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Spud Smart Webinar & Podcast – Soil Health

Potato production can disrupt the soil in a very aggressive way, but there are a number of agronomic measures farmers can follow to bolster soil health. In this webinar, we will talk about practices to help increase the soil’s capacity for potato production, including: • Why organic matter is important for soil structure. • How biodiversity in the soil can help suppress soil-borne disease and pest pathogens. • Using cover crops, minimizing tillage and going to…

Fast-Tracking Extreme Resistance

A key tool in the arsenal for controlling potato virus Y (PVY) is cultivar resistance. Now, researchers are developing better molecular markers for faster, more accurate screening of potato breeding lines for “extreme resistance” to PVY – equivalent to PVY immunity. That will enable breeders to more efficiently develop new varieties with total protection against this serious disease. “PVY is one of the most widespread viruses and also one of the most…

Protecting Your Stored Investment

The vast majority of potato producers have a good to excellent understanding of storage management guidelines. Still, every winter an unfortunate high number of producers face unnecessary stored tuber losses due to incorrect temperature and moisture management. For now, the best scientists are able to offer are strong and repeated reminders about the importance of managing one’s storage conditions. In the longer term, however, research may point toward ways to minimize and…

Potato Farming Family Finds Room to Grow

As a kid growing up in the Netherlands, JP Claassen knew he wanted to be a potato farmer just like his dad. The problem was where to do just that. Claassen’s father Louis and his uncle Anselm cultivated seed potatoes on 140 acres of fertile Dutch farmland close to the North Sea. Between the two of them, they had five sons. The two brothers knew if their boys all grew up to…

Industry News

BUSINESS NEWS U.S. Importing More Potatoes U.S. volume of imports of dehydrated, fresh, frozen, chips and seed potatoes are up seven per cent from July 2016 to March 2017 compared to the same period the previous year.  The increase of 2.5 million hundredweight (cwt) fresh weight equivalent (fwe) was due to increases in all products except seed potatoes. The increase was led by fresh potatoes, which were up 17 per cent or 940,173 cwt….

World Review

KENYA Infestation of potatoes by the Potato cyst nematode (PCN), discovered in Kenya two years ago, has reached alarming levels. A survey done in 20 counties through support from United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) shows that PCN infestation has reached 80 per cent to 100 per cent in some of the potato growing areas. The study shows the future of potato production is bleak unless the government takes emergency measures…

Eye On The Nation

MANITOBA By Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association Growers in Manitoba experienced an excellent start to the season, seeing good potential in the crop this year. Although planting began a little behind last year, the majority of the crop did get planted during the first 10 days of May, bringing it in line with average planting completion. Crop development was rapid, with row closure beginning by the third week of…

From our Desk

Fries Get Bum Rap

It happens constantly: news writers get all hot and sweaty whenever “bad food” news releases are dropped on their desks. Red meat is bad for you. Coffee is bad for you. Booze is bad for you. To be fair, that last one could be correct, but only if you overindulge. And isn’t that the crux? Everything in moderation, that’s the key. So it was bound to happen sooner or later. Potatoes, specifically…

Managing Soil Health in Potatoes

Soil health can be seen as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. This definition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) speaks to the importance of managing the soil so it can continue to sustain life for future generations. According to the USDA-NRCS, there are a number of agronomic measures farmers can follow to…

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…

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