Our courses


Potato Enterprise

Assessment type

Group discussion
Oral questioning

Minimum duration

5 Days

Course delivery

On site
Virtual Training
Practical demonstrations


You can achieve roughly 8 NRoSO points and 30 BASIS points by attending the Potato Enterprise programme, which runs from December to August annually and is delivered by Dr. Mark Stalham. Topics include - 

Session 1:  Review of 2021 season via Zoom.

Consequences of a wet winter 2020/21, Planting conditions, Late frost, Dry spring and herbicide control, Consequences of a very warm, dry and bright April and May, Emergence and early canopy expansion, Tuber populations, Aphid populations and virus, including testing, Blight, Summer rain deluges, Early senescence, Potential yields, Desiccation issues, Sprout suppressants, Quality and prices, Storage.

Session 2: Planning the 2022 crop via Zoom.

What were the main problems in 2021 and how can we manage them better, or was it a freak season? Which crops produced the best marketable yields and quality in 2021? Market review - which sectors will be the most profitable? Prices and costs. Marketing – contract, market-related or both? "Weather proofing’ the potato enterprise for difficult growing seasons, Resistance, resilience and future profitability, Soil cultivation strategies, Varietal choice, Crop nutrition, Virus loading in seed, including testing, Seed rates and planting depth, Irrigation requirement, Nematicides, Weed control, Blight control, Desiccation.

Session 3: Early-season crop management field walk.

Review cultivations, Root development and canopy growth, Greening, planting depth and ridge profile, Seed spacing, target and actual plant populations and tuber size, Early and late blight, weed and aphid control – materials, dose rates and timings, Aphid thresholds, Alternaria control, Home-produced seed - virus protection and use of mineral oils, Nitrogen top-dressing, Irrigation for scab control and canopy development, Minimising run off from rainfall and irrigation, Late storage issues from 2021 crop.

Session 4: Mid-season crop management field walk.

Crop yield potential and tuber quality to date, Late season – blight control and use of maleic hydrazide, Rotations, yields and crop quality, Review disease, pest control and crop water use, Market update and prospects for the season ahead, Preparing for harvest and storage: bruising and desiccation.

Session 5: Late season crop management field walk.

Stage of crop canopy, Market requirements 2022 – tuber size, dry matter and skin quality, Managing skin diseases – silver scurf and black dot, Crop yield and quality assessments, estimate yields for storage, What are the main areas of waste and how do we minimise them? Dry matters in processing crops at desiccation, Harvesting and burn off plans – desiccant choice, application technique and timing, Field selection and cultivations for 2023, Storage plans – hygiene, fans, temperatures, temperature probes, box lay-outs, carbon dioxide and store environment, Sprout suppressants: using ethylene and mint oil, Managing C02, Minimising energy use whilst maintaining quality in store, Market update and prospects, Quality assessments for packing crops, Assessing scuffing and mechanical damage, Bruising.

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