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Andy Robinson

Potato Extension Agronomist

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Identifying Surface Blemishes on Potato Tubers

The primary blemishes fresh market potato growers face today include black dot, black scurf, scab, silver scurf, unattractive skin color, malformed tubers and other unknown blemish problems. A new webpage, Potato Tuber Blemishes Understanding & Diagnosis, provides some information on these blemishes.

The primary blemishes fresh market potato growers face today include black dot, black scurf, scab, silver scurf, unattractive skin color, malformed tubers and other unknown blemish problems. A new webpage, Potato Tuber Blemishes Understanding & Diagnosis, provides some information on these blemishes. In the March issue of Valley Potato Grower we reported on a project conducted in 2013 in Becker, MN to determine if silver scurf (Helminthosporium solani) was seed or soil borne. It was concluded that silver scurf did not survive or persist in soil in these fields, and supported the previous conclusion that silver scurf is a seed-borne disease, not soil-borne. During tuber assay, many tubers with blemish were caused by black dot (Colletotrichum coccodes); indicating that soil inoculum of black dot can be the source of tuber blemish.

Since this study and from other observations from samples brought into the laboratory, we have become more interested in learning the types of blemishes that are most common in fresh market potato production in Minnesota and North Dakota. By knowing the blemishes that exist on potatoes, we can prioritize the research that needs to be completed to therefore determine what research needs to be conducted to find the best management practices helping growers to reduce culls. From the 2014 crop we have noticed quite a few surface blemishes. We are interested in identifying the blemishes in fresh market potatoes. If you notice surface blemishes on your potato crop and would like these to be identified, please let us know and either we can pick up a sample or have one shipped to NDSU. A sample size of 50 blemished tubers would be sufficient. If you have questions, please contact Andy Robinson at Andrew.p.robinson@ndsu.edu. Thank you for your cooperation. 

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