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Our summer 2017 issue features several stories related to the production season, including the 2017 production outlook, pests to watch for this season, and soil and water issues. And in honour of the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation, we recognize the role potatoes have played in Canada’s
thriving agriculture sector over many years. All this and more in the summer 2017 issue of Spud Smart.

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2017 Dickeya and Pectobacterium Summit

Two bacteria threatening the potato industry worldwide is the focus of the 2017 Dickeya and Pectobacterium Summit Nov. 9 in Bangor, Maine, convened by the University of Maine. Plant pathologists, researchers and scientists from The Netherlands, Scotland and five U.S. states will present the latest information on the bacteria — Dickeya and Pectobacterium — that cause blackleg disease, an emerging potato seed problem. The Potato Disease Summit, which goes from 8 a.m….

P.E.I. Potatoes Donated to Hurricane Maria victims

The Government of Prince Edward Island and the P.E.I. potato industry are teaming up to provide a tractor trailer load of fresh potatoes to those affected by a hurricane in the United States. A truck carrying over 42,000 pounds of fresh potatoes left P.E.I. yesterday en route to help feed those in need in Puerto Rico as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. The load will be received at…

Zebra chip pathogen detected in psyllids in Alberta

Although the zebra chip pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso) has been detected in small numbers of potato psyllids in two sites in Alberta, no zebra chip symptoms or pathogen has been found in potato plant tissue. During three years of sampling for potato psyllids (Bactericera cockerelli) across Canada, the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network found small numbers in Alberta (2015-2017, increasing annually), Saskatchewan (first time in 2016) and Manitoba…

Wet weather causes NZ potato shortage

Stocks of potato chips are stretched thin as New Zealand battles a nationwide potato shortage after a wet winter. A spokesperson with the country’s largest food distributor, Foodstuffs, said some of the potato chip suppliers were “having challenges meeting demand” due to the wet weather conditions. It is not yet believed that the shortage will impact on the availability of fresh potato stocks. According to Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) president Brent…

Beeton, Ont. potato farmers reaching ‘critical point’ in harvest season

It’s potato harvest season, and as storage bins throughout the Beeton, Ont. area begin to fill up with mounds of taters, some farmers are finding themselves in a bit of a high-wire act to ensure they don’t lose their crops. Mark Vanoostrum, the supply and quality manager for W.D. Potato in Beeton, said the chipping potatoes harvested so far are revealing the effects of all the wacky weather the area experienced this…

Genome Editing in Potato using TALENs

TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases), one of the genome editing tools, have a likely lesser chance of having off-target mutations than other genome editing techniques. However, a rapid test system for the functionality of the designed TALENs and an effective delivery system for introducing TALENs to plants are critical for successful target mutation. While TALENs are usually introduced into plants using viral vectors, these are not always available, and plants edited by these…

Wasp released in NZ to control Tomato Potato Psyllid

A new biocontrol, Tamarixia trioaze, a parasitoid wasp which destroys the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) pest, has been released in Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury, New Zealand. These initial releases are the start of a wider planned release and monitoring program that is being supported with funding through the government of New Zealand’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF). The tomato potato psyllid has caused enormous problems for the potato, tomato, capsicum and tamarillo growers…

What’s Holding Up Yield Monitoring?

Compared to other technologies and equipment, yield monitoring is a relatively inexpensive way to get immediately actionable information about a crop field. Yet, uptake of the technology remains fairly low in potato fields. Why aren’t potato growers making use of the technology when it’s such a high value crop, the cost to add a yield monitor to an existing GPS/Steering enabled system is less than $10,000, and there’s plenty of technical and…

Potato Industry Moving Towards Earlier Generation Seed

The certification process for growing seed potatoes in Canada is designed to ensure seed stocks remain healthy, pure and true-to-variety. Understanding how the replication process works and investing in an early generation of seed potatoes can make a huge difference to a commercial grower’s success. Seed potato production starts out in a sterile lab, where disease-free tissue samples of a given variety are cultured to develop the first or ‘nuclear’ generation of…

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