Pests and Diseases

Biotech Opinion: ‘Trust, Critical Thinking, and Potatoes’

This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”

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Partnership on track to give Bangladeshi and Indonesian farmers blight-resistant GMO potatoes

Researchers will be testing genetically modified potatoes in Bangladesh and Indonesia this year in hopes of providing farmers with an alternative to spraying fungicides. Multiple confined field trials of GM late blight-resistant (LBR) potatoes will be conducted in both countries under a Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. Late blight disease is a serious problem in both countries, destroying 25 to 57 percent of the crop.

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AAFC scientist honoured as one of 2022’s Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture

AAFC scientist, Dr. Christine Noronha has been named one of seven 2022 Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture by Annex Business Media. It’s because of Dr. Noronha that an important invention for farmers in the fight against pesky wireworms, a common potato plant predator, bears her name. The NELT™ or Noronha Elaterid Light Trap designed by Dr. Noronha in 2016 is a major breakthrough for the industry. She discovered the world’s first planted-based approach to controlling wireworms.

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New ‘3D ninety’ nozzles give better all-round blight protection

British potato growers should switch to new Syngenta 3D ninety nozzles to ensure more timely blight applications this season – and achieve the best possible results, advocates the company’s application specialist, Harry Fordham. The 90% drift reduction nozzles create the optimum droplet spectrum for coverage throughout the crop canopy, including lower leaves and stems where micro-climate conditions can be particularly humid and conducive to blight infection.

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Stress factors could increase risk of early blight

Stress factors set to hit potato crops over the coming weeks could increase the risk of Alternaria (early blight) outbreaks, warns Syngenta Technical Manager in the UK, Andy Cunningham. Many British crops are still suffering the adverse effects of exceptionally low rainfall this spring, while the hugely inflated cost of fertiliser has seen potato growers cut back nutritional inputs to the bare minimum.

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Potato emergence problems: Checklist of common factors that reduce seed emergence

At times, potato growers may experience poor emergence of potato plants. There are number of reasons why potato plants may not emerge properly. Potato specialists Andy Robinson, Eugenia Banks and Steven B. Johnson have compiled a list of common problems that can cause poor potato emergence and stand. Utilizing this list can help growers more rapidly identify the cause and improve management of the crop and subsequent crops.

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How to stop Colorado potato beetles from sacking your spuds

Colorado potato beetle (CPB) populations have an amazing ability to develop resistance to insecticides — including many of the carbamate, organophosphate, pyrethroid, spinosyn, and neonicotinoid insecticides that are used today, writes Carrie Huffman Wohleb in this article. In essence, she says, these beetles are pre-equipped to deal with toxins. It may take only small changes to confer resistance to new toxins.

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Thwarting the wart: University of Prince Edward Island study seeks wart-resistant potato variety

Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island are beginning their search for a potato variety more resistant to potato wart following a provincial economic loss of 300 million pounds of potatoes. Xiuquan (Xander) Wang, a UPEI associate professor working on the project, said the funding from Genome Atlantic will go toward comparing the genes of different potato varieties.

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‘Nose Knows Scouting’ uses trained dogs to sniff out Potato Virus Y

Good news: the newest ‘high-tech tool’ for diagnosing crop disease is also man’s best friend — a friendly dog. Specifically, it’s a crew of five dogs trained by Andrea Parish of Dayton, Wyoming, owner of “Nose Knows Scouting.” Parish and one of her dogs, Zora, flew into Fargo, North Dakota, so that Zora could sniff her way through the North Dakota State University potato seed development program, looking for Potato Virus Y (PVY).

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EuroBlight reports on results of the 2021 European potato late blight monitoring

EuroBlight, a late blight monitoring network for Europe, is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen. Euroblight has now released a report detailing the results of the 2021 monitoring activities. Approximately 2500 samples from 26 countries were genotyped. According to the report, blight pressure in 2021 was higher than average across many parts of Europe.

