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Seed Potato Disease in Montana

Helena, MT

I posted this thread in the vegetable gardening forum but thought I would repeat it here as well since it may well be a reagonal problem shortly.

A recent article in the news paper concerning a disease called late blight caused by an oomycete pathogen has seed potato growers in Montana concerned. The disease travels on the wind and there is no cure once the crop is affected. Tomatoes, peppers and egg plants are also affected by the disease which rots the fruits. Cool, wet weather contributes to the spread of the disease and that is just what we are seeing now. Montana seed potatoes are a multi-million dollar business providing seed potatoes to a large part of the northwestern states which are responsible for much of the nationís potato production. The first sign of the disease came late last season and still had a huge effect on seed potato production. The disease is incredibly aggressive and spreads like dandelions according to the article, and can over winter in the soil. The method of prevention recommended is an early crop fungicide application but no more information was given on the subject. Apparently there are some organic preventative measures as well.

And I thought the Colorado potato beetle was my worst nightmare. I intend to do some more research on the subject and would appreciate the help of anyone else interested.

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