Old problem creating new concerns for farmers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Old problem creating new concerns for farmers

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PLOVER (WAOW) -- The wetter than average spring season delayed farmers from planting their crops.  Months later it's causing new concerns. 

The same fungus that caused the historic Potato Famine of Ireland is not something of the past.  Potato and other crop blight is still active today. 

Though no cases have been reported in 2011, local farmers are taking no chances with this fungus that is easily transmitted by air. 

"We can get it from New York, Prince Edward Island and clear across the state. It can be found in Minnesota and we can have it the next week," Okray Farm Manager Rich Rashke told Newsline 9. 

Large scale farm operations can easily identify the problem and better curb it's impact.  But local homegrowers are often the key in allowing an outbreak take hold. 

"It's kind of difficult to identify if you've never seen it before," Rashke said. 

Farmers say that if a potato plant begins showing what looks like a target bulls eye coupled with the underside of the leaf being wet you need to act right away.  Killing the plant immediately is the only step local homegrowers can take to stopping the fungus' spread, which can wipe out entire fields of crops. 

Online Reporter: Rob Duns

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