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David Sparks Ph.d Late potato blight
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: September 14, 2018

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Potato blight is caused by a fungus called Phytophthora infestans, which can spread to other members of the potato family, including tomatoes. It spreads through the air and develops when the weather conditions are warm and humid, particularly during a Smith Period. I learned about a potato blight hotline that farmers can call to find out about the status of potato blight in their area. I talked with Syngenta spokesperson Dr. Kiran Shetty: “Specifically potato late blight is what we are talking about. it is caused by a fungus called Phytophthora infestans. It is well known and has a long history going back to the years when the Irish famine it and people migrated. The pathogen is well-suited for certain conditions. It moves into potato production in several ways. It can be a lingering impact from the previous season aggravated by weather conditions, sometimes cultural practices or the lack thereof, can induce the infection into the succeeding year. Growers need to learn about the disease and the modern techniques and procedures we have in place help us to prepare and also protect the crop as we see necessary. It can be devastating. You have to stay ahead of the disease. The pathogen can impact the crop in several stages from the seed to the young plant that is emerging from the seed and it can impact the growing plants and also impacts at harvest and into storage.

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