Pests and Diseases

Why you should plan early for successful potato late blight control

It is of course already well known that blight is a constant threat and significant cost to potato growers. To offset blight, British potato growers should put plans in place as early as possible with their Basis agronomist to ensure a proactive approach is taken to prevent the disease, according to a report published by the Newsroom at Farming Life. In order to achieve putting less pressure on fungicides it is important that good Integrated Pest Management principles are applied for blight control. The most important thing when spraying to prevent blight is to start your programme early.

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Idaho spore-sampling network features upgrades

Brad Carlson of Capital Press reports that a spore-sampling network designed to detect airborne diseases before they impact southern Idaho crops has been enhanced this year, its third in operation. Faster detection and reporting, and the ability to find more types of disease that could threaten potatoes and other crops, are among the benefits.

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Podcast: Fungi destroy $60 billion worth of food each year. Are natural biopesticides the answer?

Food waste plagues both farmers and consumers. Americans throw out much of what we buy at the grocery store—roughly 133 billion pounds of food each year, or $161 billion worth, according to the USDA. On this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies by the Genetic Literacy Project, Jamie Bacher, molecular biologist and co-founder of biotech startup Boost Biomes, joins GLP editor Cameron English to discuss his company’s novel approach to battling pests and promoting sustainable agriculture.

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Flexible drift retardant designed for use with potato blight fungicides said to reduce drift and maximise coverage

A flexible drift retardant, specifically designed for use with blight fungicides, could play an important role in keeping potatoes disease free this spring, according to adjuvant and biostimulant experts, Interagro. Developed to help tackle the practical problems growers face, Crusade – from Interagro – is a flexible drift retardant specifically designed for use with all potato blight fungicides.

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Unique robot helps HZPC in the fight against diseases

HZPC is employing the services of a specialised robot in its fight against potato diseases and viruses within its breeding programme. In combination with marker technology, this supports the quicker development of resistant potato varieties so that lower levels of pesticides are required and crop losses are kept to a minimum. According to the Dutch potato company, disease resistant varieties are an important step towards worldwide food security and sustainable potato growing.

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Better potatoes post-harvest: Identifying diseases and engaging good management techniques

When the storage doors open and farmers look at their cured potatoes, they are hoping for high-quality spuds that will garner a fair price. Unfortunately, potatoes can be sneaky. Some don’t reveal problems until harvest, or worse, when they are already in storage. Determining which disease is present allows for better management and application of appropriate controls. However, treatments in potatoes vary and there are no silver bullets. Potato diseases work together to exacerbate each other, and pests help to increase disease risk.

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Canada: Prince Edward Island potato industry wants tomato growers to be ‘good neighbours’

Prince Edward Island’s Department of Agriculture has begun an education campaign to make sure gardeners understand the importance of growing blight-resistant varieties of tomatoes this spring. In 2015, there was a similar education campaign after a new aggressive strain of late blight devastated tomato crops the summer before. The strain, called US 23, primarily attacks tomatoes. But it’s also a concern for the province’s billion-dollar potato industry.

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Leading the battle against nematodes

New weapons in the battle against the pale cyst nematode — a major potato pest that has cost US farmers millions of dollars since it was found in southeast Idaho in 2006 — include an effective bio-fumigant and a surprisingly efficient “trap crop.” Researchers are also making progress in developing PCN-resistant potato varieties. “Understanding the biology allows us to target the weak point in the life cycle,” said University of Idaho Associate Professor Louise-Marie Dandurand, project director of the Globodera Alliance.

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A robust blight strategy more essential than ever as new blight strains continue to evolve

Control strategies for late blight are constantly developing as the pathogen causing the disease evolves and the available blight chemistry changes, either due to regulation or efficacy shifts due to fungicide resistance, according to independent agronomy company Farmacy Plc in the UK. Overcoming issues such as these is a key part of the Hutchinsons’ blight trials, first set up in 1997. The trial is managed specifically to test products individually under higher blight pressure than might otherwise be found in the field.

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Potato growers advised to mind spray drift and effective coverage to prevent blight infection

Keeping late blight out of potatoes is a season long campaign for growers and one that seems to be getting tougher as the years go by, with seven day spray intervals now standard practice, say crop specialists at UK based adjuvant supplier, Interagro. They point out that with resistance to fluazinam now established in the blight populations and a continuing shift towards more aggressive P. infestans populations, such as 36­_A2 and 37_A2, a robust resistance management strategy is essential to safeguard crops and chemistry.

