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Reducing the impact of blight with mixtures of potato varieties depended on the level of resistance of varieties in combination. Occasionally, mixture yields increased independently of effects on disease where interactions between the constituent varieties improved resource capture and utilisation.

Alternating rows of susceptible and resistant varieties had small effects on the disease. Intercropping potatoes with grass/clover or spring wheat reduced blight in small plots grown perpendicular to the main wind direction, but yields were unaffected. As an adjacent crop, wheat reduced blight more effectively than grass/clover, but this advantage was offset by competitive effects at the boundary between the taller wheat and shorter potatoes which decreased the yield of potatoes.

Commercially, it would be more difficult to manage crops grown as mixtures or alternating rows of different varieties or in beds separated by intercrops than as a single variety occupying a large area on a field-scale.

Compatibility of companion varieties regarding nutrient requirements, maturity, storage requirements etc.; rotational considerations with intercrops and marketing of variety mixtures for most purposes would need to be addressed. Diversification may be useful as part of a combined control strategy under low to moderate late blight disease pressure.

Reported by

University of Kassel,
Department of Ecological Plant Protection, Nordbahnhofstr. 1a
37213 Witzenhausen
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