Seed potato farmers in South Africa warned about resistant black dot disease

Seed potato growers attending the recent biannual Potatoes South Africa Seed Potato Growers’ Forum in Cape Town were warned about the potentially devastating effect that resistant black dot disease could have on the quality and quantity of their crops, Farmers Weekly magazine reports.

Research conducted by Dr Leah Tsror of the Department of Plant Pathology at the Gilat Research Center in Israel showed that black dot disease, caused by the plant pathogen Colletotrichum coccodes, could lead to a reduction in tuber weight, as well as damage to tuber quality, which could result in yield reductions of between 22% and 30%.

Dr Fienie Niederwieser, the manager of research and development at Potatoes South Africa, told Farmer’s Weekly that the local industry did not yet have clarity about the exact impact of black dot disease.

“Our observations, especially among farmers in Limpopo, are that as soon as infected plants are subjected to stress, such as heatwaves, they will die prematurely, and farmers indicated that they could easily lose up to 30% of their yield,” she said.

Full article by Jeandré van der Walt published in Farmers Weekly here. Photo credit: Dr Fienie Niederwieser