Potato crop blight-free
Hot, dry weather apparently keeping blight at bay
There has not been a single case of late blight reported on P.E.I.'s potato crop this year, a situation agriculture officials are calling unusual.
There would usually be at least a few cases by now.
Marleen Clark, a diagnostician in the provincial plant diagnosis lab in Charlottetown, said the hot temperatures may have helped keep the potato fungus at bay. "This is a bit of an unusual year that's for sure. Last year was too. We only had 20 cases in total last year and there were twelve of those by this time," said Clark.
"The weather hasn't really been conducive for the late blight to develop. When we have hot, hot temperatures this fungus doesn't grow as well."
Some years have seen as many as 100 cases of blight.
Blight can be devastating for potatoes, turning the crop into a gooey black mess. The fungus caused the crop failure during the 19th-century Irish potato famine, but it can now be largely controlled with fungicides.
Clark cautioned that cooler, wetter weather is in the forecast, which are ideal conditions for late blight.