Storage Potato Disease Risk Indexing, (STORECAST), is a tool to assist growers in their storage potato disease management program. Using real-time PCR methods we can determine the relative risk of disease potential in storage for pink rot, pythium, and soft rot. In 2004 Dr. Walt Stevenson, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, initiated a research project to develop a potato storage risk assessment system using PCR (polymerase chain reaction). Dr. Stevenson published A3861 "Assessing the decay potential of potato crops" in 2009 based on his research. Since 2005 Randy Van Haren has cooperated with Dr. Stevenson to refine the process and develop a Risk Matrix System to predict the storage rot risk associated with individual fields of potatoes. In 2010 Storecast became a registered trademark for this system.
Fields are sampled 1-3 weeks prior to harvest by digging a three tuber sample for each 10 acres from the interior of each field. Each sample is labeled by location and soil type allowing comparisons to field observations of rot at harvest. Only non-symptomatic tubers are sampled and tested. Results are generated and reported in about one week.
Each field site and storage bin becomes a data point providing insight into the potential for storage rots based on test result to storage outcome comparisons. Refinements in storage management can be made over time to adjust to the Storage Potato Disease Risk Index. Our testing program can be tailored to fit geographic or varietal differences and other storage pathogens may be tested. A sampling and testing program can be initiated for around $12/acre with the flexibility to increase or decrease the number of samples per field as needed. Other pathogens may be tested as required such as late blight or fusarium rot.
Allied Cooperative, Adams, WI became the first licensed agent to provide STORECAST services in 2012 and provides testing in Wisconsin. Research trials are on going in Colorado, Idaho, and PEI, Canada.
For more information on licensing contact Randy Van Haren.