The Potato Tuber Necrotic Viruses and Disease Management
The United States potato industry has an annual farm gate value of more than $3.5 billion. The industry, however, is under threat from emerging viruses that cause serious tuber disease and are reducing annual crop yield and quality measured in tens of millions of dollars.
Walter De Jong and Stewart Gray lead a multidisciplinary group of 32 scientists from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and 10 universities, along with the support of national and state potato industries and co-ops from 14 state seed potato certification programs. The research aims to reduce overall disease incidence below an economic threshold, leading to a healthier potato crop and higher farm income.
There is no cure for virus disease, therefore efforts focus on avoiding the disease, minimizing the spread of any virus introduced in the field and its impact on stored potatoes, and developing tools to facilitate the development of virus-resistant potatoes.
This information will lead to regionally appropriate disease management strategies that are subjected to cost-benefit analyses to help the potato industry decide which suggested changes in farm practices, seed certification programs, and national and state regulations are appropriate for implementation.