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Guarding Against Dickeya

After triggering major crop losses in the United States, Dickeya has been dominating the potato meetings circuit in North America for the past year or two. In Canada, some of the discussions revolve around the consequences for growers should the new disease makes its way into this country — but some industry experts maintain Dickeya is likely already here. “I don’t know what the extent is [in Canada], but we found Dickeya…

IPM Training Module Launched

Positive comments are coming fast and furious for a new potato integrated pest management (IPM) training module recently launched by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). According to OMAFRA, “the module is a great educational tool with information for the common insect pests, diseases, viruses and disorders of potatoes in Ontario.” The creator of the module is Eugenia Banks, OMAFRA’s longtime potato specialist who retired in late 2015….

Fast-Tracking Extreme Resistance

A key tool in the arsenal for controlling potato virus Y (PVY) is cultivar resistance. Now, researchers are developing better molecular markers for faster, more accurate screening of potato breeding lines for “extreme resistance” to PVY – equivalent to PVY immunity. That will enable breeders to more efficiently develop new varieties with total protection against this serious disease. “PVY is one of the most widespread viruses and also one of the most…

Managing Soil-Borne Pests, Diseases

For potato farmers, soil-borne pests and diseases are like that pesky younger sibling that’s always trying to get you in trouble: ignore them at your peril. Hazards such as Verticillium, nematodes, pink rot and Rhizoctonia can have a big impact on the bottom line if not kept in check. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from three industry experts on the financial importance of these potato problems, and best…

Potato pest worries farmers in Australia

Potato producers in southwest Western Australia say the detection of the tomato potato psyllid is a “serious blow” to their industry. The psyllid is known to attack a range of plants in the Solanaceae family, including potato and also sweet potato. It is the first time the pest has been detected in Australia. It has so far been detected in tomatoes and eggplants in Perth, in tomatoes at two properties in Mount…

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014 — following a ring rot flare-up — Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating…

Select potato growers trying soil fumigation for McCain Foods

CARIBOU, Maine — The largest buyer of potatoes in Aroostook County, McCain Foods, has started trials examining soil fumigation with several of its growers. More common in western states, fumigating soil to fight nematodes and soil-borne diseases is “not something we’ve done in Maine,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody, an agronomist with McCain Foods, said during the Maine Potato Conference in Caribou in January. In an effort to boost yields with its contract growers…

U.S. Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

U.S. 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 and unrelated crop stress. “Our premise was to look at all…

Aprovia label expanded to include major potato diseases

Syngenta Canada Inc. has announced the expansion of the Aprovia fungicide label to include additional soil-borne diseases affecting potato production, including Verticillium wilt, one of the main contributors to potato early dying. Potato early dying is a complex and economically significant disease that is widespread across many growing areas, but difficult to identify and effectively manage. Verticillium enters plants through the roots and move into the xylem – the plant’s water and…

A tuber-damaging strain of alfalfa mosaic virus

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. The infected tubers were discovered in 2012 during routine sampling in…

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