More than 170 years after it provoked the Great Famine of Ireland, late blight disease remains the biggest threat to potato farming globally, causing USD billions of crop loss each year. In most areas, farmers can only grow potatoes if they regularly apply fungicides, which control the highly destructive pathogen but pose risks to the environment, farmers and their families.
Developing late-blight resistant potatoes has long been a priority for potato breeders, and hundreds of resistant varieties have been released in the past century. However, because of the pathogen’s ability to evolve ways to overcome the resistance of widely cultivated varieties, farmers still need to apply fungicides, and it is hard for them to know when and how much to apply.
Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) have thus developed an easy-to-use decision support tool to help farmers optimize their fungicide use, reducing production costs and health and environmental risks.
The tool, which is customized for each country, uses information on the resistance levels of local varieties, the effectiveness of locally-available fungicides, and local weather data to provide farmers with advice on when to apply those agrochemicals.
The video below can also be watched and shared on YouTube here.
Source: International Potato Center (CIP)