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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…

Preparing the Land

But there are other steps for ensuring a good potato crop beyond tillage and forming good hills and seed beds. Testing the fertility of the soil and applying early-season nutrients if necessary, as well as other agricultural practices like planting cover crops, can all play an important role in ensuring your crop gets off to a good start.Growers, like boy scouts, know it’s important to be prepared. Each spring, potato fields across…

Controlling Wireworms

With wireworms on the rise in Canada — and the main weapon against them soon to be taken off the market — it’s a question that’s top of mind for many potato producers these days. Is there another silver bullet out there that will take the place of Thimet? Wireworms are thin, hard-bodied larvae of the click beetle that feed on the roots of cereals and other crops including potatoes. In recent…

Rising Resistance

It’s important to keep an eye out for Colorado potato beetles during the growing season because of their potentially devastating impact on both yield and quality. In recent years, farmers have relied heavily on neonicotinoid insecticides to help keep this resilient bug in check — but of growing concern to producers is the fact that what once worked, actually may not now. In addition to growing CPB resistance to neonicotinoids, another disturbing…

Integrated Pest Management

Pests in their many forms — rooted, winged or microscopic — are a problem for any potato grower. Eradicating weeds, bugs and diseases in a way that’s environmentally sustainable but also makes economic sense is a primary goal of using an Integrated Pest Management strategy. We posed the question of best management practices in IPM to three growers from across the country: Michel Camps of Alberta, P.E.I.’s Thomas Hamill and Eugene Antworth…

Managing Fusarium Dry Rot in Potatoes

Fusarium is a major problem for potato growers. The fungi, says Alberta Agriculture plant pathologist Michael Harding, can affect tubers all the way through the production cycle, causing seed piece decay, wilt during the growing season, and dry rot in storage. There are ways, however, to mitigate risk, and should that fail, ways to manage the disease if it does occur. “Fusarium is a really important fungal genus for potato diseases,” says…

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