University of Idaho agricultural researchers have dramatically increased the scope of their potato psyllid monitoring program to also include weekly checks of yellow sticky traps placed around 90 commercial potato fields throughout the state.
To accommodate the increased workload, University of Idaho entomologist Erik Wenninger's staff has grown to now include two full-time members and five part-time summer workers, with plans to add a sixth summer employee. Private crop consultants will help collect the four sticky traps that will be used to detect psyllids in each of the commercial fields.
"The idea is to cover more ground," Wenninger said. "What we found last year is the potato psyllids were patchily distributed. There were some hot spots and not-so-hot spots. We want to sample more fields and account for that patchy distribution."
Similar to last season, Wenninger's team will also utilize 13 fields, each surrounded by 10 sticky cards, for more intensive scouting. In those fields-including four in Treasure Valley, five in Magic Valley and four in eastern Idaho-vacuums will also sample psyllids, and 100 leaf samples will be taken regularly from each field for laboratory analysis.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press