April 5, 2019

Potato Operation Grapples With Devastating Yield Loss As A Result Of Disease

The Challenge

A large potato grower had experienced yield losses of up to 15% and was struggling to manage multiple disease symptoms that continued to surface. When he approached Trace Genomics, he hoped to get confirmation of where the disease was present in his fields and the steps he could take to prevent yield loss while mitigating disease across his operation.

Rows on Potato field


The Solution

Trace completed an analysis of pathogen and soil health levels across diseased and unaffected acres. Trace’s ability to identify and quantify all pathogens at once allowed the grower to have a clear picture of the pathogens impacting his crop.

The analysis was compiled by field and the potato grower was left with two problematic areas. In Field North Trace’s analysis showed high soil inoculum levels, which is an indication of disease risk. Trace’s analysis found Verticillium dahliae and Colletotrichum coccodes (commonly referred to as the black dot pathogen). When combined, these pathogens result in Early Dying.

While, in Field West, which had been previously sprayed with Metalaxyl, Trace’s analysis identified the pathogens that cause Pink Rot and Leak Tuber Rot disease. The potato grower had treated the area with the commonly used fungicide, but the plants had built up a resistant population to the fungicide’s active ingredient, Mefenoxam.

Results From Trace Genomics 

As a result of working with Trace, the potato grower aligned management practices to uniquely address the risks present in each field. In Field North, knowing the soil inoculum levels advised the crop rotation. This was critical for him as his typical crop rotation is potato and wheat.

In Field West, he tested the areas prior to applying the fungicide Metalaxyl. This saved him input dollars and ensured the fungicide would be effective at treating the diseased areas. For areas that were not responding to fungicide, he selected a different seed variety.

Through testing with Trace Genomics and altering his management practices, the potato grower prevented the disease and protected yield on his acres.


Curious about the diseases we look for in potatoes? Email us at marketing@tracegenomics.com