Best Management Practices for Downy Mildew in Cucumber

Project Code PRR16-040

Project Lead

Cheryl Trueman    University of Guelph

Objective

To assess the potential of incorporating cucumber hybrids tolerant to cucurbit downy mildew into the commercial production of cucumber in Canada

Cucumber downy mildew, caused by the pathogen Pseudoperonospora cubensis, is a threat to the industry and was identified as a priority pest issue by the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program. The pathogen spreads through airborne spores. Under ideal conditions for disease development, foliage of infected crop may become completely blighted, leading to significant yield losses. Current pest management measures involve a preventative spray program where fungicide applications may be required on a weekly interval over a prolonged period. The Reduced-risk Strategy for Downy Mildew Management in Cucumber identified the need to develop best management practices in this crop as a priority for action.

This 3-year project starting in summer 2016 will evaluate the potential for adoption of new cucumber hybrids tolerant to cucurbit downy mildew as a best management approach in dealing with this disease in cucumber production. Field trials in Simcoe and Ridgetown, Ontario, will assess disease management under current Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs recommendations, while comparing with new regimes of extended intervals between fungicide applications in two tolerant hybrids and one standard susceptible hybrid. The new hybrids will be tested under conditions of low and high disease pressure to see if a commercially-acceptable level of disease control can be achieved while at the same time reducing the number of fungicide applications required for cucumber production. The results will be made available to the growers’ community through various technology-transfer activities.

 

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