New potato parasite found in Latvia

A pest never before seen in Latvia – the pale potato cyst nematode (Globoder pallida) has been identified in a Zemgale potato farm. The organism was found in a potato field of 10.33 hectares, the State Plant Protection Service said in a statement on June 3.

Potato cyst nematodes can cause significant damage to potatoes in warm, moderate, and cold climate regions. High concentrations of nematodes in the soil can lead to a decrease in yields of up to 80%.

The main pathways of spreading nematodes are contaminated seed potatoes and soil stuck to agricultural vehicles and tools when operating in the infected field. Natural distribution is minimal.

Infected potatoes can be used in food, not harmful to humans.

Phytosanitary measures have been established for the infected field: a ban on the cultivation of seed potatoes for six years, the cleaning of agricultural tools every time after use, and in those areas where it is possible to eliminate the risk of spreading, the cultivation of plants resistant to pale cyst nematodes.

The Service shall perform an in-depth inspection to determine the manner in which the organism has entered the field.

In Latvia, a congenial species of nematode – the golden nematode (Globoder rostochiensis) has previously been identified.

Both nematodes have been distributed worldwide and have also been identified in Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia and elsewhere).

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