Pests and Diseases

Black dot a particular scourge of fresh market potato crops in GB this season

Black dot has been a particular scourge of fresh market crops this season, according AHDB Potatoes in the UK. Delayed harvesting has encouraged disease spread, increasing the crop’s exposure to infected soil and high levels of moisture. Here’s a reminder of why the problem has been so widespread. Black dot is a disease caused by Colletotrichum coccodes. There is evidence that[Read[Read More…]

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Weed control goes digital: Advanced spot-spraying precision technology in development

Researchers are combining new digital tools, computer technologies and machine learning to bring cost-effective weed control solutions to the field. This weed control solution is being designed as an advanced spot-spraying precision technology that will help farmers reduce input costs and add another management tool to their integrated management systems. “We are developing a high-tech ground-based sensor technology as another cost-effective precision[Read[Read More…]

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Late sown potato crops could be vulnerable to blight

The potato blight season has got underway in Great Britain with blight found on dumps in Kent. While such reports are not unusual at this time of year, it is important to be aware of the infection risk posed by cull potato piles, volunteers and solanaceous weeds, says Dr David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute. “Last year we had very[Read[Read More…]

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Potato growers warned that new late blight strain requires fresh approach to control

Blight control strategies 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 in the UK 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. Around 20 cases were[Read[Read More…]

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Factsheet: Best management practices to minimize the spread of PVY

This factsheet is based on recent research done in Canada by Dr. Mathuresh Singh and his team in New Brunswick on PVY, which just concluded in March.  This research has been very successful in identifying which production practices are most associated with reducing the spread of PVY.  At the same time, PVY post-harvest test results in New Brunswick and Prince[Read[Read More…]

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British potato growers can now sign up for new BlightCast alert service

Potato farmers in the UK can now sign up for the new BlightCast service to receive advance warning of Blight in their area via a five-day email report. With the Syngenta BlightCast agronomy tool, potato growers and agronomists will be better prepared to cope with more aggressive blight strains this season. It includes two prediction models: one for conventional Smith[Read[Read More…]

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Canadian breeder brought botanical potato seed to China for variety now worth billions in benefits

In the mid 1980’s, potato breeder and grower Peter VanderZaag, based in Ontario, Canada brought the botanical seed of the Cooperation-88 (C88) potato variety to Yunnan province in China. The C88 variety developed from that seed eventually became one of the most important potato varieties in Asia and it ended up being grown on 1 million acres (200,000 ha) of[Read[Read More…]

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Late blight scare: Migrant European pathogen generated aggressive new variants in India, not yet found elsewhere globally

An international team of scientists from several countries including India, the UK and the US examined the population structure of the Phytophthora infestans pathogen that caused the 2013–14 late blight epidemic in eastern and northeastern India. Their findings were published online recently in the journal Nature.The data provide new baseline information for populations of P. infestans in India. It was found that a migrant European[Read[Read More…]

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EuroBlight report: New emerging blight clones continue rapid spread across Europe

EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2017 results. Almost 1500 samples were genotyped from 16 countries last growing season. In its latest report, EuroBlight concludes that three new clones (EU_36_A2, EU_37_A2 and EU_41) continue to spread in 2017 and are displacing other populations. Around 75%[Read[Read More…]

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Cornell potato virus Y Detection Training Workshops on again this year

Several newly evolved strains of the disease known as potato virus Y, or PVY, have emerged and are threatening the North American potato industry. These new strains can render potatoes unmarketable and reduce crop yield. What’s worse is the new viruses are particularly difficult to detect with the naked eye. Training workshops by Cornell College of Agriculture this year will[Read[Read More…]

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Drones show promise spotting PVY in potato fields

Donna Delparte, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Idaho State University (ISU) in Pocatello, is working on using an unmanned aerial vehicle to spot PVY infected plants in potato fields and to record their specific locations for later control measures. In short, she says the technology works, but while it’s getting closer to being ready for the market,[Read[Read More…]

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Why Potato Virus Y needs your attention

Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most common problems in potato fields, but few people know it when they see it. With plenty of other things to worry about, some growers may not consider PVY a serious threat and have not learned to recognize the symptoms. But this attitude is changing as more potato crops are impacted by[Read[Read More…]

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New nematicide e-learning course launched

