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In the spring 2018 issue of Spud Smart, we showcase the 2018 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada accelerated release varieties. Also in this issue, read about the next level of weed control, Colorado potato beetle management techniques, and the effect of climate change on potato production now and into the future.

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Potato Producers Cautiously Optimistic

This year has been a difficult one for potato producers in the Portage region. Shifting weather extremes have made both growing and harvesting difficult at times. Recent bouts of frost have producers concerned for their crops still in the ground. Manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Board Dan Sawatzky tells us how the cold snap has affected the crop. “It’s really too early to tell how the frost in the last couple…

Breaking the Fall

Two years ago, Maritimer Pete Nieuwhof was contemplating ways to speed up packing of his farm’s fresh potato harvest. He found his answer with the EZ-Down, an ingenious device invented by a pair of fellow P.E.I. potato growers. “At the time, we were looking for something to speed up our production a little bit. We had an old homemade machine on the line. It was working well, but we wanted to upgrade so…

Common Scab Complexities

You need to know your enemy if you want to fight it, says Martin Filion, an associate professor at the Université de Moncton. “Genetic diversity of a pathogen means differences in functions the pathogen might have,” he says. “For instance, different species or strains might have different responses to chemicals or agricultural practices you are using to manage the disease.” Information about which common scab species and strains are present and their…

Canadian Plant Health Council Launched

Ottawa, Ont. – Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable. Plant health partners in Canada are pleased to announce the establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council – fulfilling a multi-partner commitment to collaboratively implement the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada. The Canadian…

Ulster Bank £10 Note Design to Feature John Clarke’s Ulster Glade Potato

Not everyone will know who John Clarke is, but soon people will be confronted with his potatoes whenever they go shopping. His impact on the world of potatoes is to be celebrated in Ulster Bank’s new bank note designs. Clarke, who died in 1980, was respected by contemporaries and specialists alike, with experts from Cambridge University visiting him on the north coast to learn from his work. He also won many awards,…

The Potato Whisperer

Manuel Choqque Bravo, a fourth generation potato farmer in the Andean highlands of Chinchero, is about to perform a magic show. He lines up multiple deformed tubers, indigenous to the area best known for its proximity to Machu Picchu, and one by one slices them in half, revealing a color spectrum of intense violet and gold hues. He’s a veteran to such presentations, so he knows to pause and let his audience…

UK Harvest Progress Continues at a Variable Rate

Soil moisture and skin set were the key determinants to lifting progress this week. In regions which had some rainfall, lifting progressed well with ideal conditions. However, on drier soils, increased bruising of samples has been reported with some opting to delay lifting and wait for some rain. Delayed skin-set is also postponing lifting for some, while mixed skin sets have been reported from the same lift. Cooler conditions on fields has…

KWS and J.R. Simplot Company Establish Joint Venture for Hybrid Potato Breeding

KWS SAAT SE and the J.R. Simplot Company have founded a new joint venture company Aardevo B.V., to deliver top-performing potato varieties through hybrid breeding. The JV combines the highly advanced potato growing and processing capabilities of Simplot (Boise/USA) with the wealth of experience and expertise in hybrid plant breeding of KWS (Einbeck/Germany). Aardevo will focus on breeding new potato varieties with improved and novel traits, quicker than ever before. By enhancing taste…

New Sweet Potato Variety Shines

Ready for commercial release in 2019 is Radiance, a new sweet potato variety developed in Canada to suit the country’s growing season and conditions. The variety is currently being trialed from coast-to-coast, and should be appearing in Canadian grocery stores next year. Valerio Primomo, a research scientist and vegetable breeder at Ontario-based Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland), developed the variety with Canada’s unique growing conditions in mind, its shorter growing season…

Scientists Develop Modified Crispr-Cas9 System For Tetraploid Potato

Potato’s tetraploid genome requires a more powerful genome editing system. Scientist Hiroaki Kusano, of Tokyo University of Science, and colