For the 13th season in a row, North Dakota State University's plant pathology department will provide a potato blight-line free of charge.

The hotline uses local weather data collected from weather stations throughout the area to forecast the occurrence and spread of late blight in 14 non-irrigated and nine irrigated production areas in North Dakota and western Minnesota. The data is processed by the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network—NDAWN—and analyzed by a computer program to forecast when conditions are favorable for late blight development.

The forecast information is used by university plant pathologist Gary Secor and Neil Gudmestad,
to make late blight management and fungicide recommendations. The recommendations are made each Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the growing season.

The hotline recommendations can be accessed on the Web at Click on the applications button and scroll down to the potato section. The hotline phone number is (888) 482-7286.

The hotline will continue through mid-September, depending on disease pressure. The hotline also will be used to confirm late blight infection and serve as a clearinghouse for national late blight

In addition to late blight forecasting, the hotline provides cumulative P-values for early blight disease forecasting and management recommendations. It also alerts growers of other
disease and insect news, as well as posting messages of general interest, such as potato field day dates.

The NDAWN Web site for potato disease forecasting contains colored maps to illustrate the late blight severity values (both two-day and seasonal), favorable day values and P-day values for early blight.

Growers and scouts are encouraged to send suspected late blight samples for positive identification. Leaf samples should be placed in a slightly inflated plastic resealable storage bag without a wet towel and sent to Gary Secor, NDSU Walster Hall, Room 306, Fargo, ND

The blightline service is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection.