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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…

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…

Top 5 Storage Diseases

Potato growers are familiar with the expression ‘a potato storage is not a hospital’, which reflects the simple truth that diseased potatoes going into storage are not going to get better. It is essential that growers carefully monitor potatoes going into storage and keep a close eye on storage conditions to keep infections from spreading to maintain the value of their crop. It’s also important to understand that managing potato diseases in…

Controlling Silver Scurf

One of the more pervasive tuber diseases in North America, silver scurf has been increasing in incidence and severity in recent decades. This has resulted in economic losses that have been most clearly felt in the fresh sector, where unsightly potato skins can lower the market value of the crop. Tracy Shinners-Carnelley is the director of research and quality enhancement for Manitoba’s Peak of the Market — a grower-owned not-for-profit vegetable marketing…

Managing Fusarium Dry Rot in Potatoes

Fusarium is a major problem for potato growers. The fungi, says Alberta Agriculture plant pathologist Michael Harding, can affect tubers all the way through the production cycle, causing seed piece decay, wilt during the growing season, and dry rot in storage. There are ways, however, to mitigate risk, and should that fail, ways to manage the disease if it does occur. “Fusarium is a really important fungal genus for potato diseases,” says…

Recipe for Storage Success

Every grower has seen it at one time or another: the signs of pink rot spreading through the bin, and the dollar signs flying out the window. Fungal infections post-harvest can cause significant losses in a short period of time. The good news? Growers have an increasing number of options for controlling these diseases. And according to the experts, attention to detail and using the right products can mean the difference between…

Know Your Enemies

When preparing for the storage season, loss of potatoes is one of the main problems that growers have to contend with annually. There are a number of causes for loss of potatoes during storage, including respiration, transpiration and—very often—disease. Spud Smart consulted with Khalil Al-Mughrabi, pathologist at the Potato Development Centre of the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, about the most common storage-related diseases growers need to take particular…

Quality Control

The unusually hot and dry conditions that prevailed throughout many areas this season are presenting some unique challenges for potato storage, as many growers are uncertain how different varieties will perform in storage this year. “There’s more uncertainty this year because we haven’t experienced a year like this,” says Todd Forbush, an engineer with Techmark Inc. “When you are facing uncertainty a definition of your position is very valuable.” Techmark conducted a…

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