Pests and Diseases

Researchers identify new strains of pathogen that could threaten U.S. growers

The fungal-like organism that causes late blight affects both tomatoes and potatoes. Unlike the other 60 Phytophthora species that produce soil-borne, root-rotting diseases, late blight infects foliage, stems, potato tubers and tomato fruits. Lesions can occur on both leaves and stems, and usually occur after periods of wet weather. Scientific research of Phytophthora infestans, or late blight, has been an issue[Read More…]

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US researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

US researchers say they’ve pinpointed individual spud plants infected with potato virus Y with 90 per cent accuracy, using hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones. Donna Delparte, an assistant professor of geosciences at Idaho State University, and graduate student Mike Griffel have successfully tested a “computer-learning” algorithm they developed to tease out PVY from spectral imaging “background noise,” such as field variability[Read More…]

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Potato pathologist warns of future disease threats

A leading potato pathologist warns restrictions on soil fumigants may lead to greater problems with certain diseases and a reemergence of some pathogens that are now under control. North Dakota State University Professor Neil Gudmestad also predicted during University of Idaho’s recent 49th Annual Potato Conference soil-borne genotypes of diseases that now need living tissue to survive will eventually move into[Read More…]

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First fungicide in Canada to curb verticillium wilt in potatoes now cleared

A label expansion for Syngenta’s Aprovia fungicide, to cover additional soil-borne potato diseases, makes it the first fungicide in Canada approved to suppress verticillium wilt in potatoes. Fumigants have been potato growers’ only option against the crop disease until now, Eric Phillips, Syngenta Canada’s fungicides and insecticides product lead, said in a release. Verticillium wilt, the company said, is “one of the[Read More…]

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A tuber-damaging strain of Alfalfa Mosaic Virus A discovered

When alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) happens to occur in potatoes, it usually causes leaf mottling and blotching. Now, researchers have identified an unusual strain that causes necrosis – brownish dead patches – in tubers, the first such AMV strain found in Canada. The story of how this tuber-necrosis culprit was identified is a little like something from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[Read More…]

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Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

Researchers say they’ve pinpointed individual spud plants infected with potato virus Y with 90 percent accuracy, using hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones. Donna Delparte, an assistant professor of geosciences at Idaho State University, and graduate student Mike Griffel have successfully tested a “computer-learning” algorithm they developed to tease out PVY from spectral imaging “background noise,” such as field variability and unrelated[Read More…]

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US: New potato insecticide/fungicide seed treatment announced

Syngenta has announced CruiserMaxx Vibrance Potato insecticide/fungicide seed treatment is now available for purchase, following its registration by EPA. It contains Vibrance fungicide seed treatment, which includes the active ingredient Sedaxane and is a new tool for potato growers. In addition to Sedaxane, the other active ingredients in the seed treatment include Thiamethoxam, Fludioxonil, and Difenoconazole. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Potato combines fungicides to[Read More…]

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Research findings could help prevent late blight pathogen from coming to the US

New findings by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers could help prevent more genetic strains of the potato- and tomato-killing late-blight pathogen from entering the United States. These findings may provide further evidence to help researchers solve the $6 billion-a-year disease that continues to evolve and torment potato and tomato growers around the world. Erica Goss, a UF/IFAS[Read More…]

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Quarantined potato pest found in eastern Idaho

A quarantined potato pest has been found in another field in eastern Idaho. The 150-acre field was added to the pale cyst nematode eradication program on Dec. 21, bringing the total number of regulated fields to 27. The infested fields are managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Pale Cyst Nematode Program. Program director Tina Gresham[Read More…]

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Bangladesh: GM potato crop ready for release

The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, which has developed the blight resistant (RB) potato, applied on December 29 for the commercial release of the crop. GM crops are those whose DNA has been modified, in most cases, by introducing a new trait to the plant, thereby, giving it extra vigour either to resist diseases or withstand stress conditions. Once released, RB potato[Read More…]

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New study provides evidence on movement of potato blight pathogen

New North Carolina State University research delves into the movement and evolution of the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, which set down roots in the United States before attacking Europe. The study, published in PLOS ONE, shows that a lineage called FAM-1 caused outbreaks of potato late blight in the United States in 1843 and then[Read More…]

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UK: Potato soil pest survey launched

