Raising potatoes in the West is a profitable business, but it's not without it challenges. Take potato blight, for example. The very disease the forced the Irish to go West and abandon their fields can still take its toll on U.S. spuds.
Fungicide manufacturer Syngenta has a stake in blight control with its product line, but years ago the company also established partnerships to help producers in case blight strikes. Called blight hotlines, the company has teamed with key researchers to provide easy access to critical information for the season.
The hotline provides growers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington access to local information about disease pressures. As in the past, advice from area experts on weather conditions, disease-control measures and infection confirmations is just a phone call away.
And for 2017, there's another innovation. You can subscribe to receive text messages alerting you when they hotlines you choose are updated. All you do is send a text message to the hotline offering the information you want; you'll get an alert about updates and then can call in for the information.
Here's the list of researchers, their hotline numbers and the text-to-subscribe information.
• In Idaho, Kasia Kinzer, University of Idaho, updates the hotline at 800-791-7195; to subscribe to that alert, text BLIGHTID to 97063.
• In Oregon, the information is provided by Ken Frost, Oregon State University, at 800-705-3377; for text alerts, subscribe by sending BLIGHTOR to 97063.
• For Washington state, Dennis Johnson, Washington State University, is providing the info at 800-984-7400; to subscribe to those text alerts, text BLIGHTWA to 97063.
Timing is a key part of keeping blight under control with fungicide products, and the hotlines can help keep you informed about disease likelihood, weather and pressures.
Syngenta has a range of fungicides, including CruiserMaxx Vibrance potato seed treatment, Elatus and Orondis fungicides and Minecto Pro insecticide to support growers.