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Expert plant pathologist to address challenges in potato disease management at upcoming Ontario Potato Conference

With just two weeks remaining before the highly anticipated Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show, excitement is building among potato growers and industry experts. Set to take place on February 29, the event promises to be a hub of knowledge and innovation, focusing on challenges and advancements in the potato industry.

One of the highlights of the conference will be a keynote address by Ken Frost, a renowned plant pathologist from Oregon State University. Frost is well-regarded for leading an extension program dedicated to research-based improvements in vegetable disease management, particularly in potatoes.

‘A better tuber rotter’

Dr. Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board and the main organizer of the event, recalled her first interaction with Frost in 2022 during a challenging period for potato growers in Ontario. “Ken was instrumental in identifying Pectobacterium parmentieri as a more aggressive strain causing tuber soft rot in our region, which had been more aggressive than usual,” she noted.

This pathogen, first identified in Europe in the 1960s but only recently recognized for its virulence, has become a significant concern for potato farmers, is described by Dr. Banks as “a better tuber rotter” than the old strain.

In his upcoming talk titled “Management of Soft Rot Bacteria,” Frost will delve into critical issues such as tuber soft rot, blackleg, aerial stem rot, and Dickeya dianthicola. His insights are expected to provide invaluable strategies to mitigate the impact of these diseases on potato crops, offering hope and direction to growers facing these challenges.

Preparing the potato industry for future challenges

Participants looking forward to attending the conference are reminded that the deadline to take advantage of the early registration fee of $75.00 is fast approaching, ending on February 23. Organizers encourage interested individuals to register promptly to benefit from this offer.

The Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show is more than just a meeting of minds; it’s an opportunity for growth, learning, and preparing the potato industry for future challenges. With experts like Ken Frost on the roster, the event is poised to set new benchmarks in agricultural excellence and disease management.

In a significant development for Crop Advisors, the conference has received approval for Continuing Education Units (CEUs), adding further value to this educational event.

Online registration is available on the Ontario Potato Board website – click here to see the agenda and to register.

Source: Dr. Eugenia Banks, Ontario Potato Board
Photo: Kenneth Frost

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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