Improved outlook in fight against potato blight - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Improved outlook in fight against potato blight

RHINELANDER (WAOW) -- The fungus causing late blight on potato crops has been found on farms in New York and Washington but not Wisconsin, according to Superintendent and Researcher Bryon Bowen of University of Wisconsin-Madison's Agricultural Research Center in Rhinelander. 

Though the news is positive, it does not mean the state is in the clear for the rest of the growing season. 

Bowen attributes the proactive work of local farmers in keeping late blight out of Wisconsin's crops. 

"It's been found in other states in the U.S. and our farmers are aware of the potential and concerns and I think they're doing an excellent job of management steps to keep problems in check" Bowen told Newsline 9. 

The fungus causing late blight travels by air and can quickly destroy acres of crops.  When unchecked its effects can be devastating, causing such agricultural disasters like the historic Potato Famine of Ireland.   

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural Research Center in Rhinelander performs studies on potatoes to improve plant genetics and growing technology.  According to the center, potato farming contributes $500 million dollars to Wisconsin's economy annually. 

Online Reporter Rob Duns (WAOW)   


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