Pests and Diseases

US: Program makes inroads against Zebra chip

Zebra chip infection rates are way down in Idaho, but researchers say they still need more years of data before they can relent on their program to protect growers from the disease. University of Idaho researchers have no plans to scale back on the intensive program they implemented in 2013 to track the tiny, winged insects that spread the crop disease zebra chip, despite a significant decline in infections. UI Extension entomologist Erik Wenninger said the program has federal dollars available but will again need Idaho Potato Commission funding and continued cooperation from the industry to meet the same standards in 2014. “Despite having a low incidence of zebra chip in 2013 and a low incidence of the bacterium (that causes it), I think it’s really important to get more years of data under our belt in order to get a full handle of the situation,” Wenninger said. More