Warning new strain of potato blight could inflict serious yield reductions

A NEW strain of potato blight has been detected in Ireland, the Teagasc-IFA national potato conference was told yesterday.

First detected in Co Down in 2007, the so-called “Blue 13” strain has moved down along the east coast.

It is also spreading, though less dramatically, in Co Donegal. But it has not been found in potato growing areas of Co Cork.

Last summer, the exceptionally wet weather combined with late planting resulted in ideal blight conditions.

Steven Kildea and Denis Griffin, from Teagasc Crops Research Centre, Oakpark, Co Carlow, pointed out in a paper presented to the conference that potato blight has the potential to inflict serious yield reductions.

Blue 13 is a more virulent strain of blight and is capable of causing serious infections on potato varieties which have previously been classified as having good foliage blight resistance.

It is changing in Ireland and is currently affecting, and will continue to affect, disease control.

Increased awareness of crop management is essential, with time of planting, fungicide choice and application timing all having a greater influence on disease control programmes than before.


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