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Farmers in Ireland urged to protect potato crop as nationwide blight warning issued

Farmers have been urged to protect potato crops as Met Éireann issue a potato blight advisory for the whole country, as Sally Gorman reports for the Irish Examiner. According to the national forecaster, conditions for the spread of the disease will develop nationwide from Thursday night until Sunday morning.

Teagasc’s Potato Specialist, Shay Phelan, says that blight warnings are common this time of year, but should be still taken seriously. He said: “Blight warnings this time of year are pretty typical, so it is nothing unusual. That being said, people who grow potatoes, commercially or even amateur growers, should not ignore the warnings.”

He believes that commercial growers are well prepared for blight warnings, and are aware of the difficulties the disease can cause. He said: “Commercial growers will probably spray a fungicide on their crops anyway. They won’t take any risk of getting blight into their crops, because once you get blight, it is very difficult to remove. 

However, Mr Phelan, is worried that back garden growers won’t take the same approach. “My main concern would be with amateur growers, people who may not be paying much attention to the blight warnings, and who only spray periodically for blight. They are the ones I would worry about.

Source: Irish Examiner. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Jean Ristaino, NC State University

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