Potatoes in Canada

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Late blight spore traps up and running in Ontario


June 11, 2018
By Potatoes in Canada

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Eight spore traps have been set up in potato fields across Ontario to help detect spores of late blight, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.

Two spore traps are located in the Shelburne-Melancthon areas at D & C Vander Zaag Farms Ltd. and two others in the Alliston area at Mark and Shawn Murphy Farms. In the Delhi area, two spore traps are set up at Joe Lach’s Farm and Fancy Pak Brand Inc. The final two spore traps are located in the Leamington area at Harry Bradley and Sons Farm.

Alliance Agri-Turf, Bayer CropScience, FS Partners, Holmes Agro and Syngenta provided funding for the 2018 late blight spore trap project.

A&L Laboratories in London, Ont. will conduct the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to identify the presence of late blight spores.

The results will be shared with growers and positive PCR tests indicate the presence of spores. Early detection helps alert growers to add late blight-specific fungicides into their mix.

In the past two years, Eugenia Banks, a former potato specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), led a project evaluating passive spore trapping technology to help growers improve late blight management. The project recorded positive results. Spores were detected 15 days on average before late blight lesions were seen in a few fields. A previous Potatoes in Canada article goes in-depth into the project and how effective spore traps are for preventing late blight.

“Spore traps represent another tool to be added to the potato growers’ arsenal to combat late blight,” Banks says. “If late blight spores are not detected by the traps, growers should still follow a preventative fungicide program and apply a fungicide spray before rows close. Also, fields should be scouted regularly.”