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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…

Cavendish Farms P.E.I. getting major storage upgrades

Potato processor Cavendish Farms is investing in major potato storage upgrades at its New Annan,P.E.I. facility. The company is constructing two new buildings to store potatoes. According to Jubs Bristow, vice-president of agriculture with Cavendish Farms, the new buildings will be able to hold 48 million pounds of potatoes. Bristow said the buildings under construction are meant to replace six outdated ones, which are 50 to 60 years old and poorly insulated….

Developing wireless sensor technologies to fight potato rot in storage facilities

In Idaho, potatoes are both a humble stereotype and a half-billion dollar crop. According to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, every spring farmers plant more than 320,000 acres of potatoes valued at between $550-$700 million. Yet unbeknownst to most consumers, roughly 30 per cent of the potatoes harvested spoil before they reach a grocery store shelf. Boise State University researchers Harish Subbaraman, David Estrada and Yantian Hou hope to change that. In…

Dicamba drift a new danger for potato growers

Crop damage caused by herbicide drift should be a risk on Manitoba potato producers’ radar this year. Soybean producers are gearing up to plant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans following European Union approval last summer. The soybeans are tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba herbicides. But dicamba drift can cause irreparable damage in neighbouring potato crops, said Andy Robinson, a North Dakota State University extension potato specialist, during a presentation on herbicide…

Diseases To Watch For On Seed Potato Tubers

Healthy seed is a key factor in growing a quality potato crop. Several diseases affect seed tubers and they have the potential to reduce plant stand early in the season. Therefore, it is extremely important to examine all seed lots carefully immediately after receiving the seed. If you detect diseases or defects, check the standards set by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA). There are tolerances for both shipping and receiving….

Simple and Effective Late Blight Detection

Determining late blight presence and the resulting pressure on potato crops is an ongoing challenge. Usually, potato growers start a preventive fungicide program with broad spectrum fungicides before row closure, which ensures stems and leaves at the base of plants are protected from both early and late blight. If late blight is identified in the field, growers switch to fungicides that specifically target it for enhanced crop protection. But what if it…

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014 — following a ring rot flare-up — Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating…

The Impact of Heat and Drought on the 2016 Ontario Potato Crop

Each growing season is different but the 2016 season was like none we have ever seen before. Planting started later than usual due to the cold weather. The early crop planted by the middle of April in southwestern Ontario took more than three weeks to emerge due to cool soil temperatures. Growers were caught off guard when snow fell by the middle of May. The season was off to a bumpy start….

USDA clears new GMO potato variety

A new potato variety that’s genetically modified to withstand bruising has been cleared for commercialization without undergoing USDA’s deregulatory process for biotech crops. The agency has advised the potato’s developer, Calyxt, the cultivar is not a “regulated article” under federal law because it doesn’t contain genes from plant pests. Because most commercial biotech crops incorporate genes from plant pests, they were subject to environmental analysis and a risk assessment from USDA before…

Sorting the rocks from the spuds

Up until this fall, Alex Docherty, chairman of the PEI Potato Board and a potato farmer in Elmwood, P.E.I., would do what most potato farmers on the Island still do today — hire rock pickers. This year, he purchased a Spudnik AirSep Harvester, a piece of equipment instead that eliminates one of the more mundane tasks of the potato harvest — separating the rocks from the spuds. “It’s an incredible piece of equipment,”…

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