Scottish Government funding will continue the Fight Against Blight in 2022

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The Fight Against Blight (FAB) campaign will continue this year, thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, after the campaign’s future became uncertain with the close of AHDB Potatoes operations. 

The FAB campaign is conducted by researchers at the James Hutton Institute, who work to help protect Scotland’s potato crop against late blight.

Researchers working on the campaign are now overjoyed that the Scottish Government are providing interim support for the potato blight crusade, which is based on the monitoring of Phytophthora infestans populations by a network of agronomists, growers and industry representatives who submit field samples from suspected late blight outbreaks around the country.

The 2022 FAB effort will include the annual sampling of late blight outbreaks by these FAB Scouts and then the characterisation of pathogen populations. In work led by Dr Alison Lees, fungicide sensitivity testing will be carried out once again for a selection of active ingredients.

Feedback will be provided to scouts throughout the season and, in combination with the summary at the end of the season, updates the potato industry on best-practice for late blight management.

Project leader Dr David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute said: “This is great news for growers and the sector more widely, and it’s also great news for the longer-term research effort that supports this area. Detecting any shifts in the population as early as possible is key to understanding the threat levels, how the blight pathogen is evolving, and the responses required.”

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