Focus on fungicide

resistance Crop disease specialist advises growers to understand and vary the formulations they use. By Judie Steeves


n increasing resistance to fungicides is a big concern for one of the newest scientists to join the Agassiz Research and Development Centre.

With more than a decade of experience in plant pathology, Rishi Burlakoti came to the federal research centre last year after working in the World Vegetable Centre for a year, Weather Innovations LP for a number of years and with Dalhousie University for a year.

He specializes in crop diseases and has done some work in wild blueberries in Eastern Canada, but is now becoming familiar with the diseases of local crops such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries.

Burlakoti notes it’s important we understand the diseases of local berries better in order to identify what’s out there and how they can be impacted by different farm practices.

Since more resistance to fungicides is likely, it’s also important that farmers know the ingredients in the different fungicides they currently use, in order to vary those ingredients and use different formulations through the season. That will help to delay the resistance of diseases to those fungicides. “It’s important to not always use the same chemical,” he explains. In conducting research into diseases, Burlakoti intends to begin with the biggest issues farmers are facing, but the direction of his research will be determined by funding decisions. However, he notes that fruit rot and bacterial blight are critical issues with local crops, as well as Phytophthora or root rot.

Burlakoti is also interested in British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2018 11 JUDIE STEEVES

Rishi Burlakoti, a recent arrival at the Agassiz Research and Development Centre.

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