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Late blight concern for PEI potato farmers

Late blight (Phytophthora Infestans) on a potato leaf
September 7, 2014
The number of cases of a late blight (Phytophthora infestans) continues to grow on Prince Edward Island.

So far, 13 cases of late blight have been confirmed in some potato fields in Freetown, Breadalbane, Summerside, Spring Valley, Wilmot Valley, New Haven, Knutsford and Kensington. It has also been confirmed in tomato plants in the Charlottetown and Brookfield areas.

Late blight is a serious fungus that can affect a number of crops, but potatoes and tomatoes in particular.

Gary Linkletter is chair of the P.E.I. potato board and calls this strain of blight an aggressive one.

“The windy, damp weather has been great for blight conditions so there is a bit more than we like to see,” he said. “I would think there's been quite a few more cases. I know we reported our first one to the lab here on our farm and we've had two or three other fields show up since then.”

Linkletter said extra measures are needed to deal with late blight, such as using more expensive sprays, increasing the spray schedule and top killing areas affected. That’s bad news for producers who will see those costs impacted on their bottom line.
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The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is looking after the interests of the potato industry on Prince Edward Island.