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Browsing articles by Treena Hein

Potato Sustainability Initiative Expands and Evolves

The Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) grew out of a request from McDonald’s in 2010 for its growers to track and report on the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) practices. By 2013, the PSI had evolved into a comprehensive and groundbreaking collaboration that included customers, processors and growers in both the U.S. and Canada – a program that promoted and measured practices important to worker safety and sustainability, including water and energy…

French Fries Gaining Ground

Hot, convenient and delicious fast food – that’s what’s driving the growing global demand for frozen potato products such as french fries. Bruce Huffaker, publisher of North American Potato Market News, says the biggest current growth markets for french fries are Brazil and several countries in both the Pacific Rim and Middle East. While Europe offers aggressive pricing, good currency value and some transportation advantages, Huffaker says North America’s biggest advantages are…

Celebrating 150-plus years of potato production

Long before John A. Macdonald took office as this country’s first prime minister 150 years ago, there were potatoes growing in Canada. But before we go into the history of the potato, let’s go back to the very beginning. Potatoes originated in the Andes in South America and were taken to Spain around the year 1500. However, another 200 years or so passed before potatoes were recognized as a useful food source…

Soil Testing Accuracy Important

The phrase that advises us never to compare apples to oranges should be taken very seriously in relation to soil tests according to Pat Toner, a soil management specialist with New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture (NBAFA). “A standard test will measure water pH, buffer pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur, but you need to ensure a couple of things are in place for the results to be accurate and useful,” Toner explains….

New Specialty Potatoes Offer Choice

It’s a great time to be a potato lover in Canada. Together, 2016 and 2017 mark banner years for new variety introductions. While it’s too early to fully report on Canadian consumer response for these groundbreaking spuds, we can give you preliminary news on the browning-resistant Innate, the low glycemic index Carisma, the flavourful Rooster (currently the most popular potato in the U.K.), as well as new coloured varieties released by Agriculture…

Sorghum-Sudangrass as Rotation Crop

The ideal potato rotation crop is one that offers more than one agronomic benefit and also has a positive effect on potato yields. An exciting rotation option with great potential on both these fronts is now being investigated in a second in-depth study in P.E.I. Sorghum-sudangrass is being closely examined as part of a larger cross-country study focused on enhancing the productivity and sustainability of Canadian potato production. The national team includes…

Trade Agreements and Potato Markets

It is hoped that when it is ratified, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will open new export markets for Canadian potatoes. But when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw from the trade agreement in January, it put negotiation among the remaining 11 nations in flux. Before we go into what might happen, let’s look at the current potato export “lay of the land” among the nations involved. According to…

IPM Training Module Launched

Positive comments are coming fast and furious for a new potato integrated pest management (IPM) training module recently launched by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). According to OMAFRA, “the module is a great educational tool with information for the common insect pests, diseases, viruses and disorders of potatoes in Ontario.” The creator of the module is Eugenia Banks, OMAFRA’s longtime potato specialist who retired in late 2015….

Public trust in Canada’s food system

“Very serious” – that’s how United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) general manager Kevin MacIsaac describes the issue of lost public trust in Canadian agriculture. “We have to approach this in the same way we would deal with issues of food safety and other key issues,” he says, “because it will eventually lead to declines in consumption of certain foods if people do not trust the source.” John Bareman, chair of the Canadian…

Potato Wastewater

Water availability and water quality are two issues that are gaining a lot of attention these days, and concerns have led to stricter agricultural water-use regulations in some provinces. In Ontario, for example, farmers will feel the impact of new phosphorus loading targets for Lake Erie that the federal government is expected to announce soon, as part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and U.S. When tubers are moved…

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