Potato Growers, Sign Up for the Potato Late Blight Decision Support System Today!

Nathan Kleczewski, Extension Specialist – Plant Pathology; nkleczew@udel.edu

With potatoes starting to go into the ground, it is important that growers and consultants start to prepare for late blight during the growing season. Last year, we worked with Cornell University to incorporate weather data from DEOS weather stations throughout the state in their online late blight Decision Support System (DSS). We have since worked to remove any DEOS stations that are not representative of agronomic settings to improve accuracy.

To enroll in the DSS, do the following:

  1. Go to http://blight.eas.cornell.edu/blight/
  2. Click “define new location”
  3. Enter state, give the location a name, enter crop, and planting and harvest month
  4. Use your mouse to move the red point on the map to where the field is located (or approximately). Alternatively, if you have the coordinates, you can enter these into the lat/long boxes at the top of the screen (Figure 1)
  5. Click “Submit when complete”
  6. Enter potato cultivar and greenrow date
  7. Do not enter pathogen lineage
  8. Fungicide information is optional but it is useful to keep up on this information as the season progresses.
  9. Click “Get reports”
  10. You will see the blitecast report with the severity values, weather information, etc.

You can set up alerts to be sent your email or phone for your sites. In addition, any time you log into the system you will see all of the output for all of your fields. This updates in real time and is much better than waiting for weekly updates on weather through the old system of weekly forecast reports. Remember, these reports are to be used to supplement your, “gut feelings” as well as assist you in making decisions. It is always best to use models such as this in conjunction with other weather forecasts, field based information, etc., to help with disease management.

You can also use the site to track tomato late blight if so inclined. We are working to get early blight included in the system, but this will not occur for some time. Hopefully we will have both models integrated into DSS by next season.

Next week I will discuss another feature that we have set up with DSS that will provide you with information on late blight and fungicides without setting up an account.


Figure 1. An example of the main page for setting up a DSS account. DSS information can be accessed any time via computer, smart phone, or tablet.

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