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Second PCN Finding Made in Eastern Idaho

A second potato cyst nematode (PCN) finding has been made in eastern Idaho, in a field bordering the one where the first finding was made.

Located in northern Bingham County, the two fields of 45 acres and 60 acres border each other, according to an update by Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

As officials have believed all along, the PCN infestation in eastern Idaho is isolated, he said. Of more than 5,400 additional samples taken since April, all have been negative for PCN except for those from the two fields.

Hoffman said additional surveillance would continue.

Goals of the APHIS-led investigation include preventing the spread of the PCN, delimiting the current infestation, restoring lost foreign markets and preserving current markets.

Idaho and the entire U.S. potato industry are taking this finding seriously because Canada, Mexico and Korea have stopped importation of Idaho potatoes, Hoffman said. Japan has stopped importation of U.S. potatoes. Canadian and Japanese agricultural officials are planning visits to Idaho in August to review progress in the PCN Response and Recovery Program.

A trace of a possible seed source for the first positive finding has been completed but did not yield any helpful information. Investigation into the seed source of the second positive finding is progressing.

Investigators continue to examine other possibilities for introduction of PCN into Idaho including imported farm equipment, nursery stock, foreign flower bulbs, illicit potato seed importation and others.

In addition, a survey of unassociated fields in eastern Idaho and a plan for a statewide voluntary survey are being developed.

The survey work began after cysts from the pale cyst nematode were found in tare soil in an Idaho packing plant. That finding was announced April 19. Field soil samples located one field June 13 and the second July 12. The announcement of the second finding was made July 26.

The two positive fields are under federal restrictions (no more potatoes to be planted, no soil to leave and equipment to be cleaned). Plans are being developed to provide safeguards when the current crop of potatoes from the second positive field is transported to a nearby processing plant.

Originally posted Friday, Jul. 28, 2006

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