Estimating the global severity of potato late blight with GIS-linked disease forecast models

R.J. Hijmans, G.A. Forbes, T.S. Walker

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94 Citations (Scopus)


Global severity of potato late blight was estimated by linking two disease forecast models, Blitecast and Simcast, to a climate data base in a geographic information system (GIS). The disease forecast models indirectly estimate late blight severity by determining how many sprays are needed during a growing season as a function of the weather. Global zonation of estimated late blight severity was similar for both forecast models, but Blitecast generally predicted a lower number of sprays. With both forecast models, there were strong differences between potato production zones. Zones of high late blight severity include the tropical highlands, western Europe, the east coast of Canada and northern USA, south-eastern Brazil and central-southern China. Major production zones with a low late blight severity include the western plains in India, where irrigated potato is produced in the cool dry season, north-central China, and the north-western USA. Using a global GIS data base of potato production, the average number of sprays was calculated by country. These averages were compared with estimates of current fungicide use. The results using Blitecast and Simcast were correlated but only Blitecast estimates correlated with observed data for developed countries. The estimated number of sprays, whether from Blitecast or Simcast, did not correlate with the observed number of sprays in developing countries, and in a number of developing countries the predicted optimal number of sprays was much higher than the actual number observed. In these countries, increased access to host resistance and fungicides could have a strong economic impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-705
JournalPlant Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Agroecological zones
  • Developing countries
  • Fungicides
  • Host resistance
  • Phytophthora infestans


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