'Zebra Chip' Disease Concerns Northwest Potato Growers

Aug 1, 2012

Northwest agriculture researchers say they are finding more cases of a zebra chip disease in the region’s potatoes. The malady mars spuds with dark streaks, making them unsuitable for sale. The latest case cropped up near Hermiston, Ore.

First discovered in the Northwest last year, zebra chip is a grower’s worst nightmare. Silvia Rondon with Oregon State University say the insects that carry the disease are the size of aphids. She says they multiply more in the summer.

“The warmer it gets, the shorter the life cycle -– meaning going from adult, egg, nymph and adults again," Rondon says. "The perfect temperature for these guys is upper 80s.”

Zebra chip disease has already damaged Texas’s potato industry. In the Northwest, the potato industry is worth billions of dollars.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

On the Web:

USDA - Fight Against Zebra Chip Disease:

Biology and Management of Potato Psyllid in the Northwest: