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Potato disease found in Bingham County

Potato disease found in Bingham County

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho - University of Idaho seed potato specialists said Thursday that they have detected late blight in potato crops in Bingham County.

"Late blight is still considered to be the most serious disease of potatoes on a worldwide basis," said University of Idaho seed potato specialist Dr. Phill Nolte.

Experts say although the disease is not harmful to humans, it affects the foliage of the potato and the tubers in the ground. Spores from the disease can be carried with the wind, moving from farm to farm. Nolte said Idaho's desert climate isn't ideal for the disease to grow, but recent weather has improved its opportunity to spread and grow.

"It's likely to always have some somewhere, but if you don't have the right environmental conditions, the disease will remain confined," he said. "It's only when we have unseasonably wet weather that we begin to see problems with it in Idaho."

Experts said it would have been better for the disease to hit later in the season because the disease can be killed by burning the vines. This time of year experts say the only preventative measures farmers can take is confining it through spray treatments.

It can also travel to tomatoes and private gardens. The university recommends that those with a smaller garden contact their local garden store for preventative solutions.

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