Potato Research

Potato Research

View our research related to potatoes in pest management and crop production. We welcome your feedback and questions.

Early Blight & Brown Leaf Spot of Potato

Early Blight & Brown Leaf Spot of Potato

Early blight (caused by Alternaria solani) is a common problem in southern Idaho.  This disease can destroy leaves and cause tuber blemishes after harvest.  Varieties differ in susceptibility to this disease.  Additionally, plant fertility is an important component to reducing the severity of disease.  Many fungicides are available which can help suppress disease to manageable levels.  A related disease called brown leaf spot (caused by Alternaria alternata) can also be problematic on potatoes, but this is not seen often in southern Idaho.  More information on our recent research in this area can be found here.



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Pink Rot of Potato

Pink Rot of Potato

Pink rot of potato is caused primarily by the Oomycete pathogen Phytophthora erythroseptica.  This organism lives in the soil and infects potato roots, stolons, and tubers.  This disease can cause significant losses in the field and in storage.  More information on how to manage pink rot can be found in this section.



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Late Blight of Potato

Late Blight of Potato

Late blight (caused by Phytophthora infestans) may be the most destructive pathogen of potato with respect to the effect this disease has had upon human history.  Late blight was the biological cause of the Irish potato famine in the mid-1800's.  The disease still can cause significant crop loss today.  Many management options are available for managing potato late blight.



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White Mold of Potato

White Mold of Potato

White mold is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.  The fungus can survive for several years in the soil as hard black bodies called sclerotia.  This fungus can also infect dry beans, canola, and over 400 other plant species.  



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Rhizoctonia Canker & Black Scurf of Potato

Rhizoctonia Canker & Black Scurf of Potato

Rhizoctonia solani attacks the underground stems, stolons, roots, and tubers of the potato plant.  Stems and stolons can be cut off by severe, girdling lesions.  This can lead to a reduction in tuber number and a decrease in tuber quality.



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Silver Scurf of Potato

Silver Scurf of Potato

Silver scurf is a surface blemish caused by the fungus Helminthosporium solani.  In addition to affecting the appearance of the tuber, the lesions on the tuber skin result in increased moisture loss in storage. 



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Potato Insect Control

Potato Insect Control

Insect pests such as Colorado potato beetles, aphids, potato psyllids, and wireworms can cause significant damage to potatoes. Information on identifying and managing these pests can be found here.



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Bacterial Ring Rot

Bacterial Ring Rot

Bacterial ring rot (BRR) is caused by the bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus.



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Two sessions on potato disease management were held at the 2013 Idaho Potato Conference in Pocatello, ID on January 24.  See the attachment below for slides relating to some of the topics that were discussed in the sessions.

See how different fungicide regimes performed against early blight and white mold for disease control, yield, and economic return.

When Quadris was introduced for managing foliar diseases of potatoes in 1998, growers' ability to control early blight increased dramatically.  Other strobilurin products have followed.  Recently fungicide resistance has been observed for isolates of the early blight fungus.  What does this mean for using strobilurin fungicides in the field?

2012 was a relatively light year for pink rot in our research trials.  However, we did see significant disease control with phosphorous acid (Resist 57).

Many different tools are required to manage pink rot appropriately, including irrigation, fungicides, and post-harvest treatments.  This presentation outlines some of our recent research in these areas.

Pink rot has been reported in some fields this season. Learn more about pink rot and leak management here.

You didn't make any fungicide applications to deal with pink rot.  However, in late July or early August you find some pink rot in the field.  Is it too late? Can you still apply fungicides and get some level of disease control?

There are a lot of fungicides available for managing late blight. One of the attached articles discusses what to use and how to use it. The other lists steps growers can take approaching harvest and going into storage.

The use of protectant fungicides can increase the incidence of white mold in potatoes.

Fungicide choice, application method, and timing of application are important in managing white mold of potato.

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