Reducing the Consistency of White Mold in Potatoes

{Sponsored} In areas where white mold is a problem, potato farmers can count on it showing up year after year. Disease pressure tends to be consistent because the sclerotia phase of white mold is long-lived in soil. It also grows on other host crops, such as dry beans, so crop rotation is often ineffective at controlling the disease. In Idaho, for example, potato farmers must be especially mindful of a dry bean to potato rotation since both crops are highly susceptible to white mold.

What can potato farmers do to mitigate the effects of white mold on their potato crop?

We talked to Curtis Rainbolt, Technical Service Representative at BASF, who specializes in potato disease education. “Be aware of field history; if you know white mold has been a problem in the past, you can anticipate you’ll have to deal with it in the future when you switch that field back to potatoes,” said Rainbolt.

White mold development and its life cycle are very complex. What farmers need to know is that once the temperature and humidity are right for white mold to germinate and produce mushroom-like spores, farmers need to be ready to react and protect their plants.

If farmers wait for visual signs of white mold, it will often be too late to protect the crop.

When farming in a field with a history of white mold, Rainbolt recommends that, for best results, farmers follow a strict spray schedule when applying Endura® fungicide. The first application needs to happen between row closure and first trash, which is when the first blooms fall to the soil. The second application must follow 14 days later.

“Once the spray covers the blooms, you will be in pretty good shape. But it is a very specific window that you must hit for optimal protection,” said Rainbolt. “Farmers have used Endura fungicide for multiple years and are familiar with its strong performance,” he added.

When plant leaves and flowers are infected by the disease, this can be detrimental for a crop. “The flowers are an ideal host for the spores,” said Rainbolt. White mold needs dead plant matter in order to flourish because its spores cannot take hold in living plant matter.

When a dead bloom infected with white mold falls onto the stem in the potato canopy during first trash, the fungus grows and spreads to the living potato tissue. When farmers see white mold on the plants or flowers, it may already be too late, so it is imperative that farmers apply Endura fungicide preventatively, rather than reactively after there are visible signs of the disease.

Also, it is important to be aware of the amount of water the field is getting. If farmers can avoid overwatering, white mold pressure will be reduced. This will help Endura fungicide be even more effective. “It’s a fine line, though. Watering needs to be adequate for crop protection and yield, of course,” explained Rainbolt.

In addition to controlling white mold, Endura fungicide is also effective against early blight. The application timing for either disease is prior to infection, so you’re doing double duty protecting your crops by using Endura fungicide.

A comprehensive crop protection plan is always important for growing the healthiest tubers possible.

Always read and follow label directions.

Endura fungicide is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2018 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.

ADVERTISEMENT | c. 2018 BASF Corporation

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