Potato Sub-Committee

Representing a significant proportion of the Scottish potato industry, with members drawn from the country’s agronomy, seed and pre-packing sectors, as well as a number of seed and ware growers, the Potato Sub-committee ensures that the technical staff of the James Hutton Institute are fully informed and up-to-date with all of the technical, commercial and political pressures facing potato growers today, whilst also keeping the industry briefed on the existing and proposed research work at the institute.

The changing emphasis on government funding for research and the need to ensure end-user relevance gives the committee a significant voice in discussions with the Scottish Government and others; in addition, the committee itself can provide moderate levels of funding to initiate research into areas of immediate concern to the Scottish industry before such work can be developed into full work packages appropriate for higher-level funding.

Meetings and Events

Meeting twice a year at the James Hutton Institute, the Potato Sub-committee has introduced an open session following its winter meeting, which all members are encouraged to attend.

Topical subjects are addressed in depth by researchers and key industry representatives giving well-informed, practical information to growers. Key topics covered in recent open forums have involved blackleg, soil, long-term trends in the potato industry, PCN, drought, erosion control and breeding. Member visits to key industry facilities have also taken place, with more planned in future.

The Potato Sub-committee’s main field event has grown significantly from the days of a simple field walk; with the involvement of SRUC and Agrii, this has grown into Potatoes in Practice, the UK’s premier outdoor potato event held each August.

Research Project Reports 

The SSCR Potato Committee fund seedcorn projects which address issues relating to the potato industry. These projects aim to address areas of research benefiting the potato industry and providing preliminary data for larger funding applications.

Below are the project reports from research commissioned in our three latest funding rounds.


1.    Accelerating the Adoption of Scottish Potato cultivars in Kenya: Lesley Torrance and Jamie Smith

2.    A Genomic Atlas of Scottish Pectobacterium (GASP): An underpinning resource for Pectobacterium atrosepticum diagnostics and outbreak detection. Leighton Pritchard and Sonia Humphris

3.    Control of cyst nematodes by characterisation and manipulation of the biosynthesis of the egg hatching compounds: Vivian Blok and Glenn Bryan

4.    Evaluating the effect of soil organic matter on the interaction between FLNs and Rhizoctonia solani AG3 and their impact on crop health: Jennie Brierley, Roy Neilson & Matt Aitkenhead

5.    Can wounding by free living nematodes allow entry of Pectobacterium atrosepticum into potato roots leading to systemic infection and blackleg disease: Sonia Humphris, Roy Neilson and Kath Wright.


6.    Assessing the effect of changes in the Phytophthora infestans population on resistance of commercial varieties and breeding material to foliar late blight: James Lynott and Alison Lees

7.    Does haulm pulling influence (directly or indirectly), incidence and severity of blackleg in subsequent progeny crops? Kyran Maloney

8.    Agronomic methods for surface cultivation of potato and assessing the impact on yield, quality, soil biophysical properties and in-field biodiversity: Gill Banks and Cathy Hawes

9.    Does integrated management influence aphid biocontrol on potato? Desire’ Macheda, Alison Karley and Davide Bulgarelli


10.    Using microbiome profiles as an indicator of soil health to investigate the impacts from compaction and potato cropping: Ashleigh Holmes, Sue Jones, Lauren Watts and Sonia Humphris

Contact details

The Committee is currently chaired by Archie Gibson and the James Hutton Institute’s Dr Jennie Brierley is Secretary.


Archie Gibson
Email: archie.gibson@hutton.ac.uk


Jennie Brierley
Cell and Molecular Sciences
The James Hutton Institute
Email: jennie.brierley@hutton.ac.uk