The 2018 growing season has been great for Northwest potato growers. In fact, the fear of late blight put out by Washington State University at the start of the season has not come to pass. And this point, only one case of late blight has not been reported in Columbia Basin spuds. But, that does not mean growers are out of the woods.
WSU’s Tim Waters says potato tuber month numbers have started to increase, specifically in the lower Columbia Basin, outside the Tri-Cities.
“That’s of course a pest we don’t worry about until the vines are desiccated, so if you have early harvest potatoes, you want to be watching for potato tuber month right now.”
Another pest to keep an eye on this growing season, potato psyllids. Waters said the psyllids were not reported in commercial fields in Washington until just two weeks ago.
“And I was talking with one of my USDA colleagues last week, and they started to find more potato psyllids in the over wintering hosts about two weeks ago. So, potato psyllids are something growers should be actively watching for now. And if you start to see potato psyllids on sticky yellow cards or on plants in the field, start to consider crop protection chemicals for those.”
While growers have not seen many psyllids to this point, Waters is confident numbers will increase in the coming weeks.
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