The 50th annual Idaho Seed Potato Growers Seminar offered optimism and information on how using certified seed is decreasing a variety of potato diseases. The seminar is the kickoff to the annual Idaho Potato Conference at Idaho State University.
Alan Westra, southeast area manager of Idaho Falls, Idaho Crop Association, spoke on the annual seed experiments in Hawaii. Certified seed is carefully cleaned to prevent transferring such diseases as leaf roll, ring rot, mosaic, blackleg, PVY and similar diseases.
The spotlight on planting certified seed has increased through the years because planting diseased seed has proved to not only damage the existing crop but to contaminate the ground where planting occurs and to spread to other fields.
“The key to controlling disease is to start with clean seed,” Westra said. “Producers are more aware of the need to plant clean, tested seed and to decontaminate all equipment to discourage the spread of various diseases.”
“The 2018 seed health appears to be steady from 2017,” Westra said. “The fields with visually detectible PVY levels decreased slightly compared to last year. There were no cases of ring rot during field inspections.”
Westra said using clean certified seed has significantly reduced and nearly eliminated common potato disease.