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Good news, so far, from NDSU Potato Blightline

No news is good news, at least when it comes to late blight.

The new North Dakota State University Potato Blightline, released June 22, finds no reported cases of late blight in the region. The highly contagious fungus -- which caused the disastrous Irish potato famine in the 1840s and can hurt both yields and quality -- has been a concern in recent years in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Syngenta Crop Protection sponsors the NDSU Blightline, a hotline that collects local weather data to forecast the occurrence and spread of late blight in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, based in East Grand Forks, Minn., notes that wet and cool conditions in June have been conducive to development of the crop disease.

The group reminds growers to destroy cull piles, which can be a source of late blight and other diseases. Growers also are urged to scout their fields "early and all season" for late blight.

For more information on the NDSU Blightline, go to www.ndawn.ndsu.nodak.edu. Click on "applications" on the left-hand side and then click again on the "potatoes" drop-down box.

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