Thursday, August 24, 2006

GM potatoes for UK 'in 10 years'?

The BBC news website is running a story today on BASF requesting permission to grow GM potatoes in the United Kingdom. According to the article:

"BASF says it hopes GM potatoes could be sold in the UK within 10 years. It says they would be resistant to late blight disease, meaning no need for spraying fields with fungicides, and could save millions in damaged crops."

However, they face opposition from environmentalists who say "consumers do not want GM potatoes even if it means cutting back on chemicals." Claire Oxborough, from Friends of the Earth said:

"Consumers have already made that choice and that's why all the supermarkets and food companies have stopped using GM ingredients in their foods."

However, an earlier story on the BBC website reavealed the potential value of such research as it emerged that the Soil Association, which promotes organic farming as being free of artificial chemicals has admitted that copper-based (copper oxychloride) sprays were being used to control late blight. From the article:

Tom Gilbert, who runs Ballylaggan organic farm in Northern Ireland, questions whether organic potato production should even be attempted in the British isles because of a climate which almost invariably results in blight infection.

He said: "If you have to spray things to make them succeed, it's not really what the organic ideal is about. I do it with a heavy heart spraying them because I don't really approve of it."

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Montcalm Research Farm Field Day this Thursday (Aug 17)

Just a note to remind everyone that the Montcalm Research Farm Field Day is this coming Thursday (Aug 17). Events will start at 11:00 am at the Douglass Township Hall, in Entrican. See the attached flyer for further details, or contact Chris Long by phone at (517) 355-0271 Ext. 193, or e-mail: longch@msu.edu.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

New Pink Rot Bulletin online


The new webpage on Pink rot of potato is now online. The webpage covers the symptoms of the disease, disease cycle and current control options available in Michigan. A printed version of the webpage will be available from the MSU Extension Bulletin Office later in the Fall, and when that is published a .pdf version will be made available online. To receive a .pdf version before then contact webmaster@potatodiseases.org and I will send you one via e-mail.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Late Blight Disease Prediction Models

With the resurgence of late blight in the state this year, I thought I would add a link on our links page to the UC Davis potato late blight models webpage, for those of you who are interested in how late blight disease prediction models work. The model used on the lateblight.org website is based on the model developed by Wallin (model #12).

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