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Poster: Diseases of Plants: Disease Detection & Diagnosis


A sociological assessment of Potato virus Y in western Washington: Barriers and bridges to adopting new management practices
A. Beissinger (1), C. Benedict (2), J. Goldberger (3), D. Inglis (1) (1) Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, U.S.A.; (2) Washington State University Whatcom County Extension, U.S.A.; (3) Washington State Univ

Seed and commercial potatoes are grown in separate geographic areas of western Washington (WWA). In 2012, recombinant strains of Potato virus Y (PVY), PVYNTN and PVYN-Wi, were reported in WWA potato fields. The strains are largely asymptomatic on potato foliage and difficult to detect by visual field inspections and winter greenhouse grow-out tests. The problem led to tuber yield and quality losses of ~40% for commercial producers who purchased inaccurately certified seed. In 2015-16, most (N=6) of the seed potato growers in WA and approximately one-third (N=6) of the large-scale commercial potato growers in WWA were interviewed about the barriers and bridges to adopting updated PVY detection approaches such as ELISA and PCR-based laboratory tests, tropical winter field grow-outs, and PVY recognition trainings. The major barriers to adoption were logistical learning curves (67%), uncertainty that updated techniques would be advantageous (67%), and distrust of laboratory results (50%). The major bridges included premiums paid by customers for reliable PVY-free seed (75%), customer demand for more sensitive PVY testing methods (67%), and faster grow-out results (33%). The study results can guide researchers and extension educators who make PVY management recommendations that must be relevant to the needs and perceptions of growers. Further, they suggest that sociological studies of plant pathogens can provide a valuable tool for assisting in plant disease management.