Jan. 31, 2017
With the crop produced in more than 100 countries, the pressure of pests and diseases is very high and often results in the intensive use of plant protection products.
To avoid unnecessary applications, a team of specialists from INTA's Balcarce Integrated Unit and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Mar del Plata designed a tool to help in decision-making.
Called SGC Quality Potato, it is a quality management system to maintain the health of the father crop, and was tested in fields with high levels of production.
The potato is an intensive crop sown over large areas and requires intensive application of phytosanitaries, in order to avoid the development of diseases that can cause major losses, such as potato blight, explained researchers from the INTA.
Decision-making in keeping with the real need for any intervention reduces paper production cost by reducing the number of fungicide applications, protects the health of the environment and ensures safe food, argue these experts.
According to FAO, the potato is the third biggest food crop, after rice and wheat. In fact, in Argentina, it occupies a prominent place in the diet of the inhabitants because they consume about 60 kilos per person per year.
According to a specialist from the Balcarce Integrated Unit, the SGC Quality Potato will allow correct management of the pests and diseases that affect the crop at any time in the cycle.
This tool will actually direct when to take a decision for application of phytosanitary in conjunction with the technical-agronomic knowledge based on permanent monitoring of the crop, combined with predictions of risk and the laboratory diagnosis.
The quality management system includes, in addition to field monitoring and laboratory diagnosis, the recording of on-site meteorological variables to calculate the risk that the disease poses by using a graph, similar to a traffic light. The system sends a report to the producer or adviser who can warn about the current possibility of disease development, with a prediction for the next five days.
This data is reported through several weekly bulletins and helps identify the right time to make the applications. The goal is to be able to provide this information in other mumps regions of the country, said specialists.
The project received $ 35,000 as part of the Innovar Award last November in the category of Applied Research.
The scientists behind this project were invited to participate in the First Symposium on Bio-economics of the South Central Pampeana Region, to be held in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.