Testing of Peat used for Seed Potato Production
Under the new PCN Directive 2007/33/EC, there is no longer a requirement to test samples of growing media (usually peat based) in which potato mini-tubers are grown, to confirm the absence of PCN. The new PCN Directive only relates to the testing of 'field-soil' used for growing seed potatoes.
No PCN have been found in tests of peat-based growing media carried out at SASA during the past 20 years, and it can therefore normally be considered to be "a pest-free growing medium" as required by the SPCS. If pre-basic growers involved in mini-tuber production wish to obtain a test on, for example, a new delivery of the growing medium, SASA can provide this service on a commercial basis. A fee of £14.00 plus VAT per sample of 400ml or less will be charged.
A representative 400ml sample should be submitted by the grower to the Nematology Laboratory at SASA. At the laboratory, peat samples are dried and then processed by centrifugation in a glycerol, ethanol and kaolin mixture. The supernatant is then passed through two sieves. The residue from the second and finer sieve is transferred onto filter paper and then examined visually for the presence of PCN. Results will normally be issued within 10 working days of receiving the sample.
If you have any technical enquiries about testing peat for PCN, please contact Jon Pickup. If you are enquiring about the laboratory results for any peat that you have had tested, please contact Yvonne Cole.