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Taking on Herbicide Resistance

Preventive measures can control the spread of herbicide resistance, but when they stop working, the best tool is rapid detection. Dr. Martin Laforest, a weed scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Research and Development Centre and his team have developed molecular tests that can detect the presence of herbicide resistance in less than two weeks using only leaves from the noxious plant. In Canada, weeds in vegetable crops cause tens of…

Disease Alert

Attending winter trade shows and meetings are a favoured ritual for many potato growers. Certain topics tend to dominate the conference circuit every year, and one that’s likely to have a lot of farmers talking this winter is a brand-new strain of late blight called US-25. “This is a topic that will be discussed at winter meetings,” says Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. “There’s not much awareness…

Identifying Common Scab Species and Strains in Ontario

After conducting common scab research for many years, Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, thought a provincial survey of potato fields would help to understand what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario. A research project was submitted by the potato board to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program, says Banks.  The project to collect 50 soil samples from across the province was…

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…

Breaking the Fall

Two years ago, Maritimer Pete Nieuwhof was contemplating ways to speed up packing of his farm’s fresh potato harvest. He found his answer with the EZ-Down, an ingenious device invented by a pair of fellow P.E.I. potato growers. “At the time, we were looking for something to speed up our production a little bit. We had an old homemade machine on the line. It was working well, but we wanted to upgrade so…

Common Scab Complexities

You need to know your enemy if you want to fight it, says Martin Filion, an associate professor at the Université de Moncton. “Genetic diversity of a pathogen means differences in functions the pathogen might have,” he says. “For instance, different species or strains might have different responses to chemicals or agricultural practices you are using to manage the disease.” Information about which common scab species and strains are present and their…

New Label Expansion for Frontier Max Herbicide

MISSISSAUGA, Ont.— On Sept. 24, 2018, BASF Canada Inc. was granted a new label expansion for FrontierMax herbicide, for control of annual grasses and key broadleaf weeds in potatoes. In addition to its expanded label on potatoes, Frontier Max is also registered for use on corn, soybeans, dry beans, onions, cabbage and grapes. “Potato growers continue to look for new solutions for their weed control challenges, and we believe Frontier Max will…

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…

New Late Blight Strain Identified: US-25

A new late blight strain type, US-25, has been identified in New York State. To date, this new strain has only been found on tomato. Christine Smart, a professor at Cornell University, has been keeping potato pathologists informed on US-25, which is now known to be Ridomil/mefenoxam-resistant, says Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. US-25 is of the A2 mating type, and under laboratory conditions will infect potato…

Oats: Fall Cover Crop

Oats have been used as a fall cover crop for decades, says Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. The plants can grow up to four feet tall, and winterkill at -8 C.  “For maximum benefit, oats should be planted at least six weeks prior to a frost,” she says. Furthermore, oats establish quickly, suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion, scavenge soil nutrients and improve soil structure, says Banks.  Better soil structure “softens”…

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