Cultivation/Production, Pests and Diseases, Research

Maine seed potato growers contend with new bacteria

A little-understood bacteria is bringing back an older potato disease and threatening the reputation of Maine seed potatoes, which farmers up and down the East Coast buy to grow their own spuds. Since last summer, Tim Hobbs, the Maine Potato Board’s director of development and grower relations, has been spending a lot of his time on Dickeya, a bacteria that was responsible for an outbreak of the potato disease Blackleg in the Mid-Atlantic last year. “For some individuals, it was quite bad,” Hobbs said of the Blackleg, which leads to rot in the potatoes. Some farmers in Pennsylvania and Maryland growing Maine seed potatoes lost as much as half their crop. Blackleg is caused by a number of bacteria, but the disease has been kept under control in Maine seed farms for well over a decade. More

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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