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Browsing Category Summer 2012

Messaging Makeover

Are potatoes healthy vegetables, which also trigger nostalgic memories of family dinners—or are they nuggets of pure carbohydrates? Are fries and potato chips still food once they’ve visited the deep-fryer? Should children be allowed to consume them? Should they be allowed in schools? If you live in a potato-eating nation, you are sure to have heard these questions—or have grappled with them yourself. Potato growers are the last people to question the…

Damage Control

Gary Linkletter is chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and a partner of Linkletter Farms Ltd. He farms 1,500 acres of fresh-pack potatoes near Summerside, P.E.I. Mark VanOostrum is the field manager and quality supervisor for W.D. Potato Ltd. in Beeton, Ont. He oversees 50 growers and 15,000 acres of chip-stock potato production in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Andrew Kazakoff is a member of the Saskatchewan…

Passing on a Passion for Potatoes

Co-founded in 1960 by family patriarch John Kuhl on land owned by his father, Southern Manitoba Potato today encompasses 6,500 acres of potato, wheat, canola, soybean and corn. While John can still be found walking the fields and helping with major decisions, the day-to-day operations of the family farm are now handled by John’s son Keith and grandsons Marlon and Jeremy. According to Keith, this family-focused mindset has allowed the company, and…

At The Root

People News Carl Hoverson Becomes New NPPGA Chairman For the second consecutive year, a large-scale processing potato grower will head the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. Jeff VanRay from Pingree, N.D. has passed the gavel to Larimore, N.D. grower Carl Hoverson. Hoverson Farms produces over 5,000 acres of potatoes, nearly all russets, for processing at the Simplot fry plant in Grand Forks. Hoverson says he would like to see increased promotion of Red…

Market News

Canadian acreage estimates are up, but a combination of poor weather in some growing areas and deliberate control of acreage has left the country in a manageable position. “Overall, I think we’re relatively pleased with Canada’s acreage,” says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada. “In terms of numbers, we’re certainly up in acres in some provinces, Prince Edward Island for example—we’re expecting to be up about 3,500…

Equipment and Technology

Optical Sorting Odenberg has introduced Halo, the company’s newest and most advanced sensor-based optical sorter. Designed for use after potatoes have been washed and dried in wash plants, Halo uses top and bottom sensor banks to view potatoes in motion using LED, CCD camera and near-infrared spectroscopy. According to Diarmuid Meagher, vice-president of sales for Odenberg’s sorters, the Halo model offers multiple benefits, including “significant sorting labour-savings and consistent high-quality output.” Beyond…

World Review

 New Zealand “CropLogic” is an online decision support system developed by researchers at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research. The system, which has been in use in Australia and New Zealand since 2010, helps potato farmers achieve the optimal mix of irrigation and nitrogen, and also predicts crop yield and harvest date. Growers using the system receive a daily report on their crops and agronomy-related advice on what they…

Zebra Chip Update

North American researchers are working hard to improve management strategies for a disease that continues to spread. Zebra chip disease has been a growing issue in the last decade as the potato psyllid continues to migrate further north in the United States. The vector of zebra chip disease is the potato psyllid, an insect that can transmit the disease—however, not all psyllids are carriers of the pathogen. According to Donald Henne, professor…

Healthy Harvester Settings and Maintenance

Why are harvester settings and maintenance important? Proper harvester settings are a must for maintaining high-quality, bruise-free potatoes. Bruising costs growers money by increasing storage losses due to shrinkage and disease, increasing labour costs for sorting and inspection, and decreasing contract value. Good judgement applies to every stage of the process—for example, growers need to monitor temperature and soil conditions. Close attention to night and early morning temperatures to maintain a tuber…

Vine Killing 101

Vine killing prior to harvest, also called desiccation, is a common practice on North American potato farms. Vine killing should be done well before harvest, usually two to three weeks. By desiccating when optimum harvest conditions have been reached, growers can control many of the variables that adversely affect the quality and yield of the crop. Desiccating potato vines is essential for several reasons: it ensures good tuber separation from stolons during…

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