The Plant Pathology Department at North Dakota State University will again be providing the potato Blightline service at no charge to the potato industry of North Dakota and western Minnesota in 2012. Based on the amount of late blight found in 2011, there is a good chance that late blight will be present in 2012 if conditions are favorable.
The NDSU Blightline is the first place to go to get the most recent blight updates and management information.
This will be the 18th year that this service has been provided by NDSU and sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection. The hotline uses local weather data collected from weather stations throughout our area to forecast the occurrence and spread of late blight in 15 non-irrigated and 12 irrigated production areas in North Dakota and western Minnesota. The data is processed by the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) and analyzed by a computer program (WISDOM) to forecast when conditions are favorable for late blight to occur.
The forecast information is used by plant pathologists Gary Secor and Neil Gudmestad to make late blight management and fungicide recommendations. The recommendations are made Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week during the growing season. The first late blight hotline was Friday, June 1, and it is anticipated that the Blightline will continue through mid-September depending on disease pressure.
The Blightline will also be used to confirm reported late blight sightings and serve as a clearing house for national late blight information. In addition to late blight forecasting, the hotline also provides cumulative P-values (probabilities) for early blight disease forecasting and management recommendations. Finally, it serves to alert growers of other disease and insect news, as well as posting messages of general interest such as potato field day dates.
The hotline recommendations can be accessed by phone or website. The toll-free phone number is (888) 482-7286.