Idaho should consider a more stringent cap on the percentage of seed potatoes infected with potato virus Y that may be replanted for more seeds, an industry expert advised.
The current cap is 2 percent. PVY is an aphid-spread disease that reduces both crop yields and size profile.
"Two percent is way too much," University of Idaho extension seed potato specialist Phillip Nolte said. "I think these are some rules we're going to have to take a hard look at as we get a handle on this virus."
Nolte has found most growers are reluctant to recertify seeds with even 0.5 percent PVY.
He noted Idaho's PVY problem has declined since the state implemented a mandatory winter testing program that's provided growers better information.
Nolte also cautions against buying seeds from states that don't require winter laboratory testing as infections can occur in the fall, after crops have passed field inspections.