Pests and Diseases

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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Researchers developed organic technology from banana plant waste to combat PCN in East Africa

Potato production in East Africa is under increasing threat from the invasive and highly destructive potato cyst nematode (PCN) Globodera rostochiensis. Researchers have now developed an organic technology from banana plant waste material which might well being a practical solution for potato farmers. Dubbed ‘wrap-and-plant,’ the solution involves enclosing potato seed before planting in a thick absorbent paper made from the fibers of banana plants.

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Wireworm an increasing threat for British potato growers

Wireworm is an increasing threat for potato growers, and set to be more of a problem with soils in the future, warns Syngenta Technical Manager, Michael Tait. Speaking at this season’s Syngenta Potato Science Soil Pest webinar, he pointed out any current monitoring through pheromone trapping, to lure click beetles – the adult stage of wireworm, principally only identified the three common species Agriotes sputator; A. obscurus and A. lineatus.

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SpudChat podcast: Research entomologist on management of wireworm, other potato pests

In this edition of the SpudChat podcast, Ryan Barrett with the Prince Edward Island Potato Board talks to Dr. Christine Noronha, a research entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Charlottetown. Christine is an expert on wireworm and has been doing a lot of work on wireworm research in cooperation with PEI potato growers for the last more than ten years.

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Late blight disease resistant potatoes: MSU receives $13 million USAID award for research

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future Initiative has awarded a five-year, $13 million award for a collaborative partnership led by Michigan State University (MSU).  The Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership will bring late blight disease resistant (LBR) potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties to the Asian countries of Bangladesh and Indonesia, and the African countries of Kenya and Nigeria.

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How to control nematodes in potatoes with a trap crop

Planting a potato cyst nematode (PCN) trap crop can naturally reduce nematode numbers by up to 75%. One group of potato farmers have trialled whether they can be successfully established in the UK. Chemical methods that once effectively controlled the pest are dwindling – the latest loss being the mainstay nematicide Vydate – and growers are now looking at alternative biological control techniques.

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‘Super pest’ Colorado potato beetle has the genetic resources to sidestep our attacks

The Colorado potato beetle has evolved resistance to more than 50 different kinds of insecticides, making the insect a “super pest” that wreaks havoc on potatoes around the world. New research finds that the beetle achieved this feat largely by turning to a deep pool of diversity within its genome, which allowed different populations across the U.S. to quickly evolve resistance to nearly anything humans have thrown at it.

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CIP highlights considerable spread of bacterial wilt disease in African countries

According to a survey of potato experts in 10 sub-Saharan African countries in 2018, the most serious threat to the region’s potato crop is bacterial wilt disease. Caused by the soil- and seed-borne bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum – a high-risk, quarantine pathogen in Europe and the Mediterranean – bacterial wilt is responsible for an estimated USD 1 billion of economic loss globally each year.

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Scottish Agronomy conference hears of new late blight strain

The discovery of new late blight strain in Fife last year has highlighted the value of continual crop monitoring, potato experts have claimed. The first UK case of the 41_A2 late blight genotype that emerged in Denmark in 2013 was detected in a crop of Maris Piper grown in Fife, last August. The news was described as evidence of the value that genotype testing, until now funded by AHDB Potatoes, provided to growers.

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Flexible contact herbicide provides a clean start in potato crops

British potato growers can create a clean start to crops by switching the foundation of their broadleaved weed control plans to Shark (carfentrazone-ethyl). But, as with diquat, timing is key to success. Capable of controlling weeds typical of a broad range of potato-growing soils and regions, Shark is highly effective when used either alone or in in a mix with other residual herbicides when applied just prior to crop emergence, says Jeff Fieldsend, Commercial Technical Manager at FMC.

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Potato pink eye: A disorder growers need to watch out for

Potato pink eye is a disorder that often starts with pink, water-soaked areas around the eyes of the tuber — that’s why it’s called “pink eye,” writes Carrie Huffman Wohleb in this article published by Growing Produce. But as the tuber matures and the skin sets, the pink areas become thickened, corky patches (called bull hide) or show other marks of skin deterioration like flaky scales, or small cracks, or fissures.

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Biological product treats stored potatoes for dry rot and simultaneously acts as sprout suppressant

Canadian based MustGrow Biologics Corp. is pleased to announce successful postharvest trials in both disease control and sprout suppression of stored potatoes conducted by a third-party independent laboratory. The company says no combination solutions currently exist that treat both disease and sprouting – making MustGrow’s application unique in addressing both postharvest issues in potatoes simultaneously.

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NPC responds to resumption of potato trade between PEI and Puerto Rico

The National Potato Council (NPC) today released a statement in response to news of the resumption of trade of table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. “We trust USDA and CFIA have put plans in place to strictly prohibit the resale of fresh potatoes to the mainland in order to prevent the potential spread of disease to U.S. potato farms,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles.

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