Seedling Screening

After the seedlings have been showing above ground for a few weeks, blight will begin to attack them, and Colorado beetles will begin to eat them.

In the early breeding cycles, there is a grave risk that the blight and beetles will destroy every single plant. The damage will be comparable to the destruction caused by blight, when it first appeared in Ireland. This is obviously a critical stage, and the relatively few survivors must be rescued in good timer. They should be transplanted into pots, and taken to a greenhouse where they can be nursed back to health. It may also be necessary to use crop protection chemicals, both in the field and the greenhouse, in order to save the few survivors. This is a point that should be noted by breeders working on an organic farm, who may prefer to conduct their early breeding cycles on rented land in a conventional farm, where crop protection chemicals can be used without jeopardising their organic certification.

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