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

Late blight on potato leaf: At first, the spots are gray-green and water-soaked, but they soon enlarge and turn dark brown and firm, with a rough surfaceNew 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 assessing blight risk to date. Originally developed by L.P. Smith in 1956, Smith Periods were an improvement on the previously used system – the Beaumont Criteria,” said Claire Hodge, Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB Potatoes. “But we need to continue to optimise in response to changes in climate and developments in technology and the Hutton Criteria provides that timely enhancement. More