Farmers on the look out for Zebra Chip this Summer
Shelly--Potato producers are battling potato psyllids, a small cicada-like insects that have broken out in a few fields across Southern Idaho, bringing with them a disease called zebra chip.
“It’s a threat to the quality of the harvested crop and any kind of threat like that keeps growers’ attention,” said Andy Jensen, Northwest Potato Research Consortium manager.
The flying insects are found throughout the Northwest and become active in late June, depending on weather conditions. They infect potato plants with the liberibacter bacterium, that multiples and spreads zebra chip disease to tubers.
Afflicted potatoes develop dark rings and a bitter taste when cooked. Zebra chip first showed up in Idaho potato crops in 2011.
Zebra chip potatoes are thrown out or used in animal feed; they wouldn’t show up in grocery stores.