Eastern States ban imports from Western Australia after pest found

After the discovery of a destructive pest known as the tomato potato psyllid at a Perth farm, Eastern States banned the import of produce from Western Australia in order to quarantine the problem. With the Federal agriculture officials in Canberra alerting overseas trading partners, growers and exporters fear foreign markets could be lost. The State Agriculture Department has placed at least one Perth farm in quarantine. The Department of Agriculture raised the alert last week after the tomato potato psyllid was found on a commercial capsicum crop. It is the first time that the bug has been detected in Australia and officials are taking it seriously as it is said to be a big production pest in countries where it is present, such as the US and New Zealand. Beyond attacking crops, the pest can act as a host for bacteria that damages potatoes. More


US: Interpreting post-harvest test results

Seed certification is a quality control program that consists of a number of components intended to ensure that specified quality standards are met. One of the more important of these components is post-harvest testing. Post-harvest testing may consist of an off-season grow-out in the field or greenhouse, laboratory testing, or some combination of these. The vast majority of Idaho seed lots are post-harvest tested in a winter grow-out conducted in Waialua, Hawaii. This grow-out consists of a visual assessment of grower-submitted samples for  potato leaf roll virus and a laboratory test of harvested leaves for potato virus Y (PVY). While the process of post-harvest testing and the reporting of results is relatively straightforward, we do occasionally receive questions about why reported post-harvest test results differ from what is observed in the field the following season. This has been a particular issue with PVY levels observed in some seed lots. Why does this occur? More

UK: PCN picture looks better with ICM approach

Pete LeggNorfolk potato grower, Pete Legge, believes he has finally got a handle on PCN control, with a switch to Nemathorin in combination with a comprehensive ICM agronomy programme that is seeing long-term egg counts declining – along with reduced effects on the growing crop, yield and tuber quality. At the core of the farm’s approach has been a greater focus on soil testing – and tailoring the crop’s agronomy to the results. That has included seeking out clean land, extending rotations, adopting resistant or tolerant varieties, split field cropping and better targeted use of a nematicide. “We are now sampling all potato fields – both our own and long-term rented land – on one hectare grids, and using GPS technology to build up  a better picture and understanding of the PCN populations,” he reported. “We have even started doing some pf:pi counts, pre and post cropping.” Armed with the knowledge of PCN levels, he says they are better able to adjust cropping and variety selection to individual field situations, even to the extent of taking fields out of the rotation if PCN populations are too high, or being more selective in fields that are rented. More

New disease crosses the Atlantic

Soon after their spuds were planted in 2014, some growers in the northeastern United States knew they had a problem. Much of the crop didn’t even emerge. Growers were looking at stands of only 40 percent, said Steve Johnson, an Extension crops specialist with the University of Maine. Soon, wilting and blackleg-like symptoms began to appear in affected fields. But this didn’t act like regular blackleg. The mystery pathogen was more aggressive. “It looked like blackleg on steroids,” Johnson said. It turned out to be dickeya dianthicola, a seedborne pathogen that’s new to the North American potato industry but has bedeviled European growers for decades. During the past two years the disease has been detected in several states, mostly in the Northeast. D. dianthicola has caused significant losses to some commercial spud growers in the region, Johnson said. In some cases, farmers have left entire fields unharvested. More

Canada: Approvia label expanded to include major potato diseases

Syngenta Canada Inc. has announced the expansion of the Aprovia fungicide label to include additional soil-borne diseases affecting potato production, including Verticillium wilt, one of the main contributors to potato early dying. Potato early dying is a complex and economically significant disease that is widespread across many growing areas, but difficult to identify and effectively manage. Verticillium enters plants through the roots and move into the xylem – the plant’s water and conducting vessels – where they disrupt nutrient and water mobility. This causes plant leaves and stems to wither and die-off several weeks earlier than they would at normal maturity. Potato stems heavily infected with Verticillium stand out in a field above the canopy of uninfected plants. More

