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Browsing Category Sustainability

Comparing New Nitrogen Alternatives

Nitrogen use efficiency is a topic that is an intersection of food security, environmental sustainability and economics in our agricultural production systems. We need to use nitrogen to produce a good harvest. So says Dr. Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, the study’s lead investigator and an assistant professor in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. “However, by using nitrogen fertilizer we also have the risk of losing some of that…

Preparing for the Potato’s Future

It’s always been critical to breed new crop varieties with good yield and harvest quality, but it’s more important than ever to do so now, with crops facing myriad stresses related to changing climate conditions. Dr. Keshav Dahal, a crop stress physiologist who joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Fredericton, N.B. during summer 2017, is helping unlock how some plants sense and react to stress more effectively than…

New Publication – Plant Nutrition Diagnostics: Potato

Good nutrition is essential for supporting potato plant health and providing the necessary defense against plant disease and stress. The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), J.R. Simplot Company and Tennessee State University have collaborated on a new publication that provides readers with access to a unique collection of hundreds of high resolution photographs that document a wide range of nutrient deficiency symptoms in potato plants with remarkable clarity. Developed within a unique…

Nurturing Deep Roots in Sustainability

The VanderZaag family has been growing potatoes for generations, initially in the Netherlands, and then immigrating to Alliston, Ont. For founder of Sunrise Potato Storage Ltd., Peter VanderZaag, it is not just about producing a marketable crop but returning life to the depleted soils around the world. Today, the family farm consists of over 1,000 acres of potatoes, and a state-of-the-art storage facility that can hold 400,000 cwt (18,000 tonnes) of potatoes….

Correctly Used Neonics Do Not Adversely Affect Honeybee Colonies, New Research Finds

The three most widely used neonicotinoid pesticides for flowering crops pose no risk to honeybee colonies when used correctly as seed treatments, according to new studies by University of Guelph researchers. Amid mounting controversy over use of neonicotinoids (neonics) and declining bee population, a new analysis by U of G scientists of previously unpublished studies and reports commissioned by agri-chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta – as well as published papers from the…

Improving Soil, Improving Potatoes

Innovative growers and an agronomist recently teamed up to look at ways to improve the potato crop and the soil. For three years, Bruce and Hunter Wilson gave agronomist John Lightle the go ahead to try some cover crop combinations on their 6,000 acre farm in the Dufferin Highlands of Ontario. The acres are in a prime potato producing area and the growers wanted to maximize their yield while considering other cropping…

Potato Sustainability Initiative Expands and Evolves

The Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) grew out of a request from McDonald’s in 2010 for its growers to track and report on the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) practices. By 2013, the PSI had evolved into a comprehensive and groundbreaking collaboration that included customers, processors and growers in both the U.S. and Canada – a program that promoted and measured practices important to worker safety and sustainability, including water and energy…

A novel option to combat soil erosion

A spring cover crop planted at potato planting time – called a nurse crop – offers a way to reduce soil erosion during the weeks between potato planting and hilling. But what is the optimal way to grow a nurse crop to benefit the soil, the potato crop, and the grower’s bottom line? Researchers and growers in New Brunswick and Maine are working on answering that question. “The best part of the…

Banks: Ontario Variety Trial Results

Ed. note: On Sept. 4, 2017, Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, dug up the Beeton (Ontario) Variety Trial plot that was embedded in a grower’s field. These are her observations: The flooding that occurred on June 23, as a result of a five-inch rain, kept the plants under water for 30 hours. I expected  a total loss. However the grower worked hard to save my plot and the…

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