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Potato Late Blight Management in the Toluca Valley: Field Validation of SimCast Modified for Cultivars with High Field Resistance

    Authors and Affiliations
    • Niklaus J. Grünwald , United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Prosser, WA 99350
    • Gaspar Romero Montes
    • H. Lozoya Saldaña , Cornell-Eastern Europe-Mexico and Programa Internacional Cooperativo del Tizón Tardío de la Papa (CEEM/PICTIPAPA) Potato Late Blight Project, Cuauhtemoc Izcalli V, Metepec, Edo. de México 52176, México
    • O. A. Rubio Covarrubias , Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP), Conjunto Sedagro, Metepec, Edo. de México 52142, México
    • William E. Fry , Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

      Management of potato late blight in the highland tropics is very costly and remains difficult. Reducing the impact of late blight through the use of resistant cultivars in combination with a fungicide forecasting system could lower the number of costly fungicide applications. Previously, we evaluated the fungicide advisory SimCast for use with Mexican cultivars of high levels of field resistance for use in the central highlands of Mexico and found that it predicted too many fungicide applications for cultivars of moderate to high levels of resistance. We adapted SimCast for cultivars with higher levels of resistance, and field validations conducted in 1999 and 2000 show that SimCast resulted in good disease control on cultivars ranging from susceptible to highly resistant. The number of fungicide applications forecast for cultivars with moderate to high levels of resistance was reduced. Precipitation was the environmental variable responsible for most of the forecasts made. Our work demonstrates that a predictive system can be portable from the temperate climate to a tropical highland climate. A user-friendly decision support system consisting of just a rain-gauge and the exclusive use of SimCast's fungicide units could be a valuable and affordable tool in managing potato late blight in the highland tropics.