Late blight resistant potato variety gaining popularity in Bangladesh

Late blight resistant potato variety Sarpo Mira gaining popularity in Bangladesh The potato variety Sarpo Mira, highly resistant to late blight, is getting popular among farmers in the main potato-growing areas of Bangladesh, due to its higher output, said farmers and officials. Potato growers can get 38-42 percent more output at considerably 20 percent lower costs by cultivating the late blight resistant potato variety Sarpo Mira, they said. Giant Agro Processing Ltd (GAPL), a sister concern of Giant Group, imported and developed the seeds for local farmers, said its officials in a recent field visit in Thakurgaon. Four varieties were imported by Giant Agro Processing Ltd in 2011 from Denmark-based Danespo under a joint venture (JV) in a DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) B2B- supported programme. Chairman of Giant Group Feroz M Hassan said the fungal infection called ‘late blight’ wreaks havoc on potato production each year and sometimes farmers lose 25 to 57 percent of their yield. More

Australia: Potato producers concerned exotic pest detected in Perth could devastate industry

Bactericera cockerelli, nymph cases, nymph and adultPotato producers in south-west Western Australia say the detection of the tomato potato psyllid is a “serious blow” to their industry. The psyllid is known to attack a range of plants in the Solanaceae family including tomato, potato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, and also sweet potato. It is the first time the pest has been detected in Australia. It has so far been detected in tomatoes and eggplants at a backyard property in the Perth suburb of Belmont, in tomatoes at two properties in Mount Hawthorn, in chillies at a property in Palmyra, and in a capsicum crop on a commercial property north of Perth. However, there is not only concern for the psyllid. More of a worry to producers is the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which causes the zebra chip disease in potatoes, rendering them completely unmarketable. The Liberibacter has not yet been discovered with the psyllid in Australia, but scientists are concerned because its pathway is unknown. More

Canada: Islander produces trap to prevent potato-eating wireworm

Christine Noronha, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist, had created the trap, and Ralph Yeo decided to mass-produce it.An Islander has heeded the call to mass manufacture a trap to fight P.E.I.’s wireworm pest. Ralph Yeo said he decided to start producing the wire trap after reading about its invention about a year ago. Christine Noronha, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist, had created the trap and trademarked it in early 2016, but needed someone to manufacture it. Yeo, who until now ran a landscaping business, said he and a few others decided to follow up with Noronha. “We were pretty intrigued by, it and certainly saw the need,” he said. Wireworms are beetle larvae that dig holes in potatoes as they grow, making them unfit for sale. The P.E.I. Potato Board said the worms are a problem across the country, although they are worst in P.E.I., Alberta and B.C. The trap to stop them is called the Noronha Elaterid Light Trap, or NELT. It’s consists of a small solar-powered spotlight, a white plastic cup, and a piece of screening to keep out bigger insects that could clog up the trap. Yeo said the trap doesn’t actually capture the worm but its adult phase, the click beetle. More on CBC News

Bangladesh: Disease-resistant Danish potato seed getting popular for higher yield

Danish potato seed variety Sarpo Mira, highly resistant to the deadly late blight disease, is getting popular among farmers of the Bangladesh potato-growing hubs due to its higher output, said farmers and officials. The growers can get 38-42 per cent more output at considerably 20 per cent lower costs by cultivating the Danish let-blight resistant potato variety Sarpo Mira, they said. Giant Agro Processing Ltd (GAPL), a sister concern of Giant Group, imported and developed the seeds for local farmers, said its officials in a recent field visit in Thakurgaon.  Four varieties were imported by GAPL in 2011 from Denmark-based Danespo under a joint venture (JV) in a DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) B2B- supported programme. After trials by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), two varieties — Sarpo Mira (BARI Alu-77) and Folva — were approved by the government, said Business Development Manager of GAPL ATM Majharul Mannan. “The two varieties have been showing excellent result in terms of per hectare yield, size, quality and production cost in the northern districts,” he said. More

