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Published July 07, 2010, 01:36 PM

Late blight found on Walsh Co. potatoes

Disease can hurt yields, quality
Late blight has been found on potatoes in Walsh County, North Dakota’s leading potato producer.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Late blight has been found on potatoes in Walsh County, North Dakota’s leading potato producer.

The disease is “very serious” and can hurt both yields and quality, said Nick David, extension potato agronomist for North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota.

Late blight has the potential to grow rapidly out of control, so producers need to scout fields and apply fungicides as needed, he said.

Producers who find a suspicious sample should put it in a plastic bag, keep it cool and bring it to the plant pathology department at NDSU in Fargo for immediate confirmation, he said.

He also urged potato producers to destroy cull piles of flowering potato plants and volunteer potatoes in wheat fields because the piles are a potential source of inoculum.

Cool, wet conditions this spring led to late blight, David said.

The disease occurs only rarely in North Dakota, with outbreaks last year and in 1994.

This year’s outbreak comes two months earlier in the growing season than a year ago, giving the disease more time to potentially damage growing potato plants, David said.

Late blight was found earlier this summer in Dickey County, in southeastern North Dakota.

The disease also has been found in southern Manitoba. So far, it has not been found in Minnesota.

Warm, dry weather would help to control the disease, David said.

Information: www.ndsu.edu/potato_pathology or call (888) 482-7286.

Reach Knutson at (701) 780-1111; (800) 477-6572, ext. 111; or send e-mail to jknutson@agweek.com.

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