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U.S. student wins prize for blight solution

New York student Benjamin “Benjy” Firester has won one of the United States’ top young science prizes for his research on the devastating microorganism which caused the Irish Potato Famine, devising a computer model that could prevent it causing billions of dollars in lost crops every year. The 18-year-old senior at Hunter College High School beat 1,800 students in the race to the $250,000 first prize at the Regeneron Science Talent Search,…

Picking away at the problem of common scab on potatoes

Dr. Claudia Goyer, a molecular bacteriologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in New Brunswick, says she is seeing promising results that may help potato growers get more of their products into the global marketplace. Common scab is a potato disease caused by bacteria in the soil and while it is not a health issue for humans, common scab’s crusty lesions on potato skin can make potatoes unmarketable. …

2018 Northeast Potato Technology Forum

The 2018 Northeast Potato Technology Forum will be held March 21-22, 2018, at the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel in downtown Fredericton, N.B. This annual event provides potato researchers, extension specialists and industry representatives from Atlantic Canada and Northeastern United States an opportunity to discuss potato research and exchange technical information of benefit to the potato industry. Participation is open to all private and public researchers, extension specialists, growers, and other potato…

P.E.I.: Potato Research Update and Grower Feedback

P.E.I. potato growers and Agronomy Initiative for Marketable yield (AIM) partners are invited to a series of local meetings on March 19th and 20th, 2018 to discuss some of the trials being done under AIM. As well, this will be an opportunity for growers to provide feedback on their priorities for research and agronomy, to ensure the AIM program continues to respond to the needs of growers. Meeting times and locations: March…

U.K. report states potatoes provide health benefits

For decades, potatoes have been branded unhealthy and humans have been advised to avoid consuming too many of them. But now, researchers say that consuming the popular tuber is actually good for you. Scientists who reviewed a host of evidence are pushing for potatoes to be reassessed for their “clear” health benefits. They have uncovered evidence in a 60-page report that consuming potatoes could slash the risk of having a heart attack…

Study Traces the Origins of CPB

A new study from a University of Maryland-led team of researchers confirms the long held idea that the Colorado potato beetle, by far the most damaging insect to the U.S. — and Canadian — potato industry, originated in the Great Plains region of the United States. The findings dispel more recent theories that this beetle may have come from Mexico or other divergent populations. These findings shed new light on the origin of…

TOMRA Food Launches Farm-to-Fork Pan-Industry Working Groups

TOMRA Food is forming cross-industry working groups to accelerate development of digital standards for the food industry, with the first meetings to be held in Q4, 2018. “Thousands of TOMRA Food sorters around the world are generating valuable data that has the power to optimize every part of the food supply chain,” says Mike Riley, head of TOMRA Food. “This is in addition to data from millions of other devices and applications…

Is There a Best Way to Manage Nitrogen?

A major project with studies in Manitoba and Alberta has been comparing diverse nitrogen management options to see if there might be a clear winner when it comes to irrigated potato production on the Prairies. The project was prompted by several considerations. “Potato is one of our crops where we apply the most amount of nitrogen. So any study that helps us to fine-tune nitrogen management to optimize yields and quality and…

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…

Colorado potato beetle genome gives insight into major agricultural pest

The Colorado potato beetle is notorious for its role in starting the pesticide industry — and for its ability to resist the insecticides developed to stop it. Managing the beetle costs tens of millions of dollars every year, but this is a welcome alternative to the billions of dollars in damage it could cause if left unchecked. To better understand this tenacious pest, a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin–Madison…

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