GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Late blight has surfaced again in potato fields in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The highly contagious fungus that caused the disastrous Irish potato famine in the 1840s can hurt both potato yields and quality. But Eric Tedford with the Syngenta company tells Agweek that modern fungicides can help farmers manage the disease and grow a profitable crop.

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association reports that late blight has been found in west central and southern Minnesota, and in Walsh County, North Dakota’s leading potato producer. Farmers are being encouraged to scout their fields.

Late blight is rare in the region, but cool, wet weather has allowed the disease to surface the past three years. Minnesota and North Dakota are the nation’s sixth- and seventh-largest potato producers, respectively.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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