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Our Winter 2017 issue features several research-related stories on potato agronomy and breeding, including a story on how researchers are developing new markers for much more efficient selection of PVY-immune potato lines. Also, read about how climate change may change potato production in Canada. And, experts weigh in on best management practices to combat soil-borne pests and diseases.

 

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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,…

Multi-million dollar fire rips through potato farm

A potato processing plant near Shelburne, Ont. was destroyed when a massive fire tore through the building early Tuesday morning. The fire began at Tupling Farms Produce Inc. around 1:30 a.m. Shelburne is located about an hour-and-a-half northwest of Toronto. The roof of the roughly 45,000-square foot plant collapsed and small fires continued to burn inside. When fire crews arrived at the scene, “the flames were probably about another 100 feet in…

Potatoes grown from seeds may solve hunger in Africa

WAGENINGEN – Potatoes grown from Dutch seeds yield two to four times bigger harvests for small-scale, poor farmers in East Africa than potatoes grown using local seed potatoes. These findings are the result of initial tests using experimental varieties grown from potato seeds by Wageningen-based agro-tech company Solynta in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As such, potatoes grown from seeds may prove to be an effective means to provide not only the…

Prepping Problem Potatoes For Long-Term Storage

For the best chance of long-term storage success, potato tubers at harvest should be dry, disease free, and uniformly 48 to 60°F. Reality is rarely so kind, however. A wide variety of field and environmental factors often contribute to tubers entering storage in less than ideal condition. Tubers can be wet, infected with disease and/or too hot or too cold. In some cases, daily and hourly temperature fluctuations mean over-warm and over-cold…

Water Soluble Versus Slow-Release Fertilizers

Not all phosphorus-based fertilizers are created equal. For this reason, achieving adequate and well-timed phosphorus nutrition in potatoes can prove complicated and – if managed incorrectly – unnecessarily costly. Consider this: if two fertilizers contain the same total amount of elemental phosphorus but that phosphorus is held in different compounds that react differently in soil, the fertilizers may vary widely in how much and when their phosphorus is available to plants. This…

Best Investment? Clean Seed

The dollars and cents of farm business success aren’t always as simple as they might first appear. While minimizing costs can seem like a smart business decision, it is exactly the opposite if that up-front savings ends up costing crop quality and/or yield. The purchase of seed is a perfect example: while it can be tempting to buy the least costly seed potatoes available, investing in high quality, tested, disease-free seed will…

Inefficient Washlines = Wasted Dollars

Enormous variation exists in the technology, efficiency and quality of potato washlines. In my travels through hundreds of farmers’ and processors’ packing lines, I’ve seen it all: washlines that are ultra-automated and modern, others that are jimmy-rigged and homemade; washlines that are effective and efficient, others that remove only a fraction of the dirt and rock. The return-on-investment of a quality washline is obvious and immediate. As the very first components of…

New Potato Varieties 2017

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) rolled out 15 new potato varieties to growers and industry representatives on Feb. 13 at three open houses: Fredericton, N.B., Guelph, Ont. and Lethbridge, Alta. The open houses were an opportunity for AAFC researchers to share results of the agency’s potato breeding program’s accelerated release selections. Twelve of the 15 new varieties unveiled are classified as fresh market or dual purpose use, while the three remaining varieties…

Lack of seed potatoes may reduce area growth in Northwestern Europe

A lack of seed potatoes might reduce the growth of next year’s potato area for processing potatoes and contracts. According to the North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG), the expected growth of next year’s potato area might be less than previously estimated. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France there is a serious lack of seed potatoes to grow processing potatoes. The United Kingdom is the only NEPG member not suffering from this…

In dire straits, India’s farmers dump potatoes on roads

Farmers in India’s Doaba region, under the banner of Bharti Kissan Union (BKU), dumped their potato produce on the roads of Kartarpur Tuesday, causing a traffic jam on the Jalandhar-Amritsar national highway. Harmeet Singh Kadian, BKU state president, said, “We disposed of around 500 quintal (50,000 kilograms) of potato at the main chowk (marketplace) in Kartarpur. Around 10 tractor-trailers and five pickups were used for it.” Kadian said potato farmers held a…

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