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New blight strain threat: Late blight control strategies will have to change in Britain this season

Late Blight control strategies in the United Kingdom will have to change this season if potato growers are to combat the spread of a new aggressive, fungicide-insensitive/ resistant strain of the disease, leading agronomy firm Hutchinsons says. The dark green 37_A2 form of Phytopthora infestans has quickly spread across Europe, reaching England two years ago when five cases were reported. The new strain is at least, if not more, aggressive than the dominant blue 13 and pink 6, but the crucial difference is that it appears equally aggressive on foliar and tuber blight.

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New British-made camera detects crop disease quickly

A new camera that will detect crop disease quickly and at a significantly lower cost has been developed by British researchers. The technology could potentially save farmers worldwide thousands of pounds in lost produce, while increasing crop yields. The camera will cost less than £1,000 – about a tenth of the cost of the crop cameras currently on the market.

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GroPro provides a biological crop protection solution for control of nematodes in potatoes

While the usage of many chemical crop protection products to control nematodes on potato are getting more prohibitive for numerous reasons, many farmers are turning to biological products because they are usually proven to be safe, efficient and economical to use. US based GroPro has a proven track record of delivering natural and organic products. One of GROPRO’s flagship products is Vigilance Nematicide, the companies’ answer to farmers’ need for effective and safe bio-based nematode control solutions, and yet still being able to attain high yields and good quality.

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Dry weather will require weed kill re-think for Scottish potato farmers

Managing weed control programmes in potatoes could be tricky this year, given the continued dry weather. Dry weather can hamper the activity of residual herbicides, while a lack of soil moisture will also slow the emergence of many key problem weeds until later in the season. However, some of the sneakier ones may grow from depth earlier, unimpeded by a dry and disrupted herbicide layer. This means growers are going to have to choose a robust post-emergence herbicide to tackle weeds when they emerge, said Craig Chisholm, field technical manager for Corteva Agriscience.

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More woes for Kenian farmers as potato crop attacked by blight disease

Potato farmers in the North Rift in Kenya are staring at heavy losses following the ongoing heavy rains. The crops had been attacked by blight, which has been made worse by the rains. Peter Muga from Kanjo area in Mau Narok is among farmers counting losses after the crop was attacked by the fungal disease. He is using chemicals he bought to contain the disease. He is worried because potato farming is his main economic activity. He sprays the crop weekly at a cost of between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000.

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Syngenta develops new nematicide and fungicide technology platform

Syngenta unveiled the new TYMIRIUM™ technology platform brand this week. In a press release, the company says it is a novel nematicide and fungicide technology under development for both seed- and soil-applied uses. Based on the active ingredient cyclobutrifluram, Syngenta says TYMIRIUM™ technology provides long-lasting protection against a broad spectrum of nematode pests and diseases across all major crops and geographies.

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Bayer launches new insecticide for Canadian potato growers

Bayer announced the registration of the active ingredient, tetraniliprole, which will be launched commercially in the registered end use product Vayego insecticide. For potato growers, the insecticide can be used to control Colorado potato beetles, potato flea beetles and European corn borer.

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CIP mapping potato diseases in Africa: Bacterial wilt present in 73% ware potato farms and 50% seed potato farms in Uganda

Bacterial wilt is widespread in Uganda, limiting yields and degrading seed quality. But little is known about the extent of the disease. CIP conducted a nationwide survey to chart the prevalence and spread of bacterial wilt in Uganda, as well as the type of pathogens present. Bacterial wilt was found to be present in 73% of ware potato farms and 50% of seed potato farms.

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What lies beneath: WSU team studies three-way interaction between potatoes, powdery scab, and mop top virus

A team of Washington State University scientists are taking on a destructive complex of diseases affecting valuable potato crops. Over the last few years Washington’s potato industry has encountered a new threat: Potato mop top virus, a pathogen that lives in soil and attacks the tuber, darkening the flesh and making potatoes unsellable. Mop top is spread by a protist, a fungus-like microorganism, that causes a disease called powdery scab which blemishes valuable tubers as it infects neighboring plants.

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Potato late blight in Europe

Didier Andrivon from INRA delves into the disease that once killed 1.5 million individuals in Ireland: Potato late blight, also known as Phytophthora Infestans It would be easy to think that a disease peaking over one hundred years ago is no longer a problem, but potato late blight continues to evolve and emerge in new places – similarly to the insidious reach of[Read More…]

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BlightCast now live and running for the 2020 potato season in the UK

Syngenta’s BlightCast tool is now live and running for the 2020 season, to give British potato growers and agronomists a clear picture of impending blight pressure and risks – in time to make active application decisions. “BlightCast showed the first Hutton Criteria hits for the site were on the 16th August, but no Smith Periods were triggered until 24th August; in that time the visual assessment of blight inoculated trials went from virtually nothing detectable to widespread infection,” says Syngenta potato specialist, Rob Farrow.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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