Potato farmers in the North Rift in Kenya are staring at heavy losses following the ongoing heavy rains. The crops had been attacked by blight, which has been made worse by the rains. Peter Muga from Kanjo area in Mau Narok is among farmers counting losses after the crop was attacked by the fungal disease. He is using chemicals he bought to contain the disease. He is worried because potato farming is his main economic activity. He sprays the crop weekly at a cost of between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000.
Pests and Diseases
Syngenta unveiled the new TYMIRIUM™ technology platform brand this week. In a press release, the company says it is a novel nematicide and fungicide technology under development for both seed- and soil-applied uses. Based on the active ingredient cyclobutrifluram, Syngenta says TYMIRIUM™ technology provides long-lasting protection against a broad spectrum of nematode pests and diseases across all major crops and geographies.
Bayer announced the registration of the active ingredient, tetraniliprole, which will be launched commercially in the registered end use product Vayego insecticide. For potato growers, the insecticide can be used to control Colorado potato beetles, potato flea beetles and European corn borer.
CIP mapping potato diseases in Africa: Bacterial wilt present in 73% ware potato farms and 50% seed potato farms in Uganda
Bacterial wilt is widespread in Uganda, limiting yields and degrading seed quality. But little is known about the extent of the disease. CIP conducted a nationwide survey to chart the prevalence and spread of bacterial wilt in Uganda, as well as the type of pathogens present. Bacterial wilt was found to be present in 73% of ware potato farms and 50% of seed potato farms.
What lies beneath: WSU team studies three-way interaction between potatoes, powdery scab, and mop top virus
A team of Washington State University scientists are taking on a destructive complex of diseases affecting valuable potato crops. Over the last few years Washington’s potato industry has encountered a new threat: Potato mop top virus, a pathogen that lives in soil and attacks the tuber, darkening the flesh and making potatoes unsellable. Mop top is spread by a protist, a fungus-like microorganism, that causes a disease called powdery scab which blemishes valuable tubers as it infects neighboring plants.
Didier Andrivon from INRA delves into the disease that once killed 1.5 million individuals in Ireland: Potato late blight, also known as Phytophthora Infestans It would be easy to think that a disease peaking over one hundred years ago is no longer a problem, but potato late blight continues to evolve and emerge in new places – similarly to the insidious reach of[Read More…]
Syngenta’s BlightCast tool is now live and running for the 2020 season, to give British potato growers and agronomists a clear picture of impending blight pressure and risks – in time to make active application decisions. “BlightCast showed the first Hutton Criteria hits for the site were on the 16th August, but no Smith Periods were triggered until 24th August; in that time the visual assessment of blight inoculated trials went from virtually nothing detectable to widespread infection,” says Syngenta potato specialist, Rob Farrow.
Didier Andrivon from INRA directs our thoughts to potato and tomato blights in Europe and argues that multi-actor research is crucial for sustainable control. Controlling blight epidemics have long relied almost exclusively on repeated applications of synthetic fungicides. It is not uncommon for potato crops to receive 15 or 20 sprays a season to keep blights at bay. However, this strategy while efficient, is not sustainable.
Controlling late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in potatoes has become much more complicated. Growers and agronomists have to think about many factors, including disease pressure, blight strains, growth stage of the crop, weather conditions, fungicide mode of action, and many more. Blight strains in the UK have changed radically recently and Dr. David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute in Dundee has identified newer strains which are more aggressive, produce more spores from larger lesions and have a faster life cycle.
Potato seed treatment Monceren is being withdrawn immediately after UK regulators announced an end to the use of the active pencycuron, which was used to control rhizoctonia. An EU proposal to cut the maximum residue limit (MRL) for pencycuron earlier in March meant it was still possible that it could be applied to seed planted this spring, but now, the CRD’s announcement means it is no longer possible to apply Monceren for any purpose.
This season is the first where growers face managing wireworm without the key pesticide Mocap (ethoprophos) that has proved effective for some years in managing the costly pest. This means there will be a greater reliance on less-effective alternatives in combination with with cultural controls to keep the pest in check. Farmers Weekly looks at how growers can best manage wireworm, which in severe cases can lead to crop losses.
Across the channel in the Netherlands a remarkable thing is happening. The whole supply chain has worked together through the ‘Potato Covenant’ to shift the organic potato sector to 100% use of robust, blight-resistant varieties. So, why not in the UK, asks Phil Sumption in this article published on his blog Agricology.
There will be no room for complacency in potato weed control strategies in the UK this spring, as British growers embark on their first season without the popular broad-spectrum contact herbicide diquat. Up to now, weed control was pretty simple – many would plant, wait until weeds emerge and sometimes cover up to 40% of the crop, then apply a residual plus diquat mix. However, with diquat’s revocation in the UK, this “casual” approach to weed management in potato crops is no longer sustainable.
The World Potato Congress offered its third Webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror, titled ‘Powdery Scab – Integrated disease management for reducing the risk’. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar was on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.
Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.
A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.
In the summer of 2019 there was an increased number of reports of issues related to Potato Virus Y (PVY) in Britain. In this podcast AHDB speaks with several industry leaders in Britain.
The Canadian government pledged over $2.3 million to support research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying.
EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2019 results. Approximately 1800 samples from 27 countries were genotyped. In general, blight pressure is said to have been low which reduced sample numbers in many regions. However, episodes of high disease pressure resulted in serious outbreaks in other areas such as northern Britain and Denmark.
Move over dogs – drones are a farmer’s new best friend! In just a few years there’s been a huge rise in the use of drones in agriculture. Their popularity is set to soar globally as countries grant operators permission to also apply crop protection products, writes Mick Roberts in an article published by Future Farming. Recent equipment introductions, and regulation changes in particular, look likely to see aerial applications by UAVs to increase substantially and quickly around the globe.
Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]
In this episode, Mike Abram, from the Communications team of Bayer Crop Sciences in the UK, recently caught up with Sam Harvey, who is a Commercial Technical Manager for Bayer, based in and around the Cambridgeshire area. They discussed potatoes and in particular how to control seed- and soil-borne potato diseases. Controlling seed- and soil-borne diseases is important for both[Read More…]