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U.S. Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

U.S. researchers say they’ve pinpointed individual spud plants infected with potato virus Y with 90 per cent accuracy, using hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones. Donna Delparte, an assistant professor of geosciences at Idaho State University, and graduate student Mike Griffel have successfully tested a “computer-learning” algorithm they developed to tease out PVY from spectral imaging “background noise,” such as field variability and unrelated crop stress. “Our premise was to look at all…

UAVs coming to a potato field near you

Agriculture is on the cusp of a game-changing leap forward in technology. Currently, most agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used for the technologically simple task of remote digital photography But, government and private-sector scientists alike are proving UAVs can do much, much more for Canadian farming. “Soon, definitely less than a decade from now, using UAVs will be a common-place practice; just one more tool in the toolbox,” says Dan Clarke,…

Using smartphones to battle pests

A new app has been designed to help growers of field crops identify and manage insects, pathogens and weeds. And there is potential for other crops to be included once work on the current setup is complete. Set to be officially released in 2018 on Android and iOS, the Mobile Integrated Pest Management (Mobile-IPM) app is a tool for Canadian farmers. It focuses on the major Canadian crops such as oilseeds, cereals…

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…

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