Promoting Fungicide Stewardship 

Botrytis fruit rot on blueberry

Gray mold caused by Botrytis spp. is a damaging disease on blueberry causing in-field crop losses and post-harvest fruit rots. Currently, growers follow a fungicide spray program involving rotations of several site-specific fungicides with different modes of action. The BPP program is generating research-based knowledge about the fungicide resistance profiles of Botrytis spp. in blueberries in Washington fields, which could influence the choice of fungicides used in spray programs.

Online Decision Support System

Mummy berry is one of the most important highbush blueberry diseases in the Pacific Northwest, causing up to 70% yield loss in affected fields. Current management of mummy berry relies on calendar-based fungicide spray applications throughout the growing season in combination with several cultural practices. In February 2022, the BPP program launched a beta version of the first online decision support system to aid mummy berry disease management in northwest Washington, which is freely accessible to public on the WSU AgWeatherNet portal.

Apothecia emerging from mummy berries

Blemish-Free Fresh Market Potatoes

Sporulation of Helminthosporium solani

Silver scurf, a surface blemish disease, poses a persistent problem in all potato production regions. One of the projects in the BPP program seeks to improve our understanding of the pathogen life cycle, characterize the biogeography of fungicide resistance in the pathogen, and develop tools to evaluate field level risk for development of silver scurf.

Improving Quality Seed Potato Production

Washington State grows the highest number of potato varieties among all seed potato growing states in the nation. Current seed potato certification involves postharvest grow out tests for virus detection that are time consuming, thereby limiting Washington seed growers’ ability to make critical business management decisions for the forthcoming field season. To overcome this bottleneck, the BPP program is collaborating with Washington seed potato growers and researchers from USDA-ARS to establish a grower-led seed potato tuber sampling protocol and evaluate high throughput laboratory-based PCR testing approaches.

Samplers sampling seed potato tubers