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014; following a ring rot flare-up; Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating pathogen, including mandatory testing of seed lots seeking certification or re-certification. The association has zero tolerance for ring rot, rejecting any seed lots in which the disease is found. Officials also seek to trace the origin of infections. Westra said ring rot laboratory testing and field inspections eliminated 1,700 acres from the certification program in 2015. He said results from 64 percent of 2016 seed lots required to undergo testing are in, and just 10 acres have been eliminated. So far, it’s down considerably from what it has been in the last three years, Westra said. “Hopefully, it’s due to the fact that we’ve been testing, plus the industry at large is doing a better job between all of the other testing that’s done outside of the program and a greater attention to sanitation.” Capital Press

Ireland: €1m investigation into in-field sensors for barley and potato disease begins

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, with Dr Alan O’Riordan, research fellow at Tyndall National Institute. Image: Gerard McCarthyBacked with a €1m investment from the Department of Agriculture, a number of research institutions are looking to get to the bottom of crop disease. Ireland’s two most important crops are barley and potato, and disease poses a significant challenge to these and many other strands of agriculture. With that in mind, Scope, a new research project addressing the issue, brings Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Dublin City University (DCU) and Teagasc together to investigate the problem and develop an antibody-based sensor. Barley crops in Ireland suffer from Rhynchosporium commune or ‘leaf scald’, and the potato sector has experienced a significant increase in virus-based diseases, resulting in reduced yield. “A vital step in addressing barley and potato crop disease is the implementation of adequate surveillance strategies so that rapid, in-field diagnosis can be made,” said Dr Alan O’Riordan, research fellow at Tyndall National Institute. Irish company MagGrow developed a device last year that reduces unwanted and potentially dangerous drift from crop spraying, winning an international prize in the process. The company attaches of a series of magnetic inserts onto a sprayer and an electromagnetic charge is infused into the liquid spray, resulting in targeted attraction. More

US: LifeGard foliar applied biological plant activator registered by EPA

US: Select potato growers in Maine trying soil fumigation for McCain Foods

A potato field in Wicklow, New Brunswick, across the border from Mars Hill, being fumigated with chloropicrin in the fall of the 2015, as part of a trial McCain Foods is conducting with its processing potato growers on both sides of the border.McCain Foods has started trials examining soil fumigation with several of its growers in Maine. More common in western states, fumigating soil to fight nematodes and soil-borne diseases is “not something we’ve done in Maine,” Erica Fitzpatrick-Peabody, an agronomist with McCain Foods, said during the Maine Potato Conference in Caribou in January. In an effort to boost yields with its contract growers of russet processing potatoes, McCain Foods has been conducting trials of fumigation on a small number of acres with farmers who have had yield problems with nematodes, verticillium wilt and other fungal soil pests. McCain has been conducting similar trials with its growers in Canada. The range of fungicides and insecticides farmers already apply to potatoes throughout the growing season “aren’t providing adequate control for soil-borne diseases,” Fitzpatrick-Peabody said. Growers could use fumigation selectively to target fields that have had soil-borne disease problems, according to Chad Hutchinson, director of research with the TriEst Ag Group, a company that specializes in fumigation and provided the chloropicrin to growers in the McCain trials. More

Potato Conference for Washington and Oregon

Last week, many potato growers from across the state as well as Oregon gathered at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference which was held in Kennewick at the Three Rivers Convention Center. Field Reporter KayDee Gilkey visited with BASF Technical Service Representative Curtis Rainbolt about disease solutions offered through BASF’s total potato protection portfolio. Rainbolt: “Priaxor fungicide is one of the newest products BASF has in our potato portfolio and it offers really good control of rhizoctonia in furrow at planting. Priaxor funcide has two modes of action — both a group seven and a group eleven fungicide. Both are active against a wide range of pathogens and will give you really good disease control. But the group eleven in Priaxor is known for its plant health benefits which can help with periods of heat and water stress in the plants.” More