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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,”…

Agritechnica

Every two years, Hanover, Germany hosts Agritechnica, the world’s largest trade fair for agricultural machinery and equipment. Agritechnica 2015 attracted almost 3,000 exhibitors from 50-plus nations along with tens of thousands of visitors from more than 100 countries to Hanover in November. Spud Smart was there and was able to peruse the latest in cutting edge potato equipment on display. Here are some products that caught our eye. Every-Air Tarp Winner of…

Protecting Your Investment

While some outside the industry may consider a potato grower’s work to be done after harvest, producers know that’s only the first half of the job. Properly storing potatoes and understanding the various storage requirements for tablestock and processing potatoes and the varieties within those sectors is paramount for success, and also for maintaining a competitive edge in securing customers and meeting contract obligations. Robert Coffin, the noted Canadian potato researcher and…

Tools for Success

To protect their investment, it’s important for growers to keep on top of the latest innovations in ventilation, humidification and spout control when storing their potato crops. Spud Smart talked to some industry experts about new equipment, products and technologies aimed at ensuring storage success. Remote Control Ashley Gorman, vice-president of sales at P.E.I.-based Gorman Controls, believes the most important new technologies to hit the scene in recent years have been those…

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