development of a disease forecasting tool to help in the timing of applications of sprays such as fungicides to ensure growers are not applying unnecessary sprays.

Weather and disease monitoring data should be the factors used to determine when sprays are to be applied. “It would save growers money and be

more efficient, if a forecasting tool was developed to help in the timing of sprays,” he comments.

He’s aiming to try and increase the number of weather stations needed for monitoring, so that data can be used in such a tool.

Burlakoti envisions such information could be made available to growers via an app, perhaps or a website. Research, he notes, has to be conducted over multiple years and include monitoring of diseases and their progress under different scenarios to validate results before information can be disseminated to growers to apply in their own operations.

Burlakoti also plans to work with plant breeder Michael Dossett to identify varieties which are resistant to diseases that are prevalent in B.C., whether fungal, virus or bacterial diseases.

Some are weather dependent, so

growers might not even notice their presence if the weather conditions are not favourable to their growth, he adds. Some are also dependent on husbandry, and their growth can be reliant on different farm practices. During his first year at his new post, Burlakoti notes the berry industry groups have been very cooperative and willing to collaborate.

Burlakoti grew up in a rural community in Nepal, where he was around plants all his young life, so he

became very interested in them. He is a section editor of the Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science and serves as an editor for two additional international journals, Plants and Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection. He is also a member of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, the American Phytopathological Society and the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science.

12 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2016

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