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,,  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 or purchased through the MSU Bulletin Office,