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Home Grown: Downy mildew causes discoloration creating unmarketable lettuce

News 11's April Hettinger digs into the impact the disease can leave on farmers

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - In today's Home Grown, we lay out downy mildew and how it affects Yuma farmers.

A recent trial tested how three different varieties of lettuce can withstand the disease.

The field is marked, planted in November and maintained just like a commercial field to get the most accurate results. 

10 heads of lettuce are evaluated per field on a scale of zero to five by the blemishes on the leaves, according to Martin Porchas, research technician with the University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center.

"It's a cosmetic thing but also a loss to the grower because if they can't get a good head of lettuce to sell, they lose money," Porchas explained.

There is no harm to eat, but too much discoloration can make the crop unmarketable due to its appearance.

Even if some of the crops get infected, the heads without disease can be salvaged.

Downy mildew thrives in perfect weather conditions by spreading through particles in the air.

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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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