Jun 7, 2017$558.6K in NIFA grants awarded to research projects
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is awarding $558,600 in funding to support two research and Extension grants that address dickeya and potato early dying. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, will receive a $264,600 grant for a project titled “Development of multiplex detection methods and management tools for Dickeya dianthicola on potatoes.” In 2015, dickeya was reported for the first time in U.S. potatoes and it caused significant losses in at least 10 potato-producing states. By spring 2016, it appeared to have spread to all major potato producing states and had been found on seed potato farms in multiple states. Losses of up to 100 percent have occurred in some fields and some farms are facing bankruptcy because of this disease.
The goals of this dickeya project are: To develop improved detection methods for Dickeya dianthicola and other dickeya species. To develop improved management methods for blackleg and tuber soft rot. To provide extension information about blackleg and soft rot to seed potato farmers, commercial potato farmers, and to seed potato certification agencies.
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, will receive a $294,000 grant for a project titled “Integrating grower-maintained and publicly held data for improved management of potato early dying in the Pacific Northwest.” The primary causal organism of potato early dying (PED), Verticillium dahliae, is found practically everywhere in the Pacific Northwest and across all U.S. production regions. In any given year, verticilium, is estimated to reduce crop yields by 10-15 percent, but losses can be as high as 50 percent if environmental conditions promote disease. The black dot pathogen Colletotrichum coccodes may also be involved in the PED complex and can reportedly reduce yields by up to 30 percent. Importantly, potato growers must either manage PED using soil fumigation, which is expensive, or endure yield loss each year due to PED.
The long-term goal of the Oregon State University project is to improve the management of these two pathogens involved in PED, and reduce the reliance on soil fumigation to manage this disease complex with the following objectives:
Objective 1. To determine if crop rotation affects the incidence and severity of PED in potato fields by:
- Reducing the sensitivity of verticillium and colletotrichum present in potato fields.
- Increasing the biodegradation of fumigants by soil-living microbes, or…
- Fostering organisms that reduce disease incidence or severity.
Objective 2. To characterize soil properties that correlate with soil borne pathogen population sizes and estimate the distributions of soil borne pathogens across fields using historical data from gridded soil samples.
Objective 3. To evaluate the efficacy of bio-rational products that are currently available or being developed to reduce the impact of PED on potato yield and quality.