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Healthy Seed Helps Ensure Healthy Yield

Ideal growing conditions, optimum fertility, pest and disease control – all these things are crucial to ensure a high-yielding, healthy crop. But before the seed goes in the ground, it’s crucial growers ensure the seed they’re planting is as healthy as possible. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart gathered some expert opinions on why it’s important potato growers plant the best seed they can get their hands on. Our five experts…

Eye On The Nation

BRITISH COLUMBIA By Hugh Reynolds, Reynelda Farms, Delta, B.C. B.C. has had near endless rain in January with a very cold February and a wet, cool March forecast. This puts B.C. behind for our famous early potatoes. With today’s excellent planters, we will only need a good week to pound in many acres of potatoes, but they will be a little later this year. In B.C. we have a regulated quota for potato delivery…

From our Desk

Soil Health Research Ongoing

Another crop year is upon us, and once again, potato producers are busy preparing. Pre-planting tasks abound – repairing and updating equipment, prepping the soil, checking and preparing seed, scheduling help. I’m not a potato grower, so I know I am missing myriad steps producers take. But one thing I do know – ensuring the health of your soil is paramount to healthy production and good yields. Some new research is underway…

Potato Production and Climate Change

Potato is the most important non-grain crop in the world. So, understanding the potential impacts of climate change on potato production is critical, especially for producers. Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past…

Nurturing Deep Roots in Sustainability

The VanderZaag family has been growing potatoes for generations, initially in the Netherlands, and then immigrating to Alliston, Ont. For founder of Sunrise Potato Storage Ltd., Peter VanderZaag, it is not just about producing a marketable crop but returning life to the depleted soils around the world. Today, the family farm consists of over 1,000 acres of potatoes, and a state-of-the-art storage facility that can hold 400,000 cwt (18,000 tonnes) of potatoes….

Farming Potatoes is all in the Family

Arjan Woordman comes from a long line of potato growers. His great-great-grandparents started it all off in the Netherlands in the late 1800s, and farming potatoes has been in the family blood ever since. “We definitely love what we do,” says Arjan, who along with his wife Wietske grows about 1,300 acres of potatoes each year on their 3,500 acre farm just outside Taber, Alta. The farm, which was purchased by Arjan’s parents…

From our Desk

Andean Potatoes Take The World Stage

For the first time in its history, the World Potato Congress will take place in Latin America, the “birthplace” of the potato. From May 27 to 31 of this year, hundreds of people from around the world will descend on Cusco, Peru, to attend the 10th annual event, organized by the not-for-profit World Potato Congress Inc. The World Potato Congress is dedicated to supporting the cultivation and development of potato around the…

Eye On The Nation

ALBERTA By Terence Hochstein, Executive Director, Potato Growers of Alberta Alberta’s 2017 crop turned out to be a mixed bag. While quality remains excellent, our yields were all over the place. Some fields had Russet crops going down mid-August which greatly affected their yields. The ones that stayed green until mid-September were quite a bit better yielding. Like many growing areas across Canada, the increasing occurrence of Verticillium wilt (early die) is…

Reaping Rewards of Processing Plant Expansion

After years of stagnant growth, the potato processing industry in North America is on the rise. Numerous processors have expanded or opened plants in the last year or two in response to growing demand for french fries and other potato products. For instance, McCain Foods expanded its potato processing facilities in Idaho and New Brunswick in 2016, and growers in both areas are reaping the benefits. Blair Young, who grows 600 acres…

From our Desk

Psyllids and Zebra Chip

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dan Johnson has been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops. The good news: So far in 2017, the number of potato psyllids has been lower than in previous years, both in Canada and the U.S. The better news: None of the…

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