Report: More Potato Disease Bacteria Discovered in Magic Valley


This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that more potato disease bacteria have been discovered in Idaho farm fields. The latest findings come in the wake of a June 19 discovery of the bacterium that causes zebra chip, a disease that damages potatoes by causing flecking of the flesh of the tuber. A recent zebra chip infestation caused millions of dollars worth of crop loss in the nation's Southwest.

The Times-News reports that two potato samples, collected July 3 in Twin Falls County, tested positive for so-called "psyllids," which can carry a bacterium known as "liberibacter."

"We don’t want people to panic,” Erik Wenninger, an entomologist with the University of Idaho told the Times-News. “We definitely want people to be aware of this issue. They should stay vigilant and keep a close eye on what is going on in their fields.”

But Wenninger said Idaho's recent heat wave may help potato farmers.

“Both the psyllids and the bacterium tend to not do well with high temperatures,” he said.