No News Is Good News In Idaho

Published online: May 22, 2006
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No positive readings have turned up in the effort to trace a single find of a potato cyst nematode in an eastern Idaho packing plant during routine soil tare sampling in April.

While that is good news as the number of samples is going well over 3,000, it still leaves the lingering question: where did the one cyst come from?

Wayne Hoffman, spokesman for the Idaho State Dept. of Agriculture, said today that sampling and testing will continue through the cooperative efforts of APHIS and the ISDA.

Hoffman said sampling is following similar soil types as that found with the first cyst. With the two original suspect fields sampled with no findings, the effort will continue in neighboring fields or those of the same soil type.

Again, the question remains: could the cyst have come from other sources such as clothing, equipment, on the wind or from animals?

Hoffman said the team of some 30 scientists/sample pullers are not giving up in efforts to trace the find and guarantee that no others will be found in Idaho.

Saad Hafez, of the University of Idaho's Parma, ID, Research and Extension Center, said he has about 15,000 samples in his lab waiting to be tested. He now has eight technicians to help run them.