Pests and Diseases

How to manage weeds in potato crops without diquat

There will be no room for complacency in potato weed control strategies in the UK this spring, as British growers embark on their first season without the popular broad-spectrum contact herbicide diquat. Up to now, weed control was pretty simple – many would plant, wait until weeds emerge and sometimes cover up to 40% of the crop, then apply a residual plus diquat mix. However, with diquat’s revocation in the UK, this “casual” approach to weed management in potato crops is no longer sustainable.

WPC Webinar on powdery scab now available online

The World Potato Congress offered its third Webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror, titled ‘Powdery Scab – Integrated disease management for reducing the risk’. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar was on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.

Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

From hunger to profitable harvest: How GMO, CRISPR-edited plants can help curb $220 billion in annual crop losses

Plant diseases arguably pose the biggest threat to agriculture, exacting a dramatic economic toll and endangering the livelihoods of farmers all over the world, writes Steven Cerier in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Scientists in the Netherlands and Ireland have successfully carried out field trials of a disease-resistant genetically engineered potato. The new variety was created through a process of cisgenesis.

Canada to invest millions into Potato Early Dying disease research

The Canadian government pledged over $2.3 million to support research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying.

EuroBlight issues report with details on the 2019 late blight monitoring results

EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2019 results. Approximately 1800 samples from 27 countries were genotyped. In general, blight pressure is said to have been low which reduced sample numbers in many regions. However, episodes of high disease pressure resulted in serious outbreaks in other areas such as northern Britain and Denmark.

Drone spraying of crops takes off globally as regulations relax

Move over dogs – drones are a farmer’s new best friend! In just a few years there’s been a huge rise in the use of drones in agriculture. Their popularity is set to soar globally as countries grant operators permission to also apply crop protection products, writes Mick Roberts in an article published by Future Farming. Recent equipment introductions, and regulation changes in particular, look likely to see aerial applications by UAVs to increase substantially and quickly around the globe.

GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

Potato diseases: Control of Rhizoctonia solani podcast

In this episode, Mike Abram, from the Communications team of Bayer Crop Sciences in the UK, recently caught up with Sam Harvey, who is a Commercial Technical Manager for Bayer, based in and around the Cambridgeshire area. They discussed potatoes and in particular how to control seed- and soil-borne potato diseases. Controlling seed- and soil-borne diseases is important for both[Read More…]

Canadian drone service company helps farmers to assess crop health

Lee Dodson from Summerside on Prince Edward Island believes he has found a technological way for farmers to have detailed knowledge of the health of their fields without stepping outside. Dodson, CEO of Skygate Drone Services, was one of about 120 exhibitors at this year’s International Potato Technology Expo in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island this past Friday and Saturday.[Read More…]

CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

As France phases out common pesticides, regulator says farmers still need crop chemicals

France needs to retain pesticides to combat new plant diseases spread by international trade and climate change even as it tries to phase out some crop chemicals like glyphosate, the country’s health and safety agency said. A first case was confirmed in France [in February] of a virus that can ravage tomato plants.

Russian potato magazine launches multilingual website; experts invited to contribute content

The Russian magazine Potato System reports regularly on potato processing and trade. “We also write about diseases and pests of potatoes, the development of breeding and seed production, new technologies, experiences and achievements on the best potato farms,” Editor Olga Maxaeva says.

Specialized testing of seed potatoes give Idaho growers an advantage

Specialized testing of seed potatoes has advanced to the point that it allows farmers to deal with potential problems before they even plant the crop. For example, seed-piece evaluations, which detect diseases and viruses in potatoes, have advanced, Capital Press reports.

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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