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Managing Soil-Borne Pests, Diseases

For potato farmers, soil-borne pests and diseases are like that pesky younger sibling that’s always trying to get you in trouble: ignore them at your peril. Hazards such as Verticillium, nematodes, pink rot and Rhizoctonia can have a big impact on the bottom line if not kept in check. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from three industry experts on the financial importance of these potato problems, and best…

Fall Bedding

Fall bedding in potato fields allows for soil preparation work to be done when growers typically have more time and labour available to them. In this system, growers usually irrigate, broadcast fertilizer as needed, plow, and then form beds into which they plant the following spring. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart asked the following five experts to weigh in on their experiences with fall bedding. Louis Claassen, a potato producer…

Soil Fumigation in Potatoes

While it is practiced extensively in the United States, soil fumigation is anything but common in potato production in Canada. But there’s a growing voice within the industry that views soil fumigants like chloropicrin as an important tool that should not be overlooked for ensuring healthier, better yielding potato crops. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart asked the following six experts to weigh in on the use of soil fumigation in…

Tighter Row Spacings

Growers and processors are always looking at how to improve farming practices that will boost yields in potato fields. Could using a narrower row width when planting potatoes be one way? Spud Smart asked the following four experts to share their views on tighter row spacings in potato production and how growers could stand to benefit: processing potato producers John Goff and Sheldon Wiebe and McCain Foods agronomists Scott Graham and Rhett…

Post-harvest Field Care

Successful potato growers know that even the best soils can produce inferior yields and quality if steps aren’t taken after harvest to prepare their fields for the following year, whether it’s being planted with potatoes or another crop in their rotation. We asked the following experts to identify and discuss some of the best management practices they’d recommend for an effective post-harvest field care strategy: Yves Leclerc, McCain Foods director of agronomy…

Taking on Late Blight

We put the question of best management practices for preventing or reducing potato crop damage from late blight to three experts: Gary Secor, a North Dakota plant pathologist who dispensed advice on managing late blight to growers at the Ontario Potato Conference in March, and two McCain Foods agronomists, Monica Everett and Gilles Moreau, who regularly help growers do battle with the disease.When it comes to potato diseases, late blight is one…

Preparing the Land

But there are other steps for ensuring a good potato crop beyond tillage and forming good hills and seed beds. Testing the fertility of the soil and applying early-season nutrients if necessary, as well as other agricultural practices like planting cover crops, can all play an important role in ensuring your crop gets off to a good start.Growers, like boy scouts, know it’s important to be prepared. Each spring, potato fields across…

Minimizing Bruise Damage

Minimizing bruise damage is a primary concern for potato growers, not only when harvesting the crop but during handling and storage. We put the question of best management practices for preventing or reducing tuber bruising to three growers from across the country: Randy Visser of Gerrit Visser and Sons in Orwell Cove, P.E.I., Mark Keller of Elk Haven Farms in Brandon, Man., and Mike Wind of Windiana Farms in Taber, Alta. Here’s…

Integrated Pest Management

Pests in their many forms — rooted, winged or microscopic — are a problem for any potato grower. Eradicating weeds, bugs and diseases in a way that’s environmentally sustainable but also makes economic sense is a primary goal of using an Integrated Pest Management strategy. We posed the question of best management practices in IPM to three growers from across the country: Michel Camps of Alberta, P.E.I.’s Thomas Hamill and Eugene Antworth…

BMPs for Potato Fertilization

We posed the question of BMPs for potato fertilization to three growers from across the country: Manitoba’s Chad Berry, Bill Vasily of Ontario and New Brunswick’s Carl Stephenson. Here are their views on the best of the BMPs.We are pleased to present the second edition of ROUNDTABLE, Spud Smart’s special series in which we ask growers from different regions of the country for their insights and opinions on Best Management Practices in…

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