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How McCain Foods Uses Big Data

Big data was something McCain Foods discovered by chance. In fact it was a concept its director of agronomy Dr. Yves Leclerc wasn’t even familiar with until about a year and a half ago. “What happened really was we have some research projects and those projects appeared to be in the realm of big data,” says Leclerc, who will be speaking at the Big Data Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick next…

Potato Wastewater

Water availability and water quality are two issues that are gaining a lot of attention these days, and concerns have led to stricter agricultural water-use regulations in some provinces. In Ontario, for example, farmers will feel the impact of new phosphorus loading targets for Lake Erie that the federal government is expected to announce soon, as part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and U.S. When tubers are moved…

Bacteria to the Rescue

Scientists who are employing bacteria in fight against common scab are encouraged by the results so far. Researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in New Brunswick say a type of good bacteria that can be sprayed on a potato field is showing promise as a control for the disease. Soil microbiologist Claudia Goyer and her team will be conducting more in-depth trials this summer after seeing evidence…

Demystifying Data

The ag industry has been talking about it for quite some time: simple, intuitive farm data collection and management that provides valuable information to growers, which ultimately leads to increased yields and profits. Until now, farmers have been piecing data management systems together, gleaning information and efficiencies where possible. Meanwhile, many collection and organization processes remain cumbersome and inefficient, and the data’s full potential unrealized. However, with the recent launch of some…

Equipment and Technology Showcase

Syngenta Fungicide Syngenta Canada Inc. has launched Orondis Ultra, a new fungicide for the control of oomycete diseases caused by downy mildews and Phytophthora species in potatoes and other vegetables. Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, is the single most damaging potato disease. Applied preventatively in potatoes, Orondis Ultra delivers an unprecedented 21 days of residual late blight control, says Eric Phillips, product lead, fungicides and insecticides, with Syngenta Canada. Orondis…

True Potato Seed

The use of true potato seed (TPS) for growing potatoes is likely as old as the cultivation of the potato itself. Many potato cultivars in Andean highlands of South America — the region where potato was first domesticated — flower profusely and produce a lot of fruit. So it is only natural that the people in this area used TPS both to produce a crop for consumption as well as to develop…

That’s a Wrap

Science has yet to discover a method for turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse, but it has come up with a way to turn potato waste into an eco-friendly product that could one day take the place of traditional plastic food wraps. A team of researchers at the University of Alberta is conducting a study into the use of potato waste products such as peels and culls to produce a…

Equipment and Technology Showcase

Metal Detector Integrating a metal detector with a potato processing line is easy with the new CEIA THS/RB-800 system from Heat and Control, Inc. At 800 millimetres long, this compact system includes a CEIA THS/SL21 series Slim-Line metal detector, round belt conveyor, operating controls, and an optional conveyor speed-sensing encoder, all pre-assembled on a sanitary support frame. The polyurethane cord conveyor is available in three widths and can be removed without tools….

If Plants Could Talk

Imagine if you could walk into the field and have your potato plants tell you how they are doing. This groundbreaking technology is closer than you think. Two Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, N.B., Bernie Zebarth and Helen Tai, are working on a method for collecting data from plants almost the same way as a car mechanic assesses your car’s engine. The researchers are looking…

A New Way to Grow

Canadian researchers are experimenting with a new method of growing seed potatoes, and the results look promising. Scientists at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Crop Diversification Centre say aeroponic potato production — which essentially involves growing potatoes in air, rather than soil — has the potential to revolutionize how seed potatoes are grown in Canada. Potato research scientist Michele Konschuh, based in Brooks, Alta., is leading the evaluation of a commercial…

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