Pests and Diseases

NAPSO survey highlights key challenges and focus areas for the potato storage industry

The North America Potato Storage Organization (NAPSO) conducted a survey among potato professionals to identify key storage challenges, including disease management, logistics, and staffing. Findings will shape future initiatives and summits, addressing priorities like best practices and new technologies. The results will guide discussions at the upcoming PAA annual conference. Participants can attend the meeting in person or via a live stream, with details available on NAPSO’s website.

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Unlocking solutions: Final PCN Open Day set to showcase cutting-edge research and innovations

The final PCN Open Day by PCN Action Scotland is scheduled for August 7th, 2024, at Barnyards Farm, Tannadice, Angus. The event, essential for addressing potato cyst nematodes (PCN), includes sessions on potato variety resistance trials, oil radish trials, decision support updates, policy discussions with SASA, and live sprayer demonstrations. Two identical sessions will run from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM.

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CPRI issues advisory as late blight disease threatens potato crops across India

The Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) has issued a warning to potato farmers about a high risk of late blight disease due to changing weather conditions, as reported by Gaurav Bisht of the Hindustan Times. Institute director Brajesh Singh emphasized the importance of timely management and advised the immediate spraying of fungicide on susceptible crops to prevent significant damage.

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Albert Bartlett and Fera Science launch innovative monitoring scheme to combat aphid-borne viruses in UK seed potatoes

Albert Bartlett, a leading UK potato supplier, has partnered with Fera Science Ltd to monitor and control aphid populations in Scotland’s seed potato crops, addressing increased viral infections due to milder winters. Forty-five growers have joined the 2024 aphid monitoring scheme, receiving weekly updates on aphid types and virus risk. This initiative aims to protect the health of potato seeds for future crops.

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Wireworms in potatoes: Innovative biocontrol approach for effective control with beneficial nematodes

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles, significantly threaten potato production by feeding on underground plant parts, causing damage that reduces crop quality and marketability. Most conventional soil insecticides are banned or ineffective, but Koppert offers a biocontrol solution using beneficial nematodes, Casea and Capyphor, which reduce tuber damage by up to 30%, thus increasing yields and revenue for potato growers.

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Urgent late blight alert: Ontario potato growers urged to act now to protect crops

Dr. Eugenia Banks of the Ontario Potato Board has alerted growers to late blight in a potato field in Alliston. She recommends immediate field scouting and fungicide application due to ideal weather conditions for the disease’s spread. Following last year’s severe outbreak, growers are urged to adopt proactive measures, including frequent spraying and optimal post-harvest management, to protect crops and prevent another epidemic.

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Unraveling the origin and global spread of the potato blight pathogen

Researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute have challenged the theory that the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans originated in Mexico. They discovered it likely arose in the South American Andes, then spread globally, impacting potato crops. Using genotypic data from 1,706 isolates, they traced its migration to Peru, Colombia, and beyond. Understanding these migration patterns is vital for improving disease control and enhancing global food security.

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Farmer Focus: Are we heading to a potato blight Armageddon?

Richard Orr reports on a meeting discussing the severe potato blight affecting the UK and EU. The session emphasized the seriousness, likening it to a potential potato famine if growers aren’t vigilant. Key advice included avoiding single active ingredients, sticking to seven-day spray windows, and spacing tramline beds to minimize leaf damage. Limited use of actives, like mancozeb, complicates disease management strategies.

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Bayer looks to AI to combat herbicide resistance faster

Bayer’s crop science division is leveraging artificial intelligence to combat herbicide-resistant weeds, seeking new modes of action to assist farmers. Their Icafolin product, launching in Brazil in 2028, will be the first in 30 years. AI accelerates this discovery by matching weed protein structures with targeting molecules, utilizing vast data. This has tripled new mode discoveries compared to a decade ago.

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Tech against moths: “Attract-and-kill” technology to safeguard potato crops

Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are combating the destructive Guatemalan potato moth, Tecia solanivora, which has plagued potato farmers in Tenerife since 1999. Using innovative techniques like “Attract-and-Kill” technology and the ILCYM Predictor, they aim to protect potato crops from severe economic impacts. These methods lure moths with pheromones and forecast pest behavior, ensuring effective pest management and agricultural sustainability.

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CFIA launches public consultation on draft National Potato Wart Response Plan

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has launched a 60-day public consultation for feedback on a draft of the National Potato Wart Response Plan, aiming to enhance existing protocols for managing potato wart. This plan builds on previous consultations and expert recommendations. Feedback is sought from various stakeholders, with key focus areas including resistant potato varieties, increased soil analysis, and equipment cleanliness. Detailed information is available on the CFIA website.

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Teagasc issues ‘red alert’ potato blight warning for Ireland

Teagasc advises Irish potato growers to immediately reassess their blight spraying methods due to emerging resistant blight populations in Ireland and Europe. Dr. Steven Kildea announced that traditional block spraying is obsolete and recommends mixing different blight chemistries and rotating them. He emphasized the accelerated evolution of blight resistance and suggested integrated pest control measures, like avoiding planting in high-risk areas, for better crop management.

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Aussie potato growers first in world to access new fungicide to fight soil borne disease black scurf

Australian potato farmers are first globally to access Excalia, a new fungicide developed by Sumitomo Chemical Australia to combat Rhizoctonia solani. Launched in Melbourne, Excalia will be showcased at the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide. Sumitomo’s marketing manager Jock Leys highlighted its success in trials, improving yield and return on investment. The collaboration with Elders aims to ensure smooth distribution. Sumitomo will also introduce biostimulant products at the event.

