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What’s After Thimet?

There’s a growing sense of unease among Canadian potato producers as the countdown continues on the deregulation of Thimet 15-G. In the face of increased wireworm pressure across the country, especially in Prince Edward Island, growers aren’t the only group troubled by the phasing out of the only insecticide registered in Canada for use on potatoes that kills wireworms. “Growers need a product that kills wireworms. They are concerned about it and we…

Controlling Wireworms

With wireworms on the rise in Canada — and the main weapon against them soon to be taken off the market — it’s a question that’s top of mind for many potato producers these days. Is there another silver bullet out there that will take the place of Thimet? Wireworms are thin, hard-bodied larvae of the click beetle that feed on the roots of cereals and other crops including potatoes. In recent…

From our Desk

Searching for a Silver Bullet

The clock is ticking on Thimet 15G, the insecticide of choice for controlling wireworm in potatoes in most areas of Canada. Because Canada’s regulators have decided to phase out Thimet due to environmental concerns, the pesticide will no longer be available for use on potatoes as of Aug. 1, 2015. With wireworm populations steadily rising in Prince Edward Island and other parts of the country, there’s a question hanging over the potato…

Thinking Biorationally

In the battle against potato pests, what’s old is becoming new again. Biological pesticides, or biorational pesticides as they are also known, are gaining growing acceptance among farmers, despite the fact that biological pest control technology is anything but new. In fact, this type of pest control — that is, using ‘natural’ substances produced by Mother Nature to combat diseases and insects — is the oldest weapon in a farmer’s arsenal. “The…

Leading the way in Potato Research

Potato growers could soon have some additional tools in their relentless battle against in-season pests and disease, thanks to a comprehensive new research project being co-ordinated by the Canadian Potato Council. The five-year project is being funded by potato producers, industry partners and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Growing Forward 2 program through the Canadian Horticultural Council’s Canadian Agri-Science Cluster for Horticulture 2. As part of the agri-science cluster project, researchers from across…

The Path of Least Resistance

Twenty years ago, all was going well on Gary Linkletter’s potato operation in Prince Edward Island. Linkletter, who currently serves as chairman of the P.E.I. Potato Board and was also co-chair of the Potato Council of the Canadian Horticultural Council, was doing everything right—not only did he use regular crop rotations, but he also had a hard and fast policy of rotating chemistries. Then the unthinkable happened. “All of a sudden, one…

The Battle Rages On

With few effective alternative controls available for wireworms in potatoes, the PMRA has decided to extend the deregulation deadline to 2015. Thimet is a systemic insecticide and is the only product currently registered in Canada (except for British Columbia) that is effective in killing wireworms and can be used by all growers. Wireworm control is tricky, partly because of the multiple species—around 30—that exist across Canada, which are specific to different areas…

STORAGE-RELATED DISEASES: Research Recap

In Canada, numerous projects are under way to study various post-harvest diseases and to evaluate products, some established and some yet to be released, for the prevention and suppression of storage-related diseases, with the aim of determining the best options for growers. Fusarium Collaborative projects are under way in Alberta and Prince Edward Island on the management of fusarium dry rot. Research efforts are aimed at determining the best integrated programs to…

Targeting Late Blight in Canada

This year’s weather conditions in potato-growing regions of Canada are very conducive to an onslaught of late blight, which is caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, and is considered one of the most devastating diseases of potato- and tomato-growing regions in North America. “If the weather continues to be warm and humid during the day and cool at night, chances are the disease will spread—it won’t stop. Once you have it in…

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