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Seed potatoes go to waste due to trade restrictions

The repercussions of the tomato potato psyllid outbreak are taking shape in Western Australia (WA), with seed potato growers starting to feed hundreds of tonnes of perfectly good produce to their cattle. With exports of WA potatoes and tomatoes still ground to a halt, and a fully supplied local market, seed potato producers have no home for their produce. It has forced many growers, such as Albany’s Trevor Barker, to dump their…

Farm succession skips a generation

Knowing an opportunity when you see it is key to building a successful business, say two Prince Edward Island brothers. So are preparation and confidence in your skills. When the opening came to purchase their grandfather’s farm near Summerside and walk into a turn-key potato operation, Bryan and Kyle Maynard knew it was their chance. “When the opportunity came up, we were both excited to take this on,” 31-year-old Kyle says of…

Potatoes USA Elects New Leadership

The Potatoes USA grower membership elected new leadership during its Annual Meeting held in Denver, CO, March 13-16. The Potatoes USA Executive Committee is comprised by the Chair, Immediate Past Chair, and the Co-Chairs of each committee. They will serve a one year term through Potatoes USA Annual Meeting to be held in March 2018. The marketing committees will work over the next 12 months to guide how the Potatoes USA staff…

Shortage of Canadians Working in Agriculture to Double by 2025

The gap between labour demand and the domestic workforce in agriculture has doubled from 30,000 to 59,000 in the past 10 years and projections indicate that by 2025, the Canadian agri-workforce could be short workers for 114,000 jobs. This is a key finding of newly released Agriculture 2025: How the Sector’s Labour Challenges Will Shape its Future research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC). The LMI research also revealed that…

Heavy rain impacts Tasmanian potato planting

Tasmania farmers are being prevented from planting spring crops like onions and potatoes as relentless rain soaks paddocks. Over the past week some parts of Tasmania have received more than 200 mm of rain, coming on the back of an unprecedented wet winter season. Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association Vegetable Council chairman Nathan Richardson said the wet weather was causing trouble for planting Tasmanian staple crops such as onions, potatoes and poppy…

Sweet potato harvest yields mixed baskets

After two challenging years in Mississippi sweet potato fields, farmers are hoping for a problem-free harvest over the next few weeks. Stephen Meyers, Extension sweet potato specialist based at the Mississippi State University Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, said growers are cautiously optimistic as harvest begins. “I’m hearing a wide range of yields from early harvests, which began the third week of August this year,” Meyers said. “Much of the crop transplanted…

How McCain Foods Uses Big Data

Big data was something McCain Foods discovered by chance. In fact it was a concept its director of agronomy Dr. Yves Leclerc wasn’t even familiar with until about a year and a half ago. “What happened really was we have some research projects and those projects appeared to be in the realm of big data,” says Leclerc, who will be speaking at the Big Data Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick next…

Potato Psyllid Alert for North Dakota

Potato psyllids have been reported in specific fields in western and central North Dakota. At this point populations are not widespread. The potato psyllid is the vector for the Liberibacter bacterium that causes Zebra Chip; samples from the fields hosting psyllid populations are currently being tested to ascertain if they are infectious. Even psyllids that are not infectious with the Zebra Chip Liberibacter can, however, damage potatoes. When psyllids feed they inject…

Potato Alternatives

Most potato growers understand the value of rotating spuds with other crops in a rotation spanning three years or longer, as a vital tool for fighting potato diseases and pests. Some farmers, facing shrinking margins and other factors such as a declining agricultural land base and high costs for adding fields, are tempted to grow potatoes one in every two years, despite the deleterious effects of shorter crop rotations. Potatoes are a…

A Lasting Impression

After more than 40 years in agriculture and 30-plus years of dedicated service to Manitoba’s Keystone Potato Producers Association, Garry Sloik is stepping down as manager of the association. His replacement at the KPPA, Dan Sawatzky, admits he has some big shoes to fill, and lauded Sloik for the many skills he brought to the position. “Working as a provincial agricultural representative provided him with outstanding communication skills. Being employed with Carnation…

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