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Pest quest: New program soon to be launched to monitor potato psyllids in Canada

Potato psyllid. Photo by Dan Johnson.A new monitoring and surveillance program will be launched in the spring of 2018 for potato psyllids in Canada’s Alberta province. Thomas McDade, agricultural director, Potato Growers of Alberta says this plan responds to the discovery of a very small number of potato psyllids that tested positive for the Lso bacteria (the vector for zebra chip disease) in late 2017.  Although follow-up testing of tubers and plant material has not detected any incidences of the zebra chip disease in Alberta, the detection of the Lso bacteria in potato psyllids is concerning. The Potato Growers of Alberta – in partnership with Cavendish Farms, McCain, Lamb Weston, Old Dutch and PepsiCo-Frito Lay, assisted by the technical expertise of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Promax Agronomy – are planning to run this program for the next five years. Weekly reports will be circulated throughout the upcoming growing season. The monitoring program is welcome news for all Canadian potato growers who are closely watching this pest. Report by The Grower