Silver scurf: Great name, but bad for spuds

Fans of colorful, alliterative language may like “silver scurf.” Not Red River Valley potato growers; they see the crop disease as a growing threat. “I’m getting more questions about it at harvest,” said Andy Robinson, Fargo, N.D.-based potato extension agronomist for both North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. He helped to organize potato educational sessions during the recent International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., and brought in Amanda Gevens to speak on the crop disease on Feb. 22. Gevens, a professor in the plant pathology department at the University of Wisconsin, also is seeing more cases of silver scurf. She described the disease “as gray, silver and shiny patches” that are “more obvious on red and purples,” but seen on yellow and russet potatoes, too. Silver scurf, caused by a fungus, is a common potato disease and found in all major production areas of the United States, including the Red River Valley of western Minnesota and northeast North Dakota. More