A self confessed Potato head, Chris has been involved with potatoes and potato growers since the 1980’s both here in NZ and in bonnie Scotland. Chris has worked with Scottish seed growers and was involved with the development of Satlire Seeds and disease control protocols. He was involved in developing the Heritage programme for Waitrose, and the supply of 140 varieties to the gardeners in the UK, including Mr Little Yetholm Gipsy, Forthyfold and Shetland Black. He has worked with A S Wilcox here in NZ and is passionate about helping growers understand and develop better storage and handling systems to improve their potato business outcomes. Chris is currently a Post Harvest lecturer based at EIT in the sunny Hawkes Bay.
Producing Clean Seed: Science into Practice.
Chris Thorman BSc (Hons), FACTS, BASIS
In 1989 & 90 significant financial losses due to fungal diseases in the processing cultivar ‘Record’, the main stay of the UK crisping industry, led to work to develop a practical and effective solution with the main target being Skin Spot. It was identified that whilst potential disease was related to level of inoculum on the seed, the severity was related to storage conditions. The development of Limited Field Generation techniques created an opportunity to develop a radical new protocol to produce “Clean Seed”. However, putting “clean” mini tubers into a “dirty” system would not necessarily solve the issue. A seed production protocol was developed to limit infection at every stage of the seed multiplication process. 29 years later, the Scottish Grower Group involved in this work is still regarded as one of the best for production of quality processing seed potatoes in Europe. In this presentation, I will describe the relevance of this work in relation to the NZ context.