Listen in as Dr. Julie Pasche of North Dakota State University discusses the Alternaria pathogen with host Ed Zaworski in this “I See Dead Plants” podcast. Alternaria causes early blight and brown leaf spot in potatoes.
Potato agriculture is fascinating because different types of potatoes are grown for so many uses. Since potatoes are American’s number one vegetable, you will find them in 83% of menus in restaurants across the United States. However, the potato dishes vary dramatically, and it is interesting to explore the culture of how potatoes are used. Just like apples, potatoes are judged by their looks, with some going to the consumer shelf and others being used for cut products like hash browns or tater tots.
To continue enjoying all these potato dishes, it is important to be able to continue growing healthy potato plants and to be able to avoid diseases while storing potatoes as well. Starting with healthy seed potatoes is essential, but because seed potatoes are also potatoes, diseases must be avoided for multiple years in order to have a successful seed potato harvest. Growers who grow seed potatoes often have quarantine measures in place to prevent disease from being spread to their farms.
By some counts, there are over 40 diseases that can impact potato yields and profits. Alternaria is one pathogen and can cause early blight and brown leaf spot in potato crops. While it is not the most dramatic or damaging, it does tend to occur and affect production every year. It is important to know how to manage Alternaria, for effective management and potato storage and also to help protect the efficacy of management options as long as possible.