Diseases
Syngenta Canada announces the registration of Vibrance Ultra Potato as a new seed treatment for the supression of pink rot and control of other seed and soil-borne diseases, including late blight. 
Published in News
Research that would help determine what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario is underway, according to Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board.
Published in Diseases
Health Canada is proposing to cancel all uses of mancozeb, except for use on greenhouse tobacco, due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. The re-evaluation removes the exception that allowed foliar application of mancozeb on potatoes.
Published in News
Pythium leak has been observed in a number of fields in Ontario this harvest season, according to Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board.
Published in Diseases
A new strain of late blight, US-25, has been identified in New York state, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.
Published in Diseases
Weather conditions in P.E.I. are prime for early blight spread and growers should consider applying preventative fungicides now, according to P.E.I. Potato Agronomy's update.
Published in Diseases
Early harvest for potatoes continues in southwest Ontario, while crops in central Ontario are still blooming or going down, according to Eugenia Banks' potato update. 
Published in Harvesting
The results from Ontario spore traps are negative for late blight in Alliston, Shelburne and Simcoe-Delhi areas as of July 31, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.
Published in Diseases
An automated spore trap has been developed in the U.K. which could change the way disease monitoring is done for crops and help farmers target fungicide applications better. 
Published in Diseases
Ontario's hot weather keeps late blight in check but some growers are seeing sunburnt stems and heat stress in their potato crop. 
Published in Diseases
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) completed its re-evaluation of mancozeb and found the continued registration of products containing mancozeb acceptable for foliar application to potatoes in Canada.
Published in Diseases
The results from Ontario spore traps, in Alliston, Leamington, Simcoe-Delhi, and Shelburne areas, returned negative detecting no late blight spores, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.
Published in Diseases
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers in Fredericton, N.B. are exploring environmentally friendly solutions to manage Potato Early Dying complex (PED), a disease that is limiting yields in many potato fields in eastern Canada.

PED is a disease complex caused by a combination of a fungal disease (Verticillium wilt) and root-lesion nematodes.

With few available treatments, a process called biofumigation is being used by some growers to manage PED. The process involves tilling mustard plants into the soil at a specific stage of growth with enough heat and moisture in the ground to induce a chemical breakdown of the plant material.

“As the mustard decomposes, it releases a chemical that reduces Verticillium wilt pathogens without adverse effects on the environment,” explains Dahu Chen, AAFC plant pathologist at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre.

As a side-effect, mustard biofumigation also delivers green compost into the soil, improving soil health. There is some evidence that the severity of PED symptoms is reduced in healthy soils.

“The disease has been around for a long time, but it is now identified to be a major factor limiting tuber yield in New Brunswick,” says Chen, who is studying the problem with colleague, AAFC researcher Bernie Zebarth. 

“The pathogen can survive in the soil for a long time, even through the harshest winter conditions of eastern Canada,” explains Chen.

Chen and Zebarth are now working with industry partners, including Potatoes NB and McCain Foods Canada, to determine the effectiveness of mustard biofumigation through trials in commercial fields.

In addition, crop rotations that reduce the severity of PED symptoms are being examined in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island by Potatoes NB, McCain Foods Canada, the PEIPotatoBoard, the NB Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries and the PEI Department of Agriculture.

Dr Chen examines leaves of potato plant
Dahu Chen, AAFC plant pathologist, examines the leaves of a potato plant for signs of disease. (Photo courtesy of AAFC)



Published in Diseases
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 Affaris (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 indepth 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.”
Published in Crop Protection
Potato virus Y (PVY) affects both yield and the quality of the crop, making it one of the most dangerous diseases faced by commercial potato producers. Spread by aphids and through infected seed lots, PVY has been managed with varying levels of success by Canadian growers for many years, but the rise of more aggressive and faster-spreading strains has made it even more challenging to control.
Published in Diseases
As spring arrives, potato growers are concerned about Dickeya, and Eugenia Banks, the Ontario potato specialist, has some points of interest to share.

Potato seed infected late in the season with Dickeya (new blackleg) usually does not show symptoms in the field before harvest nor in seed storages. This is because Dickeya requires high temperatures for the development of visible symptoms. The optimum temperature for Dickeya is above 25 C. 

By contrast, the old blackleg (Pectobacterium) can develop at cool temperatures (8 C to 10 C), and symptoms are usually visible when cutting seed.

Banks says she received two questions about Dickeya: 

Q: If dormant infection of Dickeya is suspected, could you incubate a sample of tubers at 25 C to 30 C so the tubers will show Dickeya symptoms in about 2 weeks?
A: Banks asked Steve Johnson (Maine) and Gary Secor (North Dakota) this question and both said no. It takes more than two weeks for the symptoms to develop. Banks says the first time she saw Dickeya symptoms developing from seed tubers with dormant infection was in late June (the seed tubers had been planted by the middle of May), and both Johnson and Secor agree. 

Q: Are Dickeya lesions smelly?
A: We all know how smelly the old blackleg is. The slimy, black stems smell like rotten fish, a disgusting smell noticeable at least 30 feet away from an infected plant. Usually Dickeya is not smelly. The bacterium grows inside the stem moving up in the vascular tissue. Dickeya-infected stems are usually dark brown, not inky black, slimy and smelly like the old blackleg. Eventually, the infected stems may be invaded by secondary bacteria that cause a black rot. If, shortly after emergence, you see small, wilted plants with a black stem base, it is probably the old blackleg. If the summer is cool and wet, probably the old blackleg will prevail. In hot summers, Dickeya will be the prevalent disease (wilted foliage is also a symptom of Dickeya).
Published in Diseases
Chemicals in the leaves of potato plants, produced naturally by the plant, may hold the key to a new way in controlling Colorado potato beetles. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist, Helen Tai (pictured here) has turned to the leaves growing on wild potato relatives – leaves that Colorado potato beetles won’t eat – as a new approach to keep the pest away.
Published in News
After a final holding temperature is achieved in storage, it is important to ventilate properly in order to manage the byproducts of respiration, ensure a uniform temperature and an ideal environment for the duration of the storage period, which will maximize the value of the crop.
Published in Storage
What potato grower wouldn’t want to add dollars to their bottom line? By reducing the bruising that occurs during harvest by one percent, thousands of dollars could be added to the bank, according to research completed at the University of Maine. The solution is to minimize the potential for bruising before the harvester enters the field, but growers in a hurry often overlook this most basic crop management rule.

Published in Storage
Syngenta Canada Inc. has announced Orondis Ultra fungicide is now available in a premix formulation for added convenience.
Published in Diseases
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