AgronomyLight potato psyllid pressure in Idaho

Light potato psyllid pressure in Idaho

-

In Idaho, pressure from the tiny, winged insects that spread zebra chip disease in potatoes has been light this season, emboldening some Idaho farmers to scale back on their pesticide programs.

Zebra chip, which is caused by the Liberibacter bacterium and spread by potato psyllids, first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. The disease creates bands in tuber flesh that darken during frying, rendering spuds unmarketable.

University of Idaho (UI) extension entomologist Erik Wenninger, who runs an extensive field monitoring program to gauge psyllid populations, said the first psyllid of this season was captured in late May — about the same timing as last season. However, a single psyllid, captured at UI’s Kimberly Research and Extension Center, has tested positive for Liberibacter this season.

Furthermore, Wenninger said, the scouting network, which includes yellow sticky traps surrounding 96 potato fields throughout the state, has captured five to seven psyllids per week, compared with more than 50 psyllids per week last season.

Wenninger said zebra chip was found in a few fields last season, but the incidence of the disease was relatively low, especially given the high psyllid densities.

“We had a lot more psyllids at this time last year,” said Wenninger, who has also noticed lighter pressure from aphids and Colorado potato beetles.

Jeff Miller, with Rupert-based Miller Research, recently captured a psyllid on a sticky trap near a research field, but it didn’t test positive for zebra chip. He’s prolonged spraying insecticides on fields in which he used an insecticidal seed treatment at planting.

“I think you would be wise to wait (on applying insecticides), and part of that is driven by the economy,” Miller said. “I don’t think it’s time to worry about zebra chip just yet. Keep watching the results (of the monitoring program) and see what we find.”

Source: Capital Press

Trending This Week

Potatoes in storage

Ultra-early Sprouting is a Storage Nightmare

For the last month, I’ve been receiving calls from growers scrambling with piles that are already sprouting. I’m not talking about one or two...
Potato School

Potato School – Is It On Your Calendar?

0
WHAT — Potato School is a half day, free-to-all virtual learning event hosted by TriCal Group for anyone in the potato business. Since soil-borne disease...
Cover crop of rye and peas

Improving Our Soil Health for the Future

0
At our family farm, Swansfleet, in Bruxelles, Man. quality has always been the driving force behind everything we do. Lately, that drive for quality...
True potato seed ball cut open

How True Potato Seeds Can Fight Food Insecurity in Africa

0
True potato seeds can help stabilize food production in African countries, key note speaker says at HZPC Potato Days. Food insecurity is continuing to grow...
Potato Growers of Alberta banner

Alberta Potato Conference and Tradeshow Kicks Off

0
Growers from across Alberta, throughout Canada and into the United States have descended on Red Deer, Alta. for the Alberta Potato Conference and Tradeshow. The...