A nationwide potato growers’ surveyis set to evaluate the wider implications of key soil pest issues and assess whether growers are winning the battle against losses, or identify whether problems are getting progressively worse. the survey seeks to evaluate how growers perceive the effectiveness of current integrated pest management (IPM) measures in the field, and the impacts that adopting new practices[Read More…]

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Priming potato with Thiamin to control Potato Virus Y

Potato VIRUS Y (PVY) is a major potato pathogen affecting potato yields worldwide. Thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin (vitamin B1) has been shown to boost the plant’s immunity, thereby increasing resistance against pathogens. In this study, we tested different concentrations of thiamin (1 mM, 10 mM, 50 mM, 100 mM) and multiple thiamin APPLICATIONS (once, biweekly and monthly) on potato[Read More…]

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Australia: Washed ware potato pest report released for comment

The Department of Agriculture and Food has released a draft pest categorisation report for stakeholder consultation, as part of a review of washed ware potato imports from other Australian states and territories. Washed ware potatoes are currently permitted entry into Western Australia from interstate, subject to quarantine measures. The report, which identifies quarantine pests associated with the washed ware potato pathway,[Read More…]

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UK: Smith Period blight alert set to be replaced

Now 60 years old, the current methodology for predicting blight pressure, known as the Smith Period, is set to be replaced by an improved alert system expected to be in place before the 2017 blight risk period. Following research undertaken by the James Hutton Institute and funded by AHDB Potatoes, the newly developed ‘Hutton Criteria’ was described as ‘a significant advancement’[Read More…]

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New Zealand: Potato industry further strengthen biosecurity partnership

Potatoes New Zealand Inc. (PNZ) today signed an agreement with Government to better protect the potato industry it represents in managing biosecurity. The industry group became the 14th partner organisation to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. The Deed was signed by representatives from PNZ at a ceremony held on a potato farm in Koputaroa. The[Read More…]

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UK: New risk criteria helps transform performance of Potato Late Blight alert systems

New risk criteria which will transform the performance of Potato Late Blight alert systems has been revealed. Arising from research undertaken by the James Hutton Institute and funded by AHDB Potatoes, the ‘Hutton Criteria’ is a significant advancement on current methodology for predicting blight pressure, known as Smith Periods, now 60 years old this year. “Smith Periods have been immensely valuable in[Read More…]

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Canada: Proposed pesticide ban surprises Prince Edward Island Potato Board

Health Canada’s proposal to phase out a pesticide over three years will have a significant impact on Island farmers, says the P.E.I. Potato Board. Health Canada announced the possible measures Thursday for neonicotinoid imidacloprid, which is most commonly sold commercially as Admire. “It is a tool that’s used in the potato industry for managing Colorado potato beetle, which is a chewing insect[Read More…]

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Another neonicotinoid ban in the works: Health Canada proposes a plan to eliminate imidacloprid use across the country

Canadian producers may have to prepare for additional insecticide bans. Health Canada has completed a re-evaluation and is proposing a ban of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. The draft risk assessment “proposes that current use of imidacloprid is not sustainable, and the levels of this pesticide that are being found in waterways and aquatic environments are harmful to aquatic insects, such as mayflies and[Read More…]

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Canada: Bayer launches Velum Prime nematicide

Bayer has announced the launch of Velum Prime nematicide, the first non-fumigant nematicide registered for potatoes in Canada. Velum Prime is a new mode of action and chemical class (pyridinyl ethyl benzamide) for nematode protection. It offers growers effective nematode protection that helps sustain plant vigor and maximize crop yield potential. “The launch of Velum Prime in Canada provides protection against a[Read More…]

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Stark warning for Scottish growers using imported seed potatoes

Ware potato producers in Scotland were given a stark warning that using imported seed could lead to a long-term loss for short term gain in the wider industry. At stake is the hard-won reputation of Scotland’s lucrative seed potato trade and industry specialists lined up to pan those using imported seed at AHDB’s Seed Potato Industry event in St Andrews. Imported seed[Read More…]

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Search warrants for pale cyst nematodes ordered at southeast Idaho potato farms

A federal judge has approved search warrants to take samples from fields in southeast Idaho after farmers refused to allow federal authorities to check for pale cyst nematodes. The Post Register reports ( that U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Friday denied a motion by farmers seeking to delay the testing until a related lawsuit is settled. Some sampling was already carried[Read More…]

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