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In this issue of Spud Smart, read how researchers are evaluating three of the 4Rs to optimize nitrogen fertilizer management for improved yield, quality and profitability in irrigated potato production.  Also in this issue: World Potato Congress 2018, healthy seed, tackling resistant pink rot, and new potato technology from Agritechnica.

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Farming Potatoes is all in the Family

Arjan Woordman comes from a long line of potato growers. His great-great-grandparents started it all off in the Netherlands in the late 1800s, and farming potatoes has been in the family blood ever since. “We definitely love what we do,” says Arjan, who along with his wife Wietske grows about 1,300 acres of potatoes each year on their 3,500 acre farm just outside Taber, Alta. The farm, which was purchased by Arjan’s parents…

Rooted apical cuttings to boost potato Seed Systems in Kenya

Seed potato farmers in Kenya’s potato growing regions are adopting a new technology with potential to boost quality seed availability. The farmers are using rooted apical cuttings as starter material for seed production as opposed to certified seed. The cuttings technology has been introduced by the International Potato Center (CIP) through Feed the Future, Kenya Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A cutting…

Market News Feb. 22 2018

The market for Manitoba potatoes will soon be significantly bigger, thanks to J.R. Simplot’s planned plant expansion in Portage la Prairie, Man. Simplot announced earlier this month it will spend $40 million on the project which will more than double the capacity of the french fry plant. “It will have a big impact. First of all, it means more market for the product,” says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato…

Potato DNA markers could keep potatoes fresher longer

Ireland is world-renowned for producing potatoes, but Irish crisp and chip manufacturers face a shortage of locally grown potatoes mainly due to long term tuber storage problems. This means they need to import over 50,000 tonnes of potatoes each year. Potatoes used for crisps and chips are usually stored at eight degrees – a temperature high enough to prevent starch from breaking down into glucose and fructose. To slow sprouting, potato producers…

From our Desk

Andean Potatoes Take The World Stage

For the first time in its history, the World Potato Congress will take place in Latin America, the “birthplace” of the potato. From May 27 to 31 of this year, hundreds of people from around the world will descend on Cusco, Peru, to attend the 10th annual event, organized by the not-for-profit World Potato Congress Inc. The World Potato Congress is dedicated to supporting the cultivation and development of potato around the…

Accelerated Release Offers a Variety of Options

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) accelerated release program is a bit like the Olympics of potato variety development. And just like the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, also happening this month, only the very best will make it to the podium. Out of approximately 100,000 initial AAFC potato seedlings grown in the field six years ago, 15 are being released for industry evaluation this year, and it could take up to three…

Alberta: Potato Pest Management Workshop

There are a number of pests that regularly affect or threaten potato crops in Alberta. Learn about a range of disease and insect pests that threaten the Alberta potato industry during a one-day workshop on March 6 or 8, 2018, at Festival Place (Sherwood Park) or the Coast Lethbridge Hotel (Lethbridge). At the workshop, you’ll learn about pest identification, factors that affect pest incidence and severity, as well as pest management using…

Fall potato production estimate steady

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Statistics Canada estimate that North American potato growers produced 506 million cwt. in fall 2017. That amount would be a decrease of 1% from 2016, according to the report issued by the organizations Feb. 12. The dip is consistent with the expectation conveyed in the December report on North American potato production. Canadian growers harvested 106 million cwt., up slightly from the previous year. U.S. production…

Eco-friendly Alternative to MDF Made from Potato Peelings

Two Kingston University (London, England) graduates have created an environmentally friendly, sustainable and biodegradable alternative to MDF, produced from potato peelings. Graphic design graduates Rob Nicol and Rowan Minkley are the team behind Chip[s] Board – a potato-based product turning food waste material from restaurants into a robust ready-to-use chipboard-like sheet. The environmentally friendly product is strong enough to construct temporary structures designed to last more than a month. Five kilograms of…

Potato weed control goes digital

Some new high tech tools will soon give farmers a way to keep weeds down, cut costs and herbicide use dramatically and work around weed resistance to herbicides. In collaboration with a University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) engineer, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) weed specialist Andrew McKenzie-Gopsill is turning to sensors, cameras and computer algorithms to detect the exact location of weeds in a field. The digital technology will create a…

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