Managing and controlling potato diseases is a complex task for growers, but thanks to efforts by plant pathologists at Michigan State University, their job has gotten a bit easier.



Farmers now have access to eight bulletins, a pocket-sized scouting guide and a Web site that they can refer to for help in identifying and controlling potato diseases.



Willie Kirk and Phill Wharton, plant pathologists at MSU, developed the Web site, http://www.potatodiseases.org,  and scouting guide, "Pocket Guide to Disease Scouting in Michigan Potatoes" (bulletin E-2998), as reference tools to help farmers identify common potato diseases in Michigan.



"Our goal is to provide the state's potato growers with the science-based information they need to make decisions to control and prevent potato diseases," Wharton says.



The scouting guide was developed as a pocket reference text for use in disease scouting in potato fields.



Growers may refer to the bulletins or the Web site for control options once a disease is confirmed in their fields. Wharton says the Web site is basically an electronic version of the printed bulletins. It provides up-to-date recommendations, news, alerts and the same basic information as the scouting guide. The eight bulletins are:

  • "Late Blight" (bulletin E-2945),
  • "White Mold" (E-2989),
  • "Common Scab of Potato" (E-2990),
  • "Early Blight" (E-2991),
  • "Fusarium Dry Rot" (E-2992),
  • "Pink Rot" (E-2993),
  • "Rhizoctonia Stem Canker and Black Scurf of Potato" (E-2994) and
  • "Potato Seed Health Management" (E-2995).

The late blight bulletin costs $2; the others cost $1.50 each. The scouting guide, "A Pocket Guide to Disease Scouting in Michigan Potatoes" (E-2998), costs $10 per copy.



Bulletins can be downloaded as PDFs at http://www.potatodiseases.org/extensionpubs.html or purchased through the MSU Bulletin Office, http://www.emdc.msue.msu.edu/