North America, Pests and Diseases, Production/Agronomy, Smart Farming, Studies/Reports

Smart farming: Researchers brainstorm on potato vine removal

Researchers at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) are looking for ideas that would lessen the labour of removing green potato vines in the fall, as Alexis Stockford reports for Manitoba Co-operator.

The practice is pitched as a control measure against pathogens such as black dot, verticillium wilt, early blight and other diseases that carry over in potato crop residue.

A combination of vine removal and rotation could lessen reliance on chemical control products, but in practice, the interruption to work-flow makes it a difficult proposition. Zachary Frederick, applied potato research agronomist at the diversification centre near Carberry, said removal lowers disease pressure. Combined with rotation, many of those diseases can be kept at bay.

“A lot of these fungi require the vine to break down to return the inoculum to the soil, especially verticillium and black dot. (They’re) poor competitors with other fungi, so they get squatter’s rights by infecting the plant early in the season, colonizing it while it’s healthy and alive, and then they kill the plant and grow their micro-sclerotia before the other fungi,” he said.

Source: Manitoba Co-operator. Read the full story and watch a video here
Photo: Attendees of a Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre field day in August learn to diagnose early symptoms of black dot. Credit Alexis Stockford via Manitoba Co-operator

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