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Breaking the Fall

Two years ago, Maritimer Pete Nieuwhof was contemplating ways to speed up packing of his farm’s fresh potato harvest. He found his answer with the EZ-Down, an ingenious device invented by a pair of fellow P.E.I. potato growers. “At the time, we were looking for something to speed up our production a little bit. We had an old homemade machine on the line. It was working well, but we wanted to upgrade so…

New and Improved Potato Scanning and Handling Systems

Any technology that helps maximize profit and minimize waste is welcome in agriculture, and potato farming is no exception. There are some recent updates on new and established scanning and handling systems now available or soon to be marketed. You have likely heard about the SmartSpud, a revolutionary Canadian device produced by Masitek Instruments of Moncton, N.B., that travels through potato equipment from harvester to packaging, mimicking a real potato. It provides…

Potato Producers Have Eyes On The Future

For a century at least, potatoes have been one of our province’s staple crops. More recently, they’ve become a pillar of southern Alberta’s economy. And now university-based researchers are on hand for support, as producers prepare to grow the industry still further. With a major potato processing plant now under construction in Lethbridge, industry officials predict a jump of nearly 10,000 more acres put into potato crop rotation. On Friday, scientists at…

Chinese Scientists Prevent Potato Sprouting with Hydrophobic Nano Silica

Chinese scientists have developed a nano-material that prevents the sprouting of potatoes. This new anti-sprouting method for potato storage also suppresses the formation of toxic glyco-alkaloids that typically is associated with the sprouting process. Stored potatoes usually sprout rapidly, at the same time producing a significant amount of solanine, a substance that is toxic in high concentrations. Potato sprouting can be controlled using various techniques such as temperature control, irradiation and the…

New AHDB Potatoes Store Managers’ Guide

The latest data on in-store airflow, tuber respiration and sprout suppression is included in the 3rd edition of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research’s (SBCSR) Potato Store Managers’ Guide. The guide, released Monday, June 18, is written by Adrian Cunnington, Head of Crop Storage Research at AHDB and is the latest publication from the world-leading SBCSR research team. “Potato storage is a key element of modern-day potato production, looking to fulfil the demands…

Managing Weight Loss in Storage

By now, potatoes in most of the U.S. and parts of Canada have been in storage one to two months. The crop is at or nearing holding temperatures specific to the cultivar and use. Storages are being monitored for disease development, desired temperature, ventilation and humidity. What isn’t as easy to see is the amount of weight loss, or shrinkage, that is occurring in storage. Stored potatoes will lose weight from respiration…

Spud Smart Webinar: Potato Storage

Storage losses have declined substantially over the years as storage facilities and storage technologies like ventilation systems and temperature sensors improve. Basic storage management recommendations themselves, however, have remained relatively unchanged for many years. On, Wednesday, November 29 at 1 p.m. Eastern, we will hear from Dr. Robert Coffin, potato researcher at Potato Consulting Services Inc., Prince Edward Island, and Todd Forbush, an engineering/storage specialist with Techmark, Lansing, Michigan, who will discuss…

Beeton, Ont. potato farmers reaching ‘critical point’ in harvest season

It’s potato harvest season, and as storage bins throughout the Beeton, Ont. area begin to fill up with mounds of taters, some farmers are finding themselves in a bit of a high-wire act to ensure they don’t lose their crops. Mark Vanoostrum, the supply and quality manager for W.D. Potato in Beeton, said the chipping potatoes harvested so far are revealing the effects of all the wacky weather the area experienced this…

Disease Watch: Late Blight

Late blight disease caused by Phytophthora infestans devastates potato foliage and tubers. The pathogen can survive between growing seasons as mycelium in potato tubers and plant tissues, and on alternative hosts of Solanaceae family. The pathogen may also overwinter as oospores in soil. Infected tubers used for seed or discarded onto cull piles or infected volunteer potatoes are sources of infection for the new growing season. In addition to potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant,…

Study warns of blackspot bruising potential

The accumulative impact of hot days, combined with warm evenings that fail to cool down, could result in blackspot bruising early in the harvest season, according to a recent study by the Idaho Potato Commission. The Commission sponsored the study to warn Idaho growers of preventative measures to avoid blackspot bruising of potatoes during the early harvest period. The study, published by University of Idaho potato researchers Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen,…

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