Potato (Florida)
Coordinated by Nick Dufault (nsdufault@ufl.edu), Plant Pathology,
UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida


Florida is ranked second in the nation for spring potato production, producing 39% of the spring potatoes in the U.S. In 2014, 30,500 acres of potatoes were planted in Florida valued at over $131 million dollars. The Tri-county area (St. Johns, Flagler, and Putnam counties) is where the majority of potatoes are grown in state. Potato production is also present in north central Florida  as well in southwest Florida. Both chipping and table stock potatoes are grown in Florida, with chip potatoes representing about half of the total potato production.

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). Source:Pixabay


The iPiPE CPP program can help provide a direct connection with producers and stakeholders that is currently lacking in Florida. There are many situations in which producers apply chemical management when a pest is not present or because of misidentification. This program will make it possible to eliminate these unneeded management options while documenting pest presence in the state. Through a better understanding of the pests present, as well as improved communication between academics and producers, Extension personnel will be able to provide timely as well as economically beneficial information about pest control. 

Finally, we will develop effective tools for identifying the most problematic weeds as well as early signs of herbicide resistance and for selecting weed management options that help growers reduce their reliance on herbicides.

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The IPM of potatoes has become even more challenging as significantly more variable rainfall and temperatures events have been observed in Florida. The situation has been further complicated by the reductions in Extension support for this crop as new faculty must dedicate their time to multiple crops (e.g. grapes, brassicas, sorghum, biofuels) produced in the state.

Other changes producers face are related to the loss of pest management products for both weeds  and nematodes. Understanding how and when to use the novel products being released is critical to the economic viability of potato production in the state.

Target pests and/or Beneficial Organisms

Primary Diseases: Dickeya black leg (Dickeya dianthincola), Late blight (Phytopthora infestans), Early blight (Alternaria solani), Brown Spot (Alternaria alternata), Black leg (Pectobacterium spp.), Stem canker and Black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani).

Primary Weeds: Common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium), Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), Goosegrass (Eleusine indica), Smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum), Common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album).

Primary Nematodes: Stubby-root nematodes (Paratrichodorus minor and Trichodorus spp.--vectors of tobacco rattle virus, causal agent of corky ringspot disease), Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), and Sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus).

common cocklebur
Common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) L.
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia. Bugwood.org