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How potato variety choice helps with nematode management

The significant threat posed by potato cyst nematode (PCN) in many potato-growing areas is making variety choice a key component of a sustainable production system. As Louise Impey reports for Farmers Weekly in the UK, with nematicides facing an uncertain future, varieties that offer both resistance and tolerance to the dominant nematode species, Globodera pallida, are becoming part of the solution.

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Soft rot in potatoes: Ten planting practices to reduce seed piece decay

“The soft rot bacterium that causes seed piece decay is very common, and it has an extensive host range. It survives in soil and surface waters. Soft rot in potatoes is caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum,” says Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board in Canada.

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Bayer launches ‘GeoPotato’, a new geodata-driven early warning system for late blight in potatoes

Powered by satellite data and powerful analysis models, ‘GeoPotato’ is designed to enable preventive spraying, easier crop protection decisions, and improved farmer incomes. GeoPotato was launched by Bayer as a geodata-driven early warning system for late blight in potatoes, and has entered a full commercial roll-out in Bangladesh. It could potentially reach as many as 1 million smallholder farmers in the coming years.

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Spud-tastic: New lab grows University of Idaho seed potato program

The health and success of Idaho’s staple crop is receiving renewed support with the launch of the new University of Idaho Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory. As Emily Pearce reports for Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the $5.6 million lab opened its doors to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, complete with potato-themed desserts and guided tours of the new space.

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NPC ‘dismayed’ that USDA is allowing PEI table stock potatoes to resume shipments to the U.S.

The National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. today released a statement in response to USDA’s announcement that trade in table stock potatoes would resume between Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, and the United States. “We are dismayed to learn that USDA is allowing PEI table stock potatoes to resume shipments to the U.S. prior to completing soil tests for the destructive potato wart disease,” NPC says.

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USDA: Prince Edward Island table stock potato imports to resume into the United States

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that Canada is expected to soon resume exporting Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the contiguous United States. USDA says as a result of the U.S. and Canada reaching an understanding about the risk of table stock potato imports from PEI, Canada will lift its ban while APHIS plans to publish a federal order outlining additional required mitigations to protect the U.S. potato industry.

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Webinar on foliar diseases on potatoes

On March 29, Jeff Miller from Miller Research in Idaho will present a free webinar on “Field Identification of Common Foliar Diseases of Potatoes”. This webinar is organized in collaboration with the Ontario Potato Board. It starts at 11:00 a.m. and finishes at 11:45 a.m. ET.

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Wireworm in potatoes is worsening – how growers can tackle it

Evidence suggests that wireworm damage in potatoes has been getting more severe and widespread and, in some cases, has led to British growers losing £100,000s in revenue. This worsening problem has prompted plenty of research activity to try to find solutions for growers looking to protect their investment

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Price pressures: Sums add up for potato weed control

Greater use of natural regeneration breaks and cover crops in arable rotations means the weed seed burden of some of the more troublesome weeds for potatoes are on the increase in the UK. Potato growers feeling the pinch of price pressures this spring could look at simplifying herbicide mixes for more cost-effective pre-emergence options, advocates Syngenta Technical Manager, Andy Cunningham.

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Crop specialists: This ‘cool pest prediction tool’ comes in handy for potato growers

A weather-based decision support system that originated 15 years ago in the tree fruit orchards of Washington state has branched into the region’s potato fields. The Pacific Northwest Potato Decision Aid System (DAS) collects regional weather inputs and combines that with research-based data on local pest populations. It then alerts growers to when different insect populations may be active.

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Potato ban: Almost 70 per cent of Prince Edward Island potato farmers destroyed crops

Across Canada’s Prince Edward Island province in Canada, around 300 million pounds of potatoes have been destroyed by farmers due to the border troubles between Canada and the U.S. The chair of the P.E.I. potato board, JohnVisser’s farm is one of 130 farms that has applied under a federal government program that provides financial assistance for the costs associated with destroying them while the ground is still frozen.

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U.S. expected to make decision on potato wart issue by March 10

The Prince Edward Island potato industry in Canada has its fingers crossed for good news before the end of this week. Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau indicated in a number of media interviews in early March she was expecting an answer from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on when Island potatoes could once again flow south by March 10, according to a report by Andy Walker.

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