This year, Washington State University is working to more accurately, and with more frequency predict Late Blight trends, thanks to a partnership with the University of Idaho. WSU’s Tim Waters said researchers at both schools are focused on spore counts on the Columbia Basin. He added that’s done thanks to a spore trap set up at a WSU weather station that vacuums air out of the environment.
“They take those tubes into the laboratory, and run them through a PCR analysis and do a count on certain types of spores of diseases. So, with that being coupled with the weather station we can look at the conditions, and then look at the spore count and determine if there is a likelihood to have disease in the area.”
Waters says having more information on these three components, the progress of the crop, the spores, weather conditions, will help them better predict Late Blight outbreaks and trends across the Columbia Basin.
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