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After three straight years of record-breaking yields in Canada, the 2018 potato crop appeared headed for a significant drop, thanks to the very hot, dry summer seen in many parts of the country. Some timely end-of-season rains, however, had growers feeling more optimistic heading into harvest. “Two or three weeks ago, we were looking at a severe crop production reduction because of excessive heat and lack of moisture,” Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the…

Louisiana Bans Sweet Potatoes from NC, SC, and FL

The state of Louisiana has banned the entry of sweet potatoes from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida effective immediately because of the presence of Guava Root Knot Nematode found in those areas. In a directive sent out to growers in the last week, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry declared that the nematode had been found within the state and was in the process of quarantining it….

Taking on Herbicide Resistance

Preventive measures can control the spread of herbicide resistance, but when they stop working, the best tool is rapid detection. Dr. Martin Laforest, a weed scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Research and Development Centre and his team have developed molecular tests that can detect the presence of herbicide resistance in less than two weeks using only leaves from the noxious plant. In Canada, weeds in vegetable crops cause tens of…

Disease Alert

Attending winter trade shows and meetings are a favoured ritual for many potato growers. Certain topics tend to dominate the conference circuit every year, and one that’s likely to have a lot of farmers talking this winter is a brand-new strain of late blight called US-25. “This is a topic that will be discussed at winter meetings,” says Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. “There’s not much awareness…

Identifying Common Scab Species and Strains in Ontario

After conducting common scab research for many years, Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, thought a provincial survey of potato fields would help to understand what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario. A research project was submitted by the potato board to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program, says Banks.  The project to collect 50 soil samples from across the province was…

Periderm Disorder Syndrome: A New Name for Potato Pink Eye

Pink eye is a sporadic disorder of potato tubers that may result in a significant loss of quality after harvest. The typical symptoms are pink, slightly raised areas that are easy to see on moist, freshly dug tubers, but difficult to notice on dry, unwashed potatoes. The affected areas usually occur around the eyes and at the tuber stem end. Pink eye will dry out under cool temperatures and low humidity in…

Cold, Wet Weather Threatens Potatoes in Red River Valley

With low temperatures from last week expected to linger into this week, harvest is not looking good for potato farmers, experts say. About 20 percent of the fresh crop still is in the ground in the Red River Valley, said Ted Kreis, spokesman for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. “We could easily lose 100 percent of what’s still in the ground,” Kreis said. The cold and wet weather, which came in…

Scientists Develop Transgenic Potato with Enhanced Tuber Quality and Stress Tolerance

The yield, quality, and market value of potato, the third most important crop in the world, is threatened by salinity and drought tolerance. Thus, researchers from National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina developed a transgenic potato using the ABF4 gene in potato to improve the tuber yield and quality and stress tolerance of potato. ABF proteins are transcription factors that are involved in abscisic acid signalling when stress is present and are important in the induction of tuberization. ABF4 has been…

Potato Producers Cautiously Optimistic

This year has been a difficult one for potato producers in the Portage region. Shifting weather extremes have made both growing and harvesting difficult at times. Recent bouts of frost have producers concerned for their crops still in the ground. Manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Board Dan Sawatzky tells us how the cold snap has affected the crop. “It’s really too early to tell how the frost in the last couple…

Canadian Plant Health Council Launched

Ottawa, Ont. – Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable. Plant health partners in Canada are pleased to announce the establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council – fulfilling a multi-partner commitment to collaboratively implement the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada. The Canadian…

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