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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…

The Next Level of Weed Control

As anyone in the ag sector well knows, new technologies are quickly revolutionizing farming, automating processes in major ways to make them more efficient, less costly and more environmentally-friendly. Weed control is one of those processes. Several companies and academic groups around the world have developed systems that enable more precise herbicide application through taking large numbers of images of a field using cameras on drones. The images are then amalgamated together…

From muddy spud to the perfect French fry: Information experts are optimizing potato production

Modern potato harvesting can be a pretty rough business. In years gone by, the farmers would be out in the fields assisted by friends and family carefully digging up the potato crop by hand. Today, mechanical harvesters are in use. But if the machinery is not adjusted correctly, the potatoes can get badly bumped and knocked as they move along the agitator belts, hitting stones and each other on their way. This…

Potato weed control goes digital

Some new high tech tools will soon give farmers a way to keep weeds down, cut costs and herbicide use dramatically and work around weed resistance to herbicides. In collaboration with a University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) engineer, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) weed specialist Andrew McKenzie-Gopsill is turning to sensors, cameras and computer algorithms to detect the exact location of weeds in a field. The digital technology will create a…

Transforming agriculture data collection with tailor-made tools

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working to improve data collection while driving down costs by  building tools that gather vital information without ever touching a plant. Driven to improve the quality of information, an innovative team at CIP has pushed themselves to build their own equipment designed to help them streamline the data captured. By studying the interaction between plants and incident light, scientists can investigate everything from how the changing…

Converting potato waste to ethanol

With more than two dozen companies in Pennsylvania manufacturing potato chips, it is no wonder that researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future and add extra value for chip makers. Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers…

Satellite technology could help ag producers measure soil moisture

Agricultural producers could, in the future, make use of better forecasts to more efficiently irrigate their fields using a Purdue-developed technology that could  more accurately sense soil moisture below the surface through measuring the reflections of  communication satellite signals. “The reflectivity of the surface is a function of the soil moisture, and that allows us to quantify the amount of moisture in the soil so, if necessary, growers can take corrective actions…

Webinar: Potatoes and water management

Register for Spud Smart’s webinar: Potatoes and Water Management, Thursday, May 18, 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT. Learn why water is the single most limiting factor in potato production Hear about ways to deal with a shortage or excess of Mother Nature’s most precious commodity Learn about new water management techniques Learn more and register  

New laser scanner to zap toxic french fries

Amid growing concern about the discovery of cancer-causing chemicals in potato chips and french fries, a young scientist at the University of Brussels has developed a new laser system that scans peeled potatoes in the factory to detect toxic compounds and prevent them from reaching the consumer. At present, raw potatoes that produce an excess of the carcinogenic chemical acrylamide cannot be detected in a fast, sensitive and non-destructive way. This new…

Building a better potato farm, one decision at a time

In every business, there are front-runners and there are followers. Motivated by passion and unafraid of learning, Kate Vander Zaag, and her husband Peter, have never been ones to sit back and wait for others to forge the path ahead. Farming together in Alliston, Ont. since 1990, they are fearless about investing their brainpower to constantly build a better farm. The Vander Zaags share flexible roles and responsibilities (Peter tends to handle…

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