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Know Your Soil Moisture

Irrigation management is about deciding when to irrigate and how much water to apply. When irrigations are managed properly, sufficient water is available for plant uptake for photosynthesis and transpiration during the growing season and excess water loss – through deep percolation and surface runoff – is minimized. Numerous studies have quantified the magnitude of yield reduction when irrigation is delayed and available soil water within the root zone of the crop…

Fading rain prospects worry P.E.I. potato farmers

Following a dry June and what is turning into an even drier July, P.E.I. farmers are beginning to get concerned about the impact on the potato crop. “As the days and now weeks start to go by in July we haven’t had any additional rainfall,” said P.E.I. Potato Board general manager Greg Donald. “On top of that [we] have had above normal temperatures, so concern that it’s going to have an impact…

Precision application of nitrogen in potato farming using drones

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research are testing the use of drones to measure nitrogen needs in potato crops. The “Toward precision agriculture 2.0” research program includes a group of potato farmers carrying out test runs with sensor observations by drones. The drone images show exactly where they should apply more or less nitrogen on their fields, allowing farmers to use the product more efficiently. “Dutch potato farmers apply an average of…

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…

National Potato Psyllid Monitoring Program

In 2016, the National Potato Psyllid Monitoring Program placed, picked up and examined 380 sampling cards in southern Alberta, with about 140 in the field. The program also received cards from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As of mid-June 2017, the program was just beginning to sample for this season, with four sampling cards on stakes at each of 40 sites in Alberta, and other…

Potato Pests Outlook 2017

By all accounts, the potato industry in Canada is a healthy one, and things are certainly looking up for 2017. But to get there, potato growers know they must deal with the inevitable snags that can arise during the growing season. Namely: potato pests, such as insects and diseases. Spud Smart reached out to some experts in the field in late June to determine what risks growers may face. Prince Edward Island…

Developing wireless sensor technologies to fight potato rot in storage facilities

In Idaho, potatoes are both a humble stereotype and a half-billion dollar crop. According to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, every spring farmers plant more than 320,000 acres of potatoes valued at between $550-$700 million. Yet unbeknownst to most consumers, roughly 30 per cent of the potatoes harvested spoil before they reach a grocery store shelf. Boise State University researchers Harish Subbaraman, David Estrada and Yantian Hou hope to change that. In…

Dickeya dianthicola found in Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) potato growers have been hit by a fresh disease scare, with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development warning farmers a new, aggressive bacteria had been detected. Department irrigated agriculture executive director John Ruprecht said the bacteria Dickeya dianthicola, which causes the diseases blackleg and soft rot, had been found in a commercial crop north of Perth. While the two diseases are already in Australia, it is the…

2017 Canadian Potato Crop Outlook

Potato growers in Canada enjoyed a banner year in 2016. Manitoba in particular recorded record yields thanks to good weather and favourable growing conditions. Prices for fresh potatoes were strong from coast to coast and contract volumes remained stable. And for the third year in a row, the national average for potato yield hit record levels, coming in at 307 hundredweight (cwt) per acre. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato…

Light potato psyllid pressure in Idaho

In Idaho, pressure from the tiny, winged insects that spread zebra chip disease in potatoes has been light this season, emboldening some Idaho farmers to scale back on their pesticide programs. Zebra chip, which is caused by the Liberibacter bacterium and spread by potato psyllids, first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. The disease creates bands in tuber flesh that darken during frying, rendering spuds unmarketable. University of Idaho (UI) extension…

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