Potato Grower

November 2014

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62 Potato Grower | NOVEMBER 2014 The Job's Not Finished... ...until the paperwork is done. This old saying is familiar to all of us and most of us follow through with the time-honored instruction without question. We're used to it and it just makes good sense. Yet many potato producers neglect to ask for one of the most important pieces of paperwork available when it comes to seed potatoes: the North American Plant Health Certificate which we usually shorten to simply the Plant Health Certificate or PHC. Many seed buyers use only a limited amount of information to make choices about their seed purchases. We are all familiar with the seed catalogues, published by the certifying agencies, containing basic information like variety, generation, number of acres produced and the summer inspection readings. While entries in seed catalogues represent a good start, there is a great deal more UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO By Phillip Nolte, UI Seed Pathology Extension Professor You owe it to yourself to get as much information as you can get your hands on about your seed potato purchases. 146408SouFie12h.indd 1 7/7/14 4:25 PM information available, and some of it is actually quite a lot more important than the summer readings. How would you like to know whether or not there was any late blight observed on the seed farm during the last several seasons? How about the last time, if ever, bacterial ring rot was found? The PHC not only contains information like this on the seed lots you are considering for purchase, it also includes a past history of any occurrence of these important diseases on the seed farm as a whole. This would be good information to have, right? There is more. One of the most important pieces of information that you can get regarding your seed purchase is provided on the PHC. This information is the results of the post-harvest or "winter test" inspections. The seed catalogs are usually prepared before the winter inspections have been completed, so the winter information is simply not available in time to be included. How important is the winter test? The winter test is a much better indicator of virus disease levels in a seed lot than the summer readings because

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