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Browsing articles by Eugenia Banks

Ontario Harvest Update

Oct. 20, 2018—According to Mark VanOostrum, of W.D. Potato Ltd., 95 per cent of the processing crop has been dug.  This is close to the fresh market acreage harvested. The consensus among growers is yield is down and tuber size is smaller due to the hot, dry summer. Cold, wet and windy weather has made digging potatoes in October a challenge.  The first snow fell in the Alliston, Ont., area on October…

Periderm Disorder Syndrome: A New Name for Potato Pink Eye

Pink eye is a sporadic disorder of potato tubers that may result in a significant loss of quality after harvest. The typical symptoms are pink, slightly raised areas that are easy to see on moist, freshly dug tubers, but difficult to notice on dry, unwashed potatoes. The affected areas usually occur around the eyes and at the tuber stem end. Pink eye will dry out under cool temperatures and low humidity in…

Ontario Potato Harvest in Full Swing

September 29, 2018 — This week, the harvest of the long storage crop was in full swing in the Alliston area.  Mother Nature has cooperated, and it was non-stop digging.  Storages were filling quickly with a healthy crop. Yesterday morning, I stopped by H.J. VanderZaag storages and saw Lamokas going into storage.  Karen VanderZaag was grading the potatoes and looked happy — the crop was excellent, and her job was easy! In…

Pythium Leak, A Serious Yield Robber

Pythium leak has been showing up before harvest in a number of Ontario fields this year. Symptoms of Pythium leak at the early infection stage are moist gray or brown lesions around wounds, or near the stem end of tubers. Cut through the lesions and look for a creamy rot, which will darken from light brown to dark brown, to grey and finally black when exposed to air.  The cut surface has…

Seed infected with Dickeya, the new blackleg

Potato seed infected late in the season with Dickeya (new blackleg) usually does not show symptoms in the field before harvest nor in seed storages. This is because Dickeya requires high temperatures for the development of visible symptoms. The optimum temperature for Dickeya is above 25 C. By contrast, the old blackleg (Pectobacterium) can develop at cool temperatures (8-10 C), and symptoms are usually visible when cutting seed. I have two questions about Dickeya: If dormant infection…

Ten Tips for a Tip-Top Harvest

The potato person who said many years ago “A potato storage is not a hospital” was absolutely right. Diseased or bruised tubers do not get better in storage. Tubers bruised at harvest are easily invaded by soft rot or Fusarium dry rot, which can cause serious economic losses in storage. Harvest management, in large part, is bruise management. Bruising also affects tuber quality significantly. In order to harvest potatoes with minimum tuber…

Banks: Ontario Variety Trial Results

Ed. note: On Sept. 4, 2017, Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, dug up the Beeton (Ontario) Variety Trial plot that was embedded in a grower’s field. These are her observations: The flooding that occurred on June 23, as a result of a five-inch rain, kept the plants under water for 30 hours. I expected  a total loss. However the grower worked hard to save my plot and the…

Late blight found in Ontario spore traps

Late blight was found yesterday (July 19) in the Delhi area, in a field with two spore traps.  There were only a few plants with dried up lesions. According to the grower, he had sprayed Curzate + Bravo + Copper as a preventative treatment. This week, spore traps caught late blight spores in the Shelburne, Alliston and Simcoe Delhi areas. It has been a very wet year so far, and it is…

Late blight alert in southern Ontario

A&L Biologicals Laboratory has confirmed the presence of late blight spores in the Alliston, Ont. area. Spores were not detected in the spore trap near Shelburne, Ont., but conditions for the development of late blight are perfect not only near Alliston but across the province of Ontario. To date, there are no reports of potato late blight in Ontario. But potato fields must be protected against this devastating disease to avoid economic…

Potato Late Blight Management

Potato late blight is a devastating disease of potatoes. It can destroy a potato field in a few days if wet weather prevails and no effective fungicides are applied. This is a “community disease” because late blight spores are spread by wind from infected to healthy fields. Thus, the management practices followed by individual growers will affect an entire potato production area. Late blight is carried over from one season to the…

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