Connect With Us

Browsing Category Soil

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”…

Primary Residue Tillage: Research Review

With cooperation of research partners, the Agronomy Initiative for Marketable yield (AIM) has been able to complete a research review and resulting extension document relating to the use of primary residue tillage (ie. Synkro/Lemken equipment) in potato production in PEI.  Results of three studies in PEI this decade have been further analyzed and compared to better understand the impacts on potato production and soil from the use of this equipment in comparison…

Fall Cover Crops: Funding Available

It’s not too early to start thinking about your cover crop plans this fall. Are you planning to plough or Synkro/Lemken in late August or early September? Then there is lots of time to establish a cover crop for the winter that will protect the soil, increase bioactivity in the soil, and improve soil organic matter. Plus, you have lots of options for beneficial fall cover crops that will establish before the…

Ireland: Potatoes Stop Growing in Parched Earth

David Rodgers, the second generation of his family growing potatoes in Ballyboughal, and his father have never experienced anything like it. So parched is the earth in this famously lush and fertile north Co Dublin countryside – renowned for its food produce – that potatoes are not growing at all. One of four brothers who grow Queens, Kerr’s Pinks and mostly Roosters over 250 acres, they supply Country Crest, which in turn…

Multi-Species Cover Crop Blend for Rotation in the Canadian Potato Provinces

Soil organic matter has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year. In Ontario, a report from late 2016 indicated soil organic matter (SOM) levels in many parts of the province are at 15-year lows, coinciding with increasing interest in the use of cover crops, reduced- or no-till management and longer rotations in the past three to five years. On Prince Edward Island, the issue of low SOM levels is…

Do Some Potato Growing Soils Suppress Powdery Scab?

A research project in New Zealand is determining if different field soils affect development of powdery scab on potatoes, and whether soil physical, chemical and/or biological characteristics influence this important potato disease. The project is developing new knowledge that may provide a basis for manipulating soil factors to reduce the harmful effects of the powdery scab pathogen. Photo 1. Powdery scab can severely reduce the quality and marketability of seed, fresh market…

Boosting soil carbon, boosting potato yields

Louis-Pierre Comeau is adding the soil carbon piece to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) research efforts in the Maritimes. His studies will be contributing to the development of practical, profitable agricultural practices that increase soil organic matter for improved potato yields. Carbon is part of all plants and animals, and the key element in soil organic matter. “In turn, soil organic matter is essential for a variety of needs like food, fibre…

Solving Eastern Canada’s Yield Woes

As a large-scale soil rejuvenation study in New Brunswick draws to a close, lead researcher and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato scientist Bernie Zebarth says solutions to lagging potato yield in Eastern Canada are anything but simple. For decades, potatoes have held top position as Maritime Canada’s most important cash crop. In 2015-2016, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia produced 1.84 million tonnes of potatoes for a value of $256…

Improving Soil, Improving Potatoes

Innovative growers and an agronomist recently teamed up to look at ways to improve the potato crop and the soil. For three years, Bruce and Hunter Wilson gave agronomist John Lightle the go ahead to try some cover crop combinations on their 6,000 acre farm in the Dufferin Highlands of Ontario. The acres are in a prime potato producing area and the growers wanted to maximize their yield while considering other cropping…

PEI Potato Producers Building Soil Health Through Crop Rotation

An area of increased attention for agricultural research and changes in production practices globally is soil health. Through new technology and a better understanding of the microbial communities in soil, farmers are making changes in crop rotation, tillage, and nutrient management to foster the health of their soil. Prince Edward Island potato producers are also making changes to their production practices to improve soil health, encompassing the biological, chemical and physical qualities…

Older Articles »

You have successfully signed up for our newsletter!

Open