Two Potato Fields in Portage and Columbia Counties Stricken By Fungus-Like Disease

State officials say a fungus-like disease that has killed tomato plants this summer has spread to two potato fields in Portage and Columbia counties. The fungus is called “late blight.” And U-W Madison plant pathologist Amanda Gevens says the outbreaks are the first in Wisconsin in seven years. The state agriculture department says the affected potato crops have been quarantined and killed. But the agency has asked farmers to watch their crops carefully. And Duane Maatz of the state’s Potato and Vegetable Growers Association says they’ve been urging growers all summer to keep up with their fungicide spraying efforts. Late blight was first reported last month in home-and-organic tomato gardens in 10 southern and central Wisconsin counties. Officials have asked home gardeners to destroy all plants with the disease. State plant specialist Adrian Barta says it’s likely that the blight spread naturally into Wisconsin from the east or south. New York State had reports of tomato blight in early July, and the initial reports in Wisconsin came on July 29th.