The potato industry in the UK is being urged to take part in a free interactive e-learning course on best practice nematicide usage that has been launched by the NSP and ARTIS. With the cold and wet weather delaying planting and nematicide applications in some areas, now is the perfect time to refresh knowledge on responsible application. “The new online tool aims[Read[Read More…]

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New biofumigant crop mix: Turning up the heat on potato cyst nematode

A new summer-sown biofumigant plant mix that offers improved suppression of potato cyst nematode, compared with autumn-sown, overwintered varieties, is being launched this season by Agrovista in the UK. Summer Vindaloo is a mix of the hottest mustard varieties and very hot rocket, which grows quickly and develops powerful biofumigation activity within three months of sowing, says Shropshire-based agronomist Andrew Wade. The[Read[Read More…]

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Injury prone: What dicamba damage does to potatoes, and how to fight it

Plant injury from dicamba has been in the news for the past two years. In the potato world, there are always concerns of potato plants’ unintended exposure to herbicides. “We have been gathering data to determine what effect dicamba has on seed tubers and potato plants,” according to Andy Robinson, extension research potato agronomist with North Dakota State University and[Read[Read More…]

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US: Public invited to comment on proposed special potato pesticide registration

The public has until April 4 to comment on proposed special pesticide registration to help potato growers control early and late plant diseases and two fungal diseases in their crops, according to a Wednesday statement by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The proposed registration by the DATCP involves Bravo Ultrex, Bravo WeatherStick and Bravo Zn, which[Read[Read More…]

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Old foe on the attack: British growers warned against new, aggressive fungicide-resistant late blight strain

Potato growers in Britain are being warned to change their blight control strategies this season to combat the spread of an aggressive fungicide-resistant strain of the disease which has reached Suffolk. The dark green 37_A2 form of Phytopthora infestans has quickly spread across Europe, reaching England two years ago when five cases were reported. Around 20 cases were officially recorded in 2017,[Read[Read More…]

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Judge: US illegally quarantined some Idaho potato fields infested with PCN

A federal judge ruled that the U.S. government illegally quarantined some Idaho potato fields infested with pale cyst nematode (PCN), a microscopic pest that could threaten the state’s $1.2 billion potato industry, but he left the restrictions in place. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge said last week that lifting the rules could lead to quarantines across a state that produces a[Read[Read More…]

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Canadian potato growers encouraged to participate in Zebra Chip and psyllid monitoring project

The Zebra Chip and Potato Psyllid Survey and Monitoring project in Canada is to survey fields for populations of the potato psyllid, and test captured potato psyllids and symptomatic tubers for the presence of the pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso). It is coordinated by Dan Johnson, Larry Kawchuk, and Scott Meers. Zebra chip is a disease that severely disrupts carbohydrate flow[Read[Read More…]

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Far more toxic than glyphosate: Copper sulfate, used by organic and conventional farmers, cruises to European reauthorization

Recently, the European Union decided to reauthorize the fungicide copper sulfate, a popular pesticide among organic farmers that has a more toxic rap sheet than glyphosate. Copper sulfate is a widely used pesticide in organic farming but which also is used in some conventional applications, although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) considered toxicity risks[Read[Read More…]

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Biostimulants: ‘Feeding a plant additional amino acid acts like a vitamin drink’

There’s no denying that crop protection is becoming an increasing concern for arable growers. From glyphosate to neonicotinoids many crucial controls have come up against scrutiny lately, leaving farmers in the dark about what may or may not be available in the years to come – on top of the increasing threat of chemical resistance. As a result, there’s been growing[Read[Read More…]

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Idaho potato growers prevail in pale cyst nematode case

A U.S. District Court judge this week ruled the federal government did not follow its own rules and regulations in formulating its pale cyst nematode (PCN) eradication program, which has regulated thousands of acres of farmland in eastern Idaho since the devastating pest was discovered in 2006. While he did not vacate the program, he gave it temporary status. The summary judgment[Read[Read More…]

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Wireworms a growing concern for the Canadian potato industry

Wireworm populations appear to be on the rise in Western Canada. Wireworm, which is the larval stage of the adult click beetle, affects many crops, including cereals and pulses, but they are particularly damaging to potatoes. Holes created by wireworms can render tubers unmarketable and serve as points of entry for potato pathogens. Few chemical controls are available across Canada. Following the deregistration[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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