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EU potato sector confronts late blight threat: Copa-Cogeca unveils comprehensive action plan

Europe’s leading farming organizations, Copa and Cogeca, are raising concerns about the re-emergence of potato late blight, a serious threat to European potato production. They have proposed an action plan, supported by several other EU farming organizations, to address this issue, emphasizing the need for effective plant protection products, resistant varieties, and improved agricultural practices. The plan includes developing coordinated measures with various stakeholders and increasing awareness among EU institutions to ensure effective control strategies.

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Potato crop walks get underway in Ireland as blight cases emerge

Teagasc will host three potato crop walks this week to address emerging blight cases and the new EU43 blight strain in Ireland, beginning May 29 in Co. Meath. These events will provide growers with updated guidelines on blight control and strategies for the upcoming year. Shay Phelan emphasized the seriousness of the EU43 strain, which has posed significant challenges in Europe, necessitating robust new disease control programs.

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EWRN Workshop: Global experts unite to tackle wireworm challenges in potato production

The European Wireworm Research Network (EWRN) will host a workshop on July 7th at the Scandic Fornebu Hotel in Oslo, Norway, focusing on wireworm infestations in potato crops. Keynotes include experts discussing management, challenges, and risk assessment. Country updates and scientific posters will be presented, and participants will engage in collaborative discussions. This event aims to unite researchers and professionals in addressing wireworm issues.

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FMC’s Anthem Flex herbicide approved for use in potatoes

The EPA has recently approved a label expansion for Anthem Flex herbicide for use in potatoes. This approval allows growers to use the herbicide to control over 30 weed species, including pigweed and foxtail, with a longer residual effect. Anthem Flex is based on two effective active ingredients, providing extended control and reducing reliance on postemergent herbicides. This is significant as it supports easier, more consistent weed management for potato farmers.

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The fascinating intelligence of potato plants: Insights researchers are confirming, but farmers already know

The concept of plant intelligence is revolutionizing agriculture, highlighting potatoes’ ability to perceive and respond to environmental stimuli through complex biochemical processes. This intelligence allows potatoes to adapt, communicate, and solve problems, such as optimizing root systems and photosynthesis. Recognizing these abilities can advance farming techniques, making them more sustainable and productive. Recent studies underscore how potatoes utilize these capabilities for nutrient uptake, pathogen resistance, and overall survival, offering strategies for precision agriculture and sustainable farming practices.

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Fight Against Blight: James Hutton Institute secures funding to continue vital late blight monitoring and testing

The James Hutton Institute secures additional funding to continue its role in the Fight Against Blight (FAB) scheme, protecting Britain’s potato crops against late blight. Initiated in 2006, the scheme involves a network of FAB Scouts monitoring Phytophthora infestans across the UK. This project, vital for early detection and management of new resistant strains of blight, is supported by a consortium of industry leaders. Despite challenges like resistance and regulatory pressures, the collaborative effort aims for effective blight control and sustainable farming practices.

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Glyphosate under fire: Scientists struggle to find effective alternatives, experts warn of unintended consequences

Amid concerns about glyphosate, the most used herbicide globally, scientists struggle to find safe, effective alternatives, according to a Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) article by Andrew Porterfield and Jon Entine. Their analysis reveals exaggerated health concerns and underscores glyphosate’s proven safety. However, existing substitutes lack efficacy, increasing costs and environmental risks. The authors argue for a balanced, research-driven approach to replacing glyphosate.

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Potato emergence problems: A practical and detailed guide for growers

Potato growers struggling with poor plant emergence can benefit from a comprehensive guide created by esteemed North American specialists. This guide lists common issues, including bacterial/fungal diseases like soft rot and late blight, and physiological problems such as chilling injuries. It emphasizes the importance of using certified seeds, managing soil conditions, and handling seeds properly. Detailed descriptions, visual aids, and explanations are provided to aid in rapid problem identification and crop management improvement.

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Syngenta unveils Evagio Forte: The next-generation blight fungicide for 2024 with built in resistance management

Syngenta UK has launched Evagio Forte, a new blight fungicide for 2024, combining mandipropamid and amisulbrom to form an anti-resistance, high-efficacy product. Proven by trials to deliver superior control with lower active ingredient rates, it is integral for agronomists aiming to reduce fungicide use. Recommended for use from flowering to season’s end, it prevents spore germination and disease spread, aiding resistance management when alternated with other fungicides.

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Unlocking potato plant defenses: Calcium’s role in fighting bacterial wilt in potatoes

Researchers have found that calcium significantly boosts resistance in potatoes against bacterial wilt, a pathogen impacting global potato production with annual losses of $19 billion. The study demonstrates calcium’s potential as soil amendments to counter bacterial wilt. Researchers noted a correlation between calcium levels and disease resistance, suggesting new integrated disease management avenues with focus on calcium enrichment strategies. This could lead to advances in potato breeding and agricultural practices aimed at enhancing disease resistance.

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Syngenta unifies agronomy tools: Introducing myField app for streamlined potato crop management

Syngenta has integrated BlightCast and Quantis Heat Stress Alert into a single myField app, enhancing decision support for potato growers. This digital tool provides advanced warnings on disease and heat stress on a field-by-field basis, combining personalized weather and agronomy data. The app, replacing older web-based systems, offers detailed forecasts, visual risk indicators, and alert emails to optimize blight strategies and heat stress management.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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