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Dicamba drift a new danger for potato growers

Crop damage caused by herbicide drift should be a risk on Manitoba potato producers’ radar this year. Soybean producers are gearing up to plant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans following European Union approval last summer. The soybeans are tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba herbicides. But dicamba drift can cause irreparable damage in neighbouring potato crops, said Andy Robinson, a North Dakota State University extension potato specialist, during a presentation on herbicide…

Select potato growers trying soil fumigation for McCain Foods

CARIBOU, Maine — The largest buyer of potatoes in Aroostook County, McCain Foods, has started trials examining soil fumigation with several of its growers. More common in western states, fumigating soil to fight nematodes and soil-borne diseases is “not something we’ve done in Maine,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody, an agronomist with McCain Foods, said during the Maine Potato Conference in Caribou in January. In an effort to boost yields with its contract growers…

PMRA proposes phase-out of imidacloprid use

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to phase-out all the agricultural and a majority of other outdoor uses of imidacloprid over three to five years. Imidacloprid (Admire) is a neonicotinoid insecticide used by commercial applicators and growers to manage insects on a large number of agricultural crops, including potatoes in which it provides extended control of Colorado potato beetle, aphids, potato leafhopper and potato flea beetle. Health Canada recently…

Bayer launches Velum Prime

Bayer has announced the launch of Velum Prime nematicide, the first non-fumigant nematicide registered for potatoes in Canada. Velum Prime is a new mode of action and chemical class (pyridinyl ethyl benzamide) for nematode protection. It offers growers effective nematode protection that helps sustain plant vigor and maximize crop yield potential. “The launch of Velum Prime in Canada provides protection against a yield robbing pest that, for many growers, didn’t have a…

Potatoes and biochar are not friends

Studies have shown that adding biochar to soil can improve soil fertility, increase nutrient utilization in plants, improve soil water-holding capacity, increase crop yield and reduce emission of greenhouse gases. However, if you are a potato farmer, your joy may be short-lived. Biochar and potatoes do not go very well together – at least not if you are aiming at saving water, according to results from Aarhus University in Denmark. During her…

What’s After Thimet?

There’s a growing sense of unease among Canadian potato producers as the countdown continues on the deregulation of Thimet 15-G. In the face of increased wireworm pressure across the country, especially in Prince Edward Island, growers aren’t the only group troubled by the phasing out of the only insecticide registered in Canada for use on potatoes that kills wireworms. “Growers need a product that kills wireworms. They are concerned about it and we…

Controlling Silver Scurf

One of the more pervasive tuber diseases in North America, silver scurf has been increasing in incidence and severity in recent decades. This has resulted in economic losses that have been most clearly felt in the fresh sector, where unsightly potato skins can lower the market value of the crop. Tracy Shinners-Carnelley is the director of research and quality enhancement for Manitoba’s Peak of the Market — a grower-owned not-for-profit vegetable marketing…

4R Nutrient Stewardship

4R nutrient stewardship represents an innovative approach to nutrient best management practices. Proponents of applying this concept to potato production believe that the principles of this approach provide a sound framework for growers to achieve cropping system goals, such as increased production, increased farmer profitability, enhanced environmental protection and improved sustainability. In essence, 4R nutrient stewardship implies that growers put the following best management practices in place in terms of the nutrient…

Disease Watch

Late blight attacks both tubers and foliage. On tubers it causes dark external skin discolouration. The internal flesh of tubers tends to show reddish or tan brown, granular, internal dry rot. Depending on the length of infection, peeling of skin over the affected area and soft rot development, due to secondary infections, can also be observed. On foliage, dark, water-soaked lesions are observed on the upper surface of the leaf. Talc-like white…

Insect Watch

Every year, potato producers across Canada are challenged by insect pests damaging their crop. The size of the pest population is influenced by factors such as overwintering survival, host plant availability and climatic conditions, and often varies widely between regions and years. To mitigate damage to the crop, it is essential to monitor for insect pests, especially the most significant ones. Some important pests to watch for in 2015 are: Colorado potato…

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