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Published September 23, 2009, 08:01 AM

Potato blight outbreak averted

Officials say the threat of widespread potato blight in the Red River Valley appears to be over, at least for this year.

By: Associated Press,

GRAND FORKS — Officials say the threat of widespread potato blight in the Red River Valley appears to be over, at least for this year.

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association and North Dakota State University say no new cases have been reported the past few days, though farmers are cautioned to continue to watch for the disease.

The disease was confirmed in August in northeastern North Dakota's Grand Forks County. Potato growers were told to scout their fields and to spray a preventative fungicide to head off an outbreak.

Officials say those efforts appear to have paid off, though blight could survive in seed, culls and volunteers and surface again next year.

A 1999 outbreak of blight in the Northern Plains destroyed $125 million worth of potatoes.

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