutch-bred variety had been brought north from England and planted in a potato seed growing area in Coupar Angus, Perthshire.
The farmer magazine reported that the infection was limited to one field on one farm and was picked up as part of a general inspection of crops.
The crop has since been destroyed but growers are on alert because the bacterium can survive in soil and spreads via water courses.
Dickeya solani was first identified in 2005 and in less than five years has become the predominant cause of blackleg in continental Europe.
The disease has never been found in potatoes grown from seed of Scottish origin.