In Britain a progressive improvement in the health and
parity of potato seed stocks can he traced since the
beginning of this century, this improvement being reflected
in the steady raising of standards employed in the scheme
for the 'Inspection of growing crops of potatoes'. In the
present day pattern of potato growing, certified seed
potatoes of considerable value are produced annually from
Scotland, Ireland and to a lesser extent from high lying
areas of England and Wales, and the guarantee of a high
degree of freedom from virus diseases, which is embodied in
the certification scheme, has no doubt contributed much to
the high general level of yield in our commercial varieties.
There is, however, still a considerable scope for
variation in the value of seed with respect to disease
factors and physiological factors as influenced by the
conditions of storage. Thus blanking in crops may arise
from fungal diseases such as dry rot (Fusarium caeruleum.
Lib) and skin spot (Oosnora pustulans. 0 & W) which may
develop on the seed tuber during storage and there has been
increasing interest in measures to control these diseases.
Interest has also grown in the effect of conditions
obtaining during the storage phase of the seed tuber on its
sprouting behaviour and subsequent plant development.
The potato tuber is highly responsive to storage factors
and its condition at the time of planting as regards weight
losses sustained in storage, food reserves available for
further growth and stage of sprout development may vary
considerably according to the storage environment. The
introduction of storage techniques to give greater control
of temperature, recognised as the most important storage
factor, developments in sprouting techniques and the use of
sprout inhibiting chemicals all afford the opportunity to
determine this condition to a much greater extent, but more
detailed information is still required on storage factors
in their various combinations and in their ultimate effects.
To further this end, the present study has been carried out
to investigate the effects of variations in storage
temperature and the use of sprout inhibiting chemicals,
before sprouting at various times or planting direct, on
sprouting behaviour and plant development in the field.