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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….

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…

More tools for wireworm control

Two researchers have done extensive work to improve and expand options for controlling wireworms, including insecticides and crop rotations. However, none of the available options gives complete control, and wireworm populations are exploding in some parts of Canada. New, innovative traps are set to become valuable additional tools in the fight against these very damaging pests. Wireworms belong to the Elateridae family. Canada has about 30 wireworm species of economic importance. A…

PMRA proposes phase-out of imidacloprid use

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to phase-out all the agricultural and a majority of other outdoor uses of imidacloprid over three to five years. Imidacloprid (Admire) is a neonicotinoid insecticide used by commercial applicators and growers to manage insects on a large number of agricultural crops, including potatoes in which it provides extended control of Colorado potato beetle, aphids, potato leafhopper and potato flea beetle. Health Canada recently…

Search warrants for potato pest ordered at E. Idaho 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 a microscopic potato pest. 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 out before Dale’s ruling, and additional soil samples are expected to be taken this week…

Using smartphones to battle pests

A new app has been designed to help growers of field crops identify and manage insects, pathogens and weeds. And there is potential for other crops to be included once work on the current setup is complete. Set to be officially released in 2018 on Android and iOS, the Mobile Integrated Pest Management (Mobile-IPM) app is a tool for Canadian farmers. It focuses on the major Canadian crops such as oilseeds, cereals…

Cornell U funding to eradicate potato pest

Cornell University’s long-standing battle against a major potato pest is getting a $1.2 million boost in new New York state funding. The destructiveness of the golden nematode, currently quarantined to eight New York counties, threatens the state’s annual $73 million potato crop. For decades, a partnership between Cornell and government scientists has kept this persistent subterranean threat in check. A grant announced Oct. 14 will update facilities at the College of Agriculture…

Plague of potato bugs invade Austrian village

Hundreds of thousands of potato beetles which made life miserable for residents of the small village of Hüttendorf in Lower Austria for a week have vanished as quickly as they appeared. Locals said the beetles were everywhere in the surrounding fields and were crawling all over the walls and windows of homes. Residents of the village in Austria’s Weinviertel region said they’d never experienced such a swarm of the brown and yellow…

Potato Psyllid Alert for North Dakota

Potato psyllids have been reported in specific fields in western and central North Dakota. At this point populations are not widespread. The potato psyllid is the vector for the Liberibacter bacterium that causes Zebra Chip; samples from the fields hosting psyllid populations are currently being tested to ascertain if they are infectious. Even psyllids that are not infectious with the Zebra Chip Liberibacter can, however, damage potatoes. When psyllids feed they inject…

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