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In this issue, learn how companion planting offers hope for wireworm control, and why keeping any eye on harvest and storage handling are key to a successful crop. You’ll also read about how finding the right help at planting and harvest can be a challenge. And, there’s a new way to combat soil erosion – nurse crops.

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From potatoes to pot: former Spudco facility to grow marijuana

Some new life is being breathed into a massive potato facility once owned by the Saskatchewan government. In the 1990s, the provincial government spent millions of dollars trying to develop the provincial potato industry before abandoning the plan completely. Now, Vancouver-based United Greeneries plans to open a marijuana facility in a massive 60,000 square foot facility once owned by Spudco in Lucky Lake, roughly 130 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon. READ MORE  

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…

Solving Eastern Canada’s Yield Woes

As a large-scale soil rejuvenation study in New Brunswick draws to a close, lead researcher and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato scientist Bernie Zebarth says solutions to lagging potato yield in Eastern Canada are anything but simple. For decades, potatoes have held top position as Maritime Canada’s most important cash crop. In 2015-2016, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia produced 1.84 million tonnes of potatoes for a value of $256…

A better potato makes a better french fry

The potato industry will have plenty of choices when Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada hosts the annual potato selection event on February 14 at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre. The annual potato selection release open house will also be held jointly in Guelph, Ont. and Lethbridge, Alta. on the same day. Fifteen selections from the potato breeding program are available for trial, offering growers a wide range of promising new potatoes. There…

Ontario Potato Conference

The 2018 Ontario Potato Conference & Trade Show will be held on March 6 at the Delta Hotel and Conference Center in Guelph. Topics include achieving high seed performance, the latest in common scab control, controlling volunteer potatoes and much more. There will be a poster session and a reception immediately after the Conference. Plan to stay and enjoy delicious potato snacks. Deadline for the early registration fee of $50 is February…

Colorado potato beetle genome gives insight into major agricultural pest

The Colorado potato beetle is notorious for its role in starting the pesticide industry — and for its ability to resist the insecticides developed to stop it. Managing the beetle costs tens of millions of dollars every year, but this is a welcome alternative to the billions of dollars in damage it could cause if left unchecked. To better understand this tenacious pest, a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin–Madison…

Brexit: Jersey Royal potatoes ‘could be left rotting in fields’ due to lack of EU workers

The largest producer of Jersey Royal potatoes has warned crops may be left to rot in the fields because foreign workers have left ahead of Brexit. Polish workers – who had previously provided the majority of seasonal labour – have abandoned Jersey following the EU referendum, according to Charlie Gallichan of Woodside Farms, which grows and exports Jersey Royals, vegetables and flowers. Growers are “trying to keep their heads above water until they get reinforcements” from Africa and…

We Must Do More About Mental Health

An important new initiative to get people in the agriculture community talking about mental health was launched this week. The Do More Agriculture Foundation — a not-for-profit whose mission is to create a culture in ag where all producers are encouraged/empowered/supported to take care of their mental wellbeing — officially launched at the FarmTech conference in Edmonton on Jan. 30. Do More Ag co-founder and farmer Kim Keller says this week’s launch…

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…

U.S. Potato Prices Strengthen

Tight supplies are pushing potato prices higher in the U.S., but those better prices probably won’t last long. “I think we are coming into a crunch time for potatoes,” said Bruce Huffaker with North American Potato Market News. That’s good news for potato growers who have seen relatively flat prices at near cost of production levels for the last five years. Many growers found themselves wondering what to plant last spring. While…

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