Pests and Diseases

PAA Symposium: Data, monitoring help fight potato pests worldwide

Early detection and reporting often help keep potato pests in check even if regulators ultimately don’t order eradications and field quarantines as a result. Field data are the lifeblood of so-far successful efforts to isolate and remove major yield-reducing pests in Idaho, New York and various countries, speakers at a July 23 Potato Association of America symposium in Boise said. Idaho potato[Read[Read More…]

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US: Helpful tips on scouting potato fields for insect pests

According to Carrie Huffman Wohleb, “the insect monitoring network in potato fields I operate across Washington’s Columbia Basin provides growers information about where and when insect pests are showing up in the region and warns them about potential pest problems. It’s not intended to replace a grower’s scouting activities but is a guide for what to look for. Similar programs are found[Read[Read More…]

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Published: New bulletin on powdery scab of potatoes

Potato specialists at the University of North Dakato (NDSU) and the University of Minnesota recently published a bulletin in which they discuss several aspects related to the incidence and management of powdery scab of potatoes. According to Andrew Robinson, Neil Gudmestad and Francisco Bittara, the management of diseases caused by S. subterranea, the causal agent of powdery scab and root gall formation in potato,[Read[Read More…]

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New biopesticide and fungicide unveiled at Biocontrols USA West

Seipasa, a company specializing in the formulation, development, and marketing of botanical-based solutions (biopesticides, biostimulants, and fertilizers), debuted the new biopesticide, Seican, in the U.S. at the BiocontrolsSM USA West Conference, where the latest trends concerning biological pest control were unveiled. Seican is a new fungicide and insecticide for pest control and diseases. Developed from an exclusive formulation of botanical-based substances, Seican provides a powerful[Read[Read More…]

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Pesticide ban looming in the EU: Will diquat, thiram and pymetrozine be lost early 2019?

According to a news item published by the National Farmers Union (NFU) in the UK, the pesticides diquat, thiram and pymetrozine look set to be lost as a vote on pesticides legislation in a Brussel’s Appeal Committee last week delivered a ‘no opinion’ position. Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU Senior Regulatory Affairs Adviser, said: “It is expected that within the next[Read[Read More…]

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The mustard cure: Potato growers fight potato pests and boost yields with mustard crop

Potato growers in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) say they’ve planted more mustard than ever in 2018. They’re finding the bright yellow crop does more than fight wireworms — it also gives them a nice bump in potato yields in fields where mustard was planted first. “We have a bit of a problem with wireworm out in this area, as do a lot of areas,[Read[Read More…]

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Syngenta develops RNA-based biocontrols for crop improvement

Syngenta is developing a new line of biocontrols based on RNA. The biocontrol can be designed to be very selective so that it only affects the target pest(s). So when it is sprayed onto the plant the biocontrol targets a crop pest such as the Colorado Potato Beetle, which can destroy entire crops; our initial data indicate that beneficial insects[Read[Read More…]

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Ways to reduce the impact of black scurf on potatoes

Rhizoctonia solani causes a number of common disease symptoms found in potato crops including black scurf, leading to skin disfiguration, stunted plants and restricted stem and plant growth. Syngenta Technical Services Lead Dave Antrobus in Australia examines the best management practices potato growers can undertake to minimise the damage caused by this disease. Writing in the latest issue of Potatoes Australia, he[Read[Read More…]

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Researchers tease out the reason for late blight pathogen’s ability to evade immunity in potatoes

In a paper recently published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, an international team of scientists describes how evasion of host immunity by a clonal variant of the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans is associated with variation in gene expression without any apparent underlying genetic changes. According to senior authors of the study, Vivianne G.A.A. Vleeshouwers, Hannele Lindqvist-Kreuze and Sophien Kamoun, They studied two different races[Read[Read More…]

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Spray focus: Application methods the hot topics at SPot West field day

The first field walk of SPot West’s 2018 programme organized by AHDB Potatoes in the UK focussed on chemical control of PCN and Rhizoctonia as growers and agronomists met at Heal Farms, Shropshire to hear the latest developments on local research. Dr Matthew Back of Harper Adams University presented his research, which has shown that PCN attack helps attract the Rhizoctonia[Read[Read More…]

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Australian experts underscore importance of certified potato seed for black leg disease control

Around the world, blackleg of potato is caused by several species of bacteria that can be carried and transmitted through seed tubers. Potatoes Australia spoke to Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Dr Rachel Mann and ViCSPA General Manager Dr Nigel Crump about the identification and management of the blackleg disease. The main causal agent of blackleg in Australia is Pectobacterium atrosepticum although another bacterium known as[Read[Read More…]

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Making good better: British scientists boost popular potato variety’s blight resistance

Professor Jonathan Jones from The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, England is investigating ways that Maris Piper potatoes can be genetically modified to develop late blight resistance. According to Professor Jones, genetic modification has real potential to offer growers agronomic benefits, particularly in terms of developing late blight resistance. Against a background of aggressive potato late blight strains, combined with increasing[Read[Read More…]

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Popular potato variety in Uganda getting a GMO makeover

Victoria is a popular local potato variety in Uganda. Farmers love it because it is high yielding. However, Victoria is also extremely susceptible to potato late blight disease. With each growing season, these farmers face a threat of 60 to 100 percent yield losses due to Late Blight. Climate related risks have worsened the situation leading to increasingly food insecure households. However,[Read[Read More…]

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Trade spat: Mexican judge bars US potato imports into Mexico

Mexico Daily News reported minutes ago that a federal judge has barred the import of fresh potatoes from the United States today on national security and bio-security grounds. The decision, made by José Francisco Pérez Mier of the Seventh District Court in Los Mochis, Sinaloa — a potato-producing state, overturned a 2016 decision adopted by the Secretariat of Agriculture (Sagarpa) to[Read[Read More…]

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CPB alert: Jersey under threat of invasion by Colorado potato beetle pest, govt warns

Weather conditions for the next four days could enable an invasive insect with the potential to wipe out Jersey’s potato industry to reach the Island’s shores, the Environment Department has warned. The Colorado potato beetle is not established in the Island or the UK but it is prevalent in Normandy, which at its closest point is just 14 miles from Jersey. If[Read[Read More…]

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How fungicide data is helping to combat new potato blight strain

Fungicide use data in the UK reveal that potato growers have already adapted their strategies to manage a new resistant strain of blight, although more needs to be done to combat the threat of tuber blight and further resistance developing in 2018. A strain of the most costly disease of potatoes, Dark Green EU37_A2, has spread to the UK since being[Read[Read More…]

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Mancozeb ruling: Good news for Canadian potato growers

On June 21, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced that the fungicide mancozeb will no longer be allowed in horticultural crops except for foliar use in potatoes.  A maximum of 10 applications per year will be allowed on potatoes with seven-day application intervals. That’s a relief for potato growers protecting their crops from late blight, but little solace for[Read[Read More…]

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Spotting airborne foes: Novel spore trap designed to detect and identify key crop pathogens

An automated spore trap has been developed by researchers and industry partners in the UK which is said to have to potential to “revolutionise disease monitoring in agricultural crops.” The device, which was developed as part of an AHDB project led by Rothamsted Research, provides near real-time information on the presence of airborne spores and could potentially help farmers target[Read[Read More…]

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Hutton hits indicate blight risk is building in Britain

Potato crops in Britain are under increasing blight pressure, with repeated hits of Hutton Criteria that indicate infection risks. The Hutton Criteria has now largely replaced conventional Smith periods, since blight outbreaks were still occurring even when a Smith Period had not been triggered, reports Syngenta eastern counties potato specialist, David Wilson. “This season BlightCast disease risk forecasting has already repeatedly triggered[Read[Read More…]

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Research in action: PCN advisory tool under scrutiny

Four potato varieties not known to be resistant to white potato cyst nematode (Globodera pallida) have given much better yields than eight others in the first year of a two-season SARIC-funded research project in the UK. The latest work aims to improve AHDB’s potato cyst nematode population advisory tool (potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/online-toolbox/pcn-calculator), explains Matthew Back, of Harper Adams University. “We’re working with the University[Read[Read More…]

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Plant disease diagnostic company expands into the US

Pocket Diagnostic® announces the addition of another distributor of its plant disease rapid tests in the United States. Potadaho Seed Services (“Potadaho”) joins the Pocket Diagnostic distributor network having amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the potato industry in the Pacific Northwest over many years. UK based Pocket Diagnostic plant disease tests have been benefiting the potato,[Read[Read More…]

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Western Australia releases latest update on presence of tomato potato psyllid

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia (DPIRD WA) has released the latest industry update on the presence of the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) in the state. This update, which is available in English or Vietnamese, contains information on a range of related areas, including the wind-up of the transition to management phase for the response, a snapshot of results from[Read[Read More…]

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Chasing after psyllids: Tasmanian tomato potato psyllid research used across Australia

Tomato potato psyllid is considered a serious threat to Tasmania’s potato, tomato and capsicum crops, with research conducted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture used to manage the pest around the country. Tasmanian researchers have conducted a tomato potato psyllid surveillance program in commercial potato crops since 2011. The project, which is funded by North-West Tasmania potato processors Simplot, McCain and Smiths as well as Horticulture[Read[Read More…]

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Blight programmes in sharp focus as British growers attempt to unlock yield potential

CPM finds out why potato experts are advocating robust blight programmes after challenging spring planting conditions. Later harvests in some key growing areas are being planned and every effort will be needed to maintain green leaf area to maximise yields where inclement weather delayed planting. At the time of writing it is estimated that as much as 10% of the UK crop is[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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