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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…

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…

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…

Heavy rains cause losses in Ontario potato fields

After a month of good growing conditions and positive reports amid sporadic news on disease potential, word from one of Ontario’s potato-growing regions is that roughly 1,000 acres of potatoes have been lost due to flooding. Drenching rains in midwestern Ontario have left both commercial fields and variety plots ruined. Rainfall amounts from June 22 to 23 varied in the potato-growing areas, with the Orangeville and Beeton districts the hardest hit. Orangeville…

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….

Wireworms – Know Them, Control Them

A key hurdle in managing wireworms is that different species can have different responses to control measures. So in 2004, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers launched the first-ever nation-wide survey of wireworm pest species. Now this challenging survey is in its final year. “The survey is foundational to our development of integrated pest management strategies for wireworms right across Canada,” says Bob Vernon, the AAFC research scientist who is leading the…

Seeding decisions harvest opportunities for Canadian farmers

With innovations in crop science, production practices, and marketing, Canadian farm operators are growing a wider variety of field crops while also expanding their production area. Canada’s total field crop area increased seven per cent from 2011 to 92.7 million acres in 2016. The largest crops in terms of acreage were canola, spring wheat, alfalfa and barley. As well, pulses and soybeans have shown considerable growth, the result of market opportunities and the development of seed varieties…

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