Pests and Diseases

Can buckwheat be the new top crop on the rotation block?

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers are encouraging farmers to buck the trend and use buckwheat as a triple threat crop. In addition to its high nutritional value, the fast growing crop is proving to be beneficial in suppressing pests such as wireworms in potatoes, and preventing soil diseases.

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2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

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Canada’s Alberta province officially declared PCN-free

A team effort led to Alberta being declared Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) free – improving trade prospects for potato producers, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in the province, Devin Dreeshen. He says: “Potatoes are a billion-dollar industry in Alberta. This announcement will help us re-claim market access and will lead to fewer restrictions as we pursue new markets.”

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The potato soft rot complex in the US is changing: Is this good news?

This past winter, two well known potato pathologists stated that the incidence of Dickeya dianthicola is declining in the U.S., writes Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board, in a recent article. Dr. Banks is of the opinion that additional novel and potentially high virulent soft rot species probably remain to be discovered, and this high level of diversity will hinder the development of tolerant potato varieties. “This is not good news!,” Dr. Banks says.

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High psyllid pressure expected for Washington state potatoes

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.

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‘Thievery’: First known gene transfer from plant to insect identified

A pernicious agricultural pest owes some of its success to a gene pilfered from its plant host millions of years ago. The research finding is the first known example of a natural gene transfer from a plant to an insect. It also explains one reason why the sweet potato whitefly Bemisia tabaci is so adept at munching on crops: the gene that it swiped from plants long ago enables it to neutralize a toxin that some plants produce to defend against insects.

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New pesticide names added to BCPC’s Online Pesticide Manual

The names for 14 new pesticide active ingredients have been approved by the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) and added to BCPC’s Online Pesticide Manual. The ISO’s Technical Committee of Common Names for Pesticides assign shorter, more distinctive, active ingredient names than their original chemical name for newly approved pesticides.

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Canadian researchers pursue anti-virulence strategy in fight against common scab, antibiotic resistant bacteria

In the ongoing war against antibiotic resistant bacteria, a change in battle tactics may prove effective for controlling common scab of potatoes and potentially other toxins that affect humans and animals, according to Canadian Light Source Inc. The approach that Dr. Rod Merrill at the University of Guelph and his research group are pursuing is an anti-virulence strategy – finding or designing small molecules that inhibit the tools bacteria use to colonize the host and create infection.

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New herbicide solution for Canadian potato growers

BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions (BASF) recently received registration for the label expansion of Zidua SC on potatoes. This label expansion adds to the use application of Zidua SC which includes providing activity on key annual grasses and broadleaf weeds for several crops. Zidua SC’s Group 15 chemistry delivers control of tough weeds, including resistant redroot pigweed, kochia, waterhemp, green and yellow foxtail with a wide window of application from early pre-seed to early post-emergence in multiple registered crops.

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UK Pesticide Guide 2021 now available

The UK Pesticide Guide is the authoritative reference for all pesticide products and adjuvants approved for use in agriculture, amenity, forestry and horticulture. It is a guide to pesticides, plant growth regulators and adjuvants that can be legally and effectively used in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, amenity and pest control sectors in the UK to support your crop protection decisions.

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Study: ‘Grower knowledge is central to improving PCN management’

It is widely accepted that potato cyst nematodes are a serious threat to the viability of potato production and yet despite efforts to promote better management practices the area of infested land continues to increase. There are many explanations for this trend in the UK, not least the lack of market acceptance to those varieties with good resistance, which is considered essential to reducing populations, but the dwindling supply of clean land is also a serious concern, according to an article by Bayer Crop Science in the UK.

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New ‘cutting-edge’ system predicts potato pest risk

A free cutting-edge system from Washington State University gives Northwest potato growers site-specific information about insect activity in their fields. The new potato decision aid system parallels WSU’s existing system for tree fruit, said Dave Crowder, associate professor of entomology and interim director of WSU’s Decision Aid System program.

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Researchers review the spread of late blight across Asia over a century and a half

Researchers Sanjoy Guha Roy, Tanmoy Dey, David E. L. Cooke and Louise R. Cooke recently published this review in the journal Plant Pathology. In a news article for the The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) the research team writes they have scoured the literature to report on the dynamics of Phytophthora infestans (1870-2020) that has shadowed the expansion of potato cropping.

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Climate change study predicts 70% increase of late blight in east Scotland in future

A new study by the Met Office in the UK gives examples of how two of the UK’s most important farming sectors are likely to be impacted by climate change. The study examines the effect of climate change on the dairy and potato farming sectors over the next thirty to fifty years. In the future climate the authors concluded that late blight is likely to occur more often across the UK, with the greatest increases in western and northern regions.

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Webinar – ‘Late Blight: 175 years of experience. What have we learned? An update’

This webinar will be hosted by World Potato Congress Inc, and presented by Albert Schirring of Bayer AG on March 31, 2021 at 09:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. During his presentation, Albert Schirring will discuss the key principles of robust late blight management strategies. He will also focus on the global population dynamics of the late blight pathogen to improve fungicide resistance management strategies.

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Webinar now online: ‘Fighting back against late blight’

Spud Smart magazine in Canada recently hosted its latest Spud Smart Innovation webinar, which was brought to you by the Canadian Potato Council. Across Canada, a group of researchers are working, as part of a national research cluster, to develop a strategy to fight back against this costly potato disease.

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Canadian researcher identifying genes related to potato scabbing

A Prince Edward Island.-based researcher in Canada is unlocking the genetic make-up of potatoes in an effort to develop a variety that is resistant to common scab disease. Bourlaye Fofana, PhD, a molecular biologist and research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrington Research Farm, recently completed comparative gene expression profiling between two types of potatoes – Green Mountain, which[Read More…]

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On-farm trials in New Zealand target potato tuber moth

Two Pukekawa trials in New Zealand are showing some early promise for potato growers when it comes to greater control of the potato tuber moth. Pukekohe company Inta-Ag has been running a trial on a potato grower’s land at Pukekawa using straw mulch to see what effect it can have on PTM.

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EuroBlight network to host online technical meetings in March and April

The EuroBlight network announced recently that it will organise four subgroup meetings and one online workshop in March and April this year to replace the physical workshop originally planned for May, 2021. EuroBlight offers 5 minute presentations and 1 minute “elevator talks” about your work. If you want to present then please indicate the title of your presentation when registering.

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Scottish Government working group outlines plan to combat the plague of PCN

New research to tackle the growing scourge of Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) has been identified by a specialist Scottish Government working group. As Nancy Nicolson reports in The Courier, group member Professor Ian Toth of the James Hutton Institute told a meeting of the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) yesterday that an initial research programme costing £2.3m could begin within the next five years if funding is found.

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Virtual seminar on varieties, fungicide programs now available online

Last week Miller Research in Idaho hosted another of its online potato seminars. Dr Miller offered a virtual tour of Miller Research’s 2020 variety trial , showing the relative susceptibility of common russet cultivars to early blight/brown spot and white mold. He also discussed the strengths of different fungicide programs.

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Potato pathologist discusses the emergence and prevalence of potato mop top virus

In a recent presentation, Dr. Julie Pasche, potato pathologist at North Dakota State University (NDSU), discusses the emergence and prevalence of potato mop top virus (PMTV). Dr. Pasche says in her presentation that potato mop top virus is present in many potato growing countries around the world. Studies that were conducted in the US and Canada looked at about three thousand seed lots and found that approximately four percent of them were positive for PMTV.

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