Farmers in southern Iceland are worried about the risk of potato blight for the second year in a row, reports RÚV.
Last year, potatoes in Þykkvabær were contaminated with blight for the first time in 20 years. Farmers are keeping a close eye on this year’s crop to prevent another outbreak.
Moisture and warm temperatures created ideal conditions for potato blight to develop last year. If untreated, the disease kills all the potatoes in the area.
Potato farmer, Birkir Ármannson from Þykkvabær says the weather has been mild this year and the first harvest is expected in the next few days.
“We’d rather have weather like we’ve had this weekend,” says Birkir. “The weather is warm, but not so warm at night. This is because the mold will thrive about 9 degrees if there is also humidity.”
There is an anti-fungal medication that can be used to remove the fungus, however, it must be used in the early stages of the fungus and is very expensive. The anti-fungal is completely harmless to plants and humans.
The Food Standards Agency reminds farmers to check their sprouting potatoes and remove infected potatoes immediately to prevent disease spread.
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