North America, Pests and Diseases

Dogs sniff out significant potato diseases in fields and storages

Andrea Parish’s dogs are saving potato farmers throughout the country big money by quickly sniffing out a couple of significant crop diseases. Her canine’s specialize in detecting potato virus Y and bacterial ring rot.

As John O’Connell (joconnell@journalnet.com) reports in a news story for Idaho State Journal, her lovable Labradors can positively identify infected spuds just 48 hours after inoculation. Parish, owner and founder of the company Nose Knows Scouting, has been working with her dogs in potato storages and fields from Washington to Maine since launching her business in 2019. She’s been hired to work with a couple of state seed potato certification programs in the near future.

She’s trained two dogs — a black Labrador retriever named Zora and a yellow Lab named Dudley — in PVY detection. Raya, a Vizsla-Lab mix, is trained in bacterial ring rot detection.

Most of her demand has been for PVY. Her dogs will run through the ventilation tubes, called the plenum, beneath seed potatoes in storage and sniff through the holes above for infected tubers. Parish is considering adding powdery scab, potato wart and harmful nematodes to her dogs’ list of targeted pests and pathogens.

Idaho Crop Improvement Program invited Parish to present Tuesday afternoon at their annual Idaho Seed Potato Growers Seminar at the Red Lion Hotel in Pocatello. 

Source: Idaho State Journal. Read the full story here
Photo: Courtesy Andrea Parish via Idaho State Journal
Related: Nose Knows Scouting for more information and to watch videos
Video below: Zora finding PVY in a storage bin above her through plenum holes

Video below: Zora scouting a volunteer field for PVY

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