Washington potato farmers can expect high pressure from psyllids, the insects that can carry zebra chip disease, researchers say. Potato psyllid populations fluctuate from year to year, said Rodney Cooper, temperate tree fruit and vegetable research leader for the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Wapato, Wash.
Matthew Weaver reports for Capital Press that the psyllid populations that occur in potatoes in late summer correlate with psyllid populations that occur on matrimony vine, a non-native shrub, in early spring. When researchers cannot find psyllids on matrimony vine in March, the psyllid pressure in potatoes remains low. During years researchers find psyllids on matrimony vine in March, psyllid pressure can be high in potatoes later in the summer, Cooper said.
“This year, we are seeing a very large number of potato psyllid in matrimony vine,” Cooper said. “In fact, we are seeing perhaps three times more psyllids on matrimony vine than we did leading up to the 2016 potato psyllid outbreak.
Source: Capital Press. Read the full story here
Photo: USDA ARS vegetable research leader Rodney Cooper samples matrimony vine, a non-native shrub, for psyllids | USDA ARS