Published online: Oct 19, 2010 Potato Harvesting, Herbicide, Insecticide, Fungicide, Potato Equipment
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Focus on Potato-a new potato industry resource developed to help growers and consultants grow healthier, higher yielding potato crops-has published its latest webcast. This presentation, titled Aphid Management in Potatoes by Juan Manuel Alvarez, Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Idaho, will help consultants, growers, and other practitioners in the United States to develop a better understanding about aphids, which are considered major potato pests in the U.S. 
Aphids cause direct damage to potatoes by feeding on the phloem of the plant.
Occasionally, high densities can kill plants. More importantly, aphids transmit viruses that cause serious diseases on potato plants that reduce the yield and quality of potatoes. This presentation introduces concepts that help identifying the most important potato colonizing and non-colonizing aphid species in several parts of the U.S.
The information presented on the management of aphids includes cultural, biological and chemical control methods. Managing aphids successfully, using any method, depends on being able to reliably monitor aphid populations in the field.
The presentation also includes recommendations on how to scout for aphids, as well as brief explanations about the two most economically important viruses that affect potatoes: Potato Leafroll Virus (PLRV) and Potato Virus Y (PVY).
Understanding how aphids transmit the two viruses is critical in the management of this pest to prevent virus infections.
Even the most intense aphid control may not prevent spread of viruses unless measures are also taken to keep virus-source plants at a minimum. Information is also presented about an omnipresent weed plant in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. that is in the same family as the potato, the hairy nightshade, which is not only a preferred host for potato colonizing aphids but also an additional inoculum source for PLRV and PVY. 
Research in Idaho has demonstrated that hairy nightshade might play a major role in the epidemiology of potato viruses. The presentation includes a section on this important weed plant that is currently present in many potato-growing regions of the US.
Since at this time most of the aphid management in potatoes is done with insecticides, the final part of the presentation is dedicated to chemical control and includes recommended chemistries that not only kill the aphids but also prevent virus transmission.
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