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Mustering Mustard for Potato Productivity

A recent study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Bernie Zebarth, together with McCain Foods Canada agronomists and the PEI Potato Board, identified potato early dying complex (PED) and degraded soil health as the two most important factors limiting potato production in the Maritimes. So says Dr. Dahu Chen, a plant pathologist at AAFC’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre. This double threat has prompted Chen and his colleagues at AAFC…

Newfoundland Firms Test New Potato Varieties

E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. and Phytocultures Ltd. are working together to bring new types of potatoes to Newfoundland and Labrador, from South America. E.W. Gaze Seeds Co., founded in Newfoundland in 1925,  specializes in selling “high-quality vegetable and flower seeds”. Phytocultures Ltd. reached out to E.W. Gaze to try out the new potato seeds they have been working on for a few years. The store is giving away free samples to people…

Remote Sensing: The technology, current use and future outlook

Remote sensing in potatoes is being actively investigated for its value in ensuring a high-yielding, healthy crop. Although in its relatively early stages in Canada, data collection through remote means and the related data analysis is developing at a swift pace. In this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart gathered experts to report on the remote sensing tech being used in potatoes, the present value of the information collected and where the future…

GMO potato can reduce fungicide use by 90 per cent

Researchers in Ireland and the Netherlands have discovered that a genetically engineered potato carrying a blight resistance gene could help farmers reduce fungicide sprays by up to 90 percent. Scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Teagasc, the Irish agricultural research agency, conducted three years of field tests in the two countries to examine the effectiveness of potato genes aiming to confer resistance to Phytophthora infestans, otherwise known as late blight…

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…

Top Grade

It’s been five years since Austin Roberts and his wife Ramona joined forces with other P.E.I. potato farmers to successfully improve their industry for the better. In 2013, Austin (Kinkora Holdings) partnered with Marvyn Webster (Valley Grove Enterprises) and Andrew Lawless (Hilltop Produce) to built a pre-processing potato wash facility. “We felt that P.E.I. farmers as a group needed a safe and environmental option to clean and optimize product in a high-capacity…

Wild potatoes from Germany breed stronger, more disease resistant potatoes

Wild potatoes acquired from a gene bank in Germany six years ago are producing promising results for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers trying to develop superior Canadian varieties with resistance to some of the most problematic potato diseases. Stronger potato varieties will increase yields for Canadian growers, which translates into higher profits. Dr. Benoit Bizimungu, head of potato breeding at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre, said a number of hybrids bred…

NSERC funds UPEI research into potato input technologies

The development of new technologies and systems for the application of potato production inputs has received a funding boost at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). The National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded Dr. Aitazaz Farooque, an assistant professor at UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering a Discovery Grant and Discovery Accelerator Supplement. Farooque’s research — Development of Precision Agriculture Technologies to Improve Crop Productivity and…

Farming From Space

Technology in all areas of farming continues to evolve, and satellite data collection and analysis is no exception. It’s becoming less expensive every year to collect data on crops, weather and more from space, and the information gathered is also getting much more detailed and reliable. Satellite data are useful to the agriculture community not only in terms of understanding long-term trends, but in gaining faster and better insight into crop-soil health…

Feds Invest in New Robotic Technology for Quebec Potato Processing

Patates Dolbec’s potato packaging facility in Saint-Ubalde, Que., yesterday received a federal government investment of $4.5 million to offset its recent expansion and modernization project. The money is earmarked for the purchase and installation of new robotic equipment that will sort, grade and pack more fresh potatoes in less time, enabling the company to improve their product quality, lower operational costs and develop new markets in the United States. Canada’s food processing…

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