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In this issue, learn about a new strain of Alfalfa Mosaic Virus that causes necrosis in tubers. You’ll also read about UAVs and how these ‘eyes in the sky’ are about to fundamentally change how potato farmers see, interact with and manage their crops. And, read all about how two wireworm experts have developed innovative traps that target the adult stage of wireworms, called click beetles.

 

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Potato pest worries farmers in Australia

Potato producers in southwest Western Australia say the detection of the tomato potato psyllid is a “serious blow” to their industry. The psyllid is known to attack a range of plants in the Solanaceae family, including potato and also sweet potato. It is the first time the pest has been detected in Australia. It has so far been detected in tomatoes and eggplants in Perth, in tomatoes at two properties in Mount…

Warmer, Drier Climate with Plenty of Variability

Since there is no immediate “fix” for the weather, Canadian potato farmers have to be ready for change and be adaptable, advises David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. The climate is changing. Although it may not seem like it during specific weather events – exceptional rainstorms and severe cold snaps – evidence predicts climate over the coming years will be warmer and drier. That will mean changes. “The farms that will…

Potato Post-harvest Management Workshop Series

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF), in partnership with the Potato Growers of Alberta, is holding a potato post-harvest management workshop at three sites in March. “Crop and financial losses of stored potatoes has a significant impact on the profitability of fresh and seed potato growers in Alberta,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist, AF. “Participants will learn about potato storage design and management, as well as pre-harvest, post-harvest, in-storage and post-storage disease…

Market News

AFTER TWO years of record-breaking yields for potato production in Canada, 2016 saw another bumper crop. While production was down substantially in Central Canada, other parts of the country produced an excellent crop, resulting in an estimated national yield of 307.2 hundredweight of potatoes per acre. That’s up 0.7 per cent from 2015’s yield of 305.1 hundredweight. While it’s been a third straight record-setting year for potato yields in Canada, it certainly…

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014 — following a ring rot flare-up — Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating…

Select potato growers trying soil fumigation for McCain Foods

CARIBOU, Maine — The largest buyer of potatoes in Aroostook County, McCain Foods, has started trials examining soil fumigation with several of its growers. More common in western states, fumigating soil to fight nematodes and soil-borne diseases is “not something we’ve done in Maine,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody, an agronomist with McCain Foods, said during the Maine Potato Conference in Caribou in January. In an effort to boost yields with its contract growers…

Vietnam: Growing out of poverty with potato

The cliché of Asian agriculture is endless fields with rice. But there is literally and figuratively speaking room for the potato. The project ‘Growing out of poverty with the potato’ is trying to make Vietnam self-sufficient in the production of potatoes. Interestingly, the project involves the whole chain from producer to consumer. This benefits Vietnam in many ways. The revitalizing of the humble Vietnamese potato industry increases the standard of life of…

Benefits of Proper Seed Potato Handling and Shipping

In the springtime shipping rush, the organizing, grading, shipping and occasional crisis managing that define seed potato sales can make even the most seasoned producer frustrated. Unfortunately, the pressure to fill orders quickly can result in potatoes that went into storage in perfect condition arriving at customers’ doors bruised and cracked. Given that the ultimate goal and the key to long-term business success is customer satisfaction, speed needs to be secondary to…

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