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Benefit of Using

Clean Plants

Virus diseases are one of the most important production constraints facing sweetpotato producers. In the US four viruses are common; each is very similar to the most common, sweetpotato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV). Yield, skin color, shape and quality of storage roots can be greatly reduced when sweetpotatoes become infected with these viruses. Yield reductions can exceed 40%, and cracks may develop in the roots making them unmarketable. Often 100% of plants in a field are infected by the end of one growing season. Many sweetpotato viruses are vectored by aphids and whiteflies. These insects can be carried on machinery and the wind, and are responsible for spreading viruses both short and long distances. 

 

Planting clean, virus-tested plants can help mitigate the issues caused by sweetpotato viruses.

Clean, virus-tested sweetpotato plants in the  greenhouse at North Carolina State University.

Yield Comparison of Clean vs. Virus-Infected Sweetpotato

As shown in the table below, using clean seed can almost double your yield. 

Clark, C.A. and Hoy, M.W. 2006. Effects of common viruses on yield and quality of Beauregard sweetpotato in Louisiana. Plant Dis. 90:83-88

 
Planted using
60lb bu/A
50 lb bu/A
40 lb boxes/A
Yield as a % of yield using clean seed
Clean seed
471
565.2
706.5
100%
Seed infected with SPFMV-Russet Crack strain
422
506.4
633
90%
Farmer's plant A (infected with SPFMV + other viruses
327
392.4
490.5
69%
Farmer's plant B (infected with SPFMV + other viruses
260
312
390
56%
Farmer's plant C (infected with SPFMV + other viruses
281
337.2
421.5
60%
Yield, expressed as units/acre