Nov 26, 2013
Controlling PCN in Idaho

Pale cyst nematode (PCN) continues to be a problem in the Idaho counties of Bingham and Bonneville. There are currently a total of 13,053 regulated acres, with 2,300 infested acres and 10,753 associated acres. Potatoes cannot be grown in infested fields.

In 2006 PCN was detected by the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in southern Bonneville and northern Bingham counties.

PCN spreads with the movement of soil and can remain dormant in soil for 20 to 30 years until it comes in contact with a growing potato plant, which it needs to feed and reproduce.

All equipment used in regulated fields is required by APHIS and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) to be power washed before leaving the field. Additionally, equipment used in infested fields must be steam sanitized at a separate site.

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) received two grants from the 2008 Farm Bill, totaling $95,461, that IPC used to fund two projects to help mitigate the spread of PCN.

One grant, for $52,090, was used to build seven trailers equipped with power washers for use in cleaning equipment on all regulated fields. The trailers are available, free of charge, through the IPC.

The second grant, for $43,371, was used to build a steam sanitation pad on GPOD property. Growers or any commercial enterprise can bring equipment used on infested fields to the site, after power washing the equipment at the field, where APHIS will supervise steam sanitation of the equipment.

View a video of Travis Blacker, IPC industry relations director, and Kevin Searle, GPOD general manager, discussing the sanitation program here.

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