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Browsing articles by Angela Lovell

Shifting with the Trends

Dale Rutledge remembers a time when drivers delivering the farm’s potatoes would tell their customers that the potatoes had slept in the ground the night before. “Our markets were more direct and local back then,” says Dale. “We would have our potatoes into the stores by 11 a.m.” Over the years, much has changed, with potatoes now having to travel much farther to warehouses to reach distant markets. Rutledge Farms has changed…

What’s New With GPS Technology?

To get the kind of accuracy required—typically to within an inch or better—farmers have had to rely up to now on RTK systems, which transmit signals from a base station via a wireless radio tower to the receiver in the tractor or other equipment. One disadvantage of RTK is that it has a limited range and coverage isn’t universal, as the infrastructure is expensive to install for retailers who usually provide the…

Adding Value to Potato Starch

Few products are as versatile as potato starch. To name just a few of its many applications, potato starch can be found in the kitchens of most Chinese restaurants around the world, where it’s used as a thickener. It is used in many snack foods, including dry-roasted peanuts, to hold the flavouring in place. Potato starch is utilized for filtration in yeast production, and it is widely used throughout the food processing…

Storage Innovation: A Case Study in Success

Maximizing efficiency and longevity are the driving forces behind a new potato storage facility that is being built at Gerrit Visser and Sons potato farm at Orwell Cove, P.E.I. “We are building a storage that is intended for long-term use,” says Randy Visser. “We are trying to maximize everything and make everything as efficient as possible. It’s the reality of the industry that there is much more concern with the quality and…

Quality Control

The unusually hot and dry conditions that prevailed throughout many areas this season are presenting some unique challenges for potato storage, as many growers are uncertain how different varieties will perform in storage this year. “There’s more uncertainty this year because we haven’t experienced a year like this,” says Todd Forbush, an engineer with Techmark Inc. “When you are facing uncertainty a definition of your position is very valuable.” Techmark conducted a…

Bumper Crop Expected Across Canada

Statistics Canada’s potato production estimates for 2012 report a three per cent acreage increase over 2011 plantings. Leading the increase in planted acres are processing potatoes, thanks to increases in processing contracts across most provinces, although fresh potato acres are also expected to be up slightly. Shortage may not be a word that’s used much this year as potato growers across Canada are preparing for a bumper crop. Yields have been trending…

The Battle Rages On

With few effective alternative controls available for wireworms in potatoes, the PMRA has decided to extend the deregulation deadline to 2015. Thimet is a systemic insecticide and is the only product currently registered in Canada (except for British Columbia) that is effective in killing wireworms and can be used by all growers. Wireworm control is tricky, partly because of the multiple species—around 30—that exist across Canada, which are specific to different areas…

Growing the Energy Circle

Brothers Chris and Harold Perry are determined that their 3,500 acre family farm near Coaldale, Alta. will grow more than just crops. The Perrys are collaborating on a project to build an anaerobic digester at CKPPQ Farms which will turn agricultural waste into renewable biogas. Their goal is to create a sustainable, on-farm energy system that provides all the power needs of the farm and can sell excess power back to the…

STORAGE-RELATED DISEASES: Research Recap

In Canada, numerous projects are under way to study various post-harvest diseases and to evaluate products, some established and some yet to be released, for the prevention and suppression of storage-related diseases, with the aim of determining the best options for growers. Fusarium Collaborative projects are under way in Alberta and Prince Edward Island on the management of fusarium dry rot. Research efforts are aimed at determining the best integrated programs to…

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