LATE BLIGHT AFFECTING MAINE GROWERS

Published online: Aug 15, 2011 Fungicide
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The rainy spring and summer have put a damper on the Aroostook County potato growing season, but the head of the Maine Potato Board said Wednesday that the industry remains optimistic about this year's crop.

Don Flannery, executive director of the board, said that one consequence of the rainy weather has been the discovery of late blight in central Aroostook.

According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, late blight has been found in Bridgewater, Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Limestone and Caswell. It is not widespread, but fields are being sprayed with protective fungicides, according to the Cooperative Extension.

"We have found late blight, but it was found early," Flannery said on Wednesday. "That is a good thing, because the earlier you find it, the better. Where it has been found, growers have taken corrective measures. This has not stopped the spread of it completely, and the weather isn't helping, because we can't get out to spray and get things dried up. But this is by no means an epidemic, and growers and industry officials are watching the fields closely."

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