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Potato Storage: Keeping an Eye on the Prize

The case could be made that caring for potatoes and for children have a lot in common: Let your guard down for a minute and you’ll pay for it in the end. Like parenting, potato storage is an area in which expert advice can save a lot of headaches and wrong turns. In this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart turned to three experts on the ins and outs of potato storage: Robert…

Potato Farming Family Finds Room to Grow

As a kid growing up in the Netherlands, JP Claassen knew he wanted to be a potato farmer just like his dad. The problem was where to do just that. Claassen’s father Louis and his uncle Anselm cultivated seed potatoes on 140 acres of fertile Dutch farmland close to the North Sea. Between the two of them, they had five sons. The two brothers knew if their boys all grew up to…

Eye On The Nation

MANITOBA By Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association Growers in Manitoba experienced an excellent start to the season, seeing good potential in the crop this year. Although planting began a little behind last year, the majority of the crop did get planted during the first 10 days of May, bringing it in line with average planting completion. Crop development was rapid, with row closure beginning by the third week of…

From our Desk

Fries Get Bum Rap

It happens constantly: news writers get all hot and sweaty whenever “bad food” news releases are dropped on their desks. Red meat is bad for you. Coffee is bad for you. Booze is bad for you. To be fair, that last one could be correct, but only if you overindulge. And isn’t that the crux? Everything in moderation, that’s the key. So it was bound to happen sooner or later. Potatoes, specifically…

Managing Soil Health in Potatoes

Soil health can be seen as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. This definition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) speaks to the importance of managing the soil so it can continue to sustain life for future generations. According to the USDA-NRCS, there are a number of agronomic measures farmers can follow to…

Family Pride

In 1989, Kornelis Bakker was in his second year of university in the Netherlands when his best friend made a surprising announcement: “We’re going to Canada next summer,” he told Bakker. A seed growers’ delegation from New Brunswick had been in the area visiting a few seed farms, including his friend’s. That night at supper, his friend told his parents he’d decided to do an internship in New Brunswick. “No, you’re not,”…

From our Desk

Spuds on Mars

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about launching manned missions to Mars with people who will colonize the planet. For example, Netherlands-based Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2031. Eldon Musk’s SpaceX mission to Mars has joined the race, although they’re short on details at this point. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is on a journey to Mars…

Eye On The Nation

MANITOBA By Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association Our annual conference, Manitoba Potato Production Days, was held at the end of January with excellent attendance. Industry support of this event is exceptional and is instrumental to the conference success. The Manitoba Potato Partners Seminar is held the end of March with updates from UPGC and APRE, followed by our provincial potato research reporting activities. Usage of the large crop in…

Remarkable Turnaround for Manitoba Grower

Eleven years ago, things weren’t going so well for Manitoba potato grower Sheldon Wiebe. Wiebe had gone through some really tough years on his farm just outside MacGregor, and it prompted him to take stock: he could continue dryland potato farming on the fields where his family had been growing spuds for three generations, or he could look somewhere else. “That fall I went for a drive 20 miles west of us…

From our Desk

Imidacloprid Uncertainty

UPDATE:  The consultation period has been extended. Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions by 23 March 2017. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard by now that Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to phase out all agricultural uses of imidacloprid over three to five years. The proposed phase out comes as a result of a re-evaluation of imidacloprid by the PMRA,…

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