Syngenta and the USDA are partnering to seek solutions to the recent emergence of zebra chip in potatoes in the Pacific Northwest.
USDA Research Entomologist Dr. Joseph Munyaneza and Dr. Kiran Shetty, Syngenta's Potato Crop Specialist, led a tour for the Syngenta potato team, demonstrating ongoing research efforts and field trial results.
Zebra chip has emerged as a new epidemic and is steadily pushing into new regions, raising concern about its potential impact on yields. A 2010 USDA field trial showed yield losses of upwards of 87 percent. The speed at which a single psyllid can transmit the Liberibacter bacterium, which causes zebra chip, is disconcerting, and although zebra chip is not a threat to human health, infected potatoes become unmarketable. To aid potato farmers battling with zebra chip, a resolution is necessary and the collaboration between Syngenta and the USDA is critical to finding long-term solutions.
The Zebra Chip field day included a recent visit to the USDA Research Facility in Wapato, Wash., and a tour of field trials at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center of Oregon State University.