Pests and Diseases

US: Alternatives to chlorothalonil for potato late blight control

Conditions for late blight development throughout Michigan are conducive for the appearance of late blight. No late blight has been found in Michigan as of June 15, 2015, although the disease has now appeared in North Carolina and Florida on potatoes. Chlorothalonil supply for 2015 is limited. Potato growers, therefore, have a dilemma about what to base their late blight[Read More…]

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US: Potato leafhoppers arrive sooner due to climate change

The potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) is a tiny insect with a bright lime-green color that helps it blend in against plant leaves. Despite its unassuming appearance, this little pest causes big headaches for farmers across the eastern half of the United States. By feeding voraciously on many crops, including potatoes, green beans, and alfalfa, the migratory potato leafhopper causes untold[Read More…]

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UK: Crop sustainability projects secure funding

Government research councils have awarded more than £4m in research funding to six projects to help improve the sustainability of horticultural crops. The funding is the second round of awards from the Horticulture & Potato Initiative (HAPI), developed by Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council and (NERC) the Scottish Government. The Sainsbury Laboratory group leader Professor[Read More…]

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Canadian researcher to fight potato blight

A Lethbridge College instructor and researcher has received funding to support an applied-research project to keep Alberta potato crops free of the devastating disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine. Melanie Kalischuk, who teaches in the Environmental Sciences program at Lethbridge College, received a total of $191,000 from the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF)[Read More…]

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US: Zing! registered for use against potato late blight and early blight

Zing!, a mixture of zoxamide and chlorothalonil, has been registered for use against potato late blight and early blight. Growers may use 32-34 fluid ounces per acre applied on a preventative schedule. Applications may begin when conditions are favorable for disease development. Use a five- to seven-day schedule (the minimum re-treatment interval is five days) when disease is present and[Read More…]

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US: Washington State potato growers monitoring insect populations

Due to an exceptionally mild winter this year Washington potato growers should be on the lookout for earlier than normal and larger populations of potato psyllids, leafhoppers, potato tuber moth, and aphids. To help growers the Washington State Potato Commission is providing insect monitoring supplies. WSPC’s Matt Blua explains. More

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The quest to engineer the perfect potato

Super spuds are coming. A genetically modified potato that could resist destructive blight, defend itself against parasitic worms, avoid bruising, and cut down on the accumulation of a suspected carcinogen during cooking would be worth many billions of dollars per year to potato producers across the world. It could also serve as a model technology for addressing issues that affect many[Read More…]

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Canada: Bacteria discovery could have prevented Irish Potato Famine

A Saskatoon research scientist has discovered some good bacteria found in Saskatchewan and Alberta soils that could have stopped the Irish Potato Famine. Sue Boyetchko and her team are taking that naturally-occurring bacteria, multiplying them in a lab and applying the bacteria to potato plants and potatoes themselves. Boyetchko and her team has had a 90 per cent success rate with controlling late[Read More…]

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Idaho spud growers expect bad weed year

Crop scientists expect severe weed pressure in Idaho this season, especially in potato fields, following a prolonged wet period throughout the state’s southern and eastern regions. “All of the rain we’ve had may have compromised some of our pre-emergence herbicides. That’s the main thing I’ve noticed so far,” said Jeff Miller, a crop scientist with Rupert, Idaho-based Miller Research. Miller said he’s[Read More…]

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As top potato-producing country in Latin America, Peru’s crops still face pests

This year Peru established its position as the largest producer of potatoes in Latin America. The Propapa-ADERS Peru Project Director, Celfia Obregon believes this is primarily due to innovative advances, implementing indigenous techniques, and modern science, according to Andina news agency. Despite this great growth in production, however, Peru still faces losing up to 50% of its potato crops due[Read More…]

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Optimising irrigation for scab control

Understanding varietal susceptibility is crucial when deciding on irrigation strategy to prevent common scab in potatoes, says Mark Stalham, senior research associate at NIAB-CUF. Effective management of the disease in Maris Piper calls for perfect timing and perfect irrigation. The good news is growers can afford to be more flexible when it comes to varieties with lower susceptibility to the pathogen. Quality[Read More…]

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Idaho PCN Group calls for overhaul of federal quarantine

Members of the newly formed “Idaho PCN Group” called for the overhaul of a federal pale cyst nematode eradication program May 29 during a conference call with Idaho Potato Commission members. They also asked for the resignation or termination of an IPC employee who they said has worked behind the scenes to ensure the program’s continuation. Eighteen potato growers and landowners in[Read More…]

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GMO potatoes: A solution to key production challenges?

Are there solutions anywhere on the horizon to any of the the most serious pest and disease problems in potato production? According to Dr Phil Nolte, xtension seed potato specialist, University of Idaho, the answer is a qualified yes. “We have the siren call of the ever-developing and ever-improving science of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yes, I know, the U.S. potato[Read More…]

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UK: Farmers urged to protect potato crops against late blight

Potato growers are being urged to protect emerging crops against late blight despite the prevailing cool conditions keeping inoculum levels in check. Blight populations in the UK are now dominated by two blight strains – pink 6_A1 and blue 13_A2 – which are more aggressive and have the ability to infect plants at lower temperatures, earlier in the season. Agrochemical[Read More…]

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First step towards global attack on potato blight

European researchers and companies concerned with the potato disease phytophthora will work more closely with parties in other parts of the world. The first move was made during the biennial meeting of the European network EuroBlight, held in Romania earlier in May. Colleagues from North-America, South-America and Asia were also invited. “They are very interested in our approach; the way[Read More…]

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US: Researchers look for potato psyllid hideouts

As a warm morning grows warmer along Gap Road north of town, Jenita Thinakaran and Rodney Cooper whack a stringy patch of matrimony vine with 2-foot sections of rubber hose, catching leaves, dust and bugs on white screens. The U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers then inspect the surfaces for potato psyllids, a new pest that has the potential to harm[Read More…]

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UK: Matching pellet choice to situation key to slug control

Potato growers still have a range of slug control options following the withdrawal of methiocarb, according to an independent potato agronomist. Neil Pratt of Techniculture, who has been comparing several alternative types of approved pellet, said: “Over the past few years we have favoured TDS as our choice of metaldehyde pellet because it features the same attributes found in methiocarb-based[Read More…]

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Brown rot disease mars export prospects of Indian potatoes

With the Russian phytosanitary services cracking down on potatoes from Egypt, it could have been a blessing in disguise for Indian exporters had it not for the brown bacterial rot disease. Early April, while the quarantine phytosanitary control of two potato consignments weighing 57 tonnes imported from India was on, the bacterial rot (Ralstonia solanacearum Yabuuchi) was noticed. According to information available[Read More…]

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US: North Dakota potato producers can now use alternative product to manage black scurf

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has issued a Special Local Needs (SLN) registration to Nichino America enabling North Dakota potato producers to use chemigation to manage black scurf with Moncut® Fungicide. Gowan Corporation recently held a SLN for the product Moncut® 70-DF, which allowed for this use, but the product was sold to Nichino and the old SLN registration had to be[Read More…]

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Researchers map potato blight in Europe

A team of researchers tracking the 2014 population of the potato late blight pathogen have added to the 2013 data to extend the spatial diversity plots and combine this with novel genetic analysis tools that visualise the distribution and diversity of dominant clones and reveals novel genetically diverse isolates in some regions. Monitoring of populations and characterization of invasive genotypes help[Read More…]

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Canada: Leading pests potato growers need to watch out for this season

One of Canada’s leading experts on potato insects, Christine Noronha is a pest control specialist at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She offers these tips on managing the major pests threatening potato crops in Canada this season. Some important pests to watch for in 2015 are: Colorado potato beetles, potato flea beetles, aphids,[Read More…]

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US: Free zebra chip webinar

Zebra chip is among the biggest threats to the U.S. potato industry. As part of a grant-funded outreach effort, the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy and the American Phytopathological Society are hosting a free zebra chip webinar May 7 at 10 a.m. Central. This one-hour webinar, titled “Overview of Zebra Chip Research in the U.S.,” will be presented by[Read More…]

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US: Senator pitches for Cornell potato research lab funding

Sen. Charles Schumer is looking out for spuds. On Thursday, the New York Democrat sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking that the federal agency prioritize money in its 2016 budget to replace and modernize a 78-year-old nematode research facility at Cornell University. “It is critical that this severely dilapidated facility be replaced as soon as possible; otherwise,[Read More…]

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US: Protect potatoes in 2015 with blight hotline

Staying ahead of potato blight is critical to a successful growing season, which is why Syngenta is partnering with experts again to ensure that the latest disease updates remain just a phone call away. The hotlines, sponsored by Revus Top® fungicide, feature updates from five university potato researchers in Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. “These five universities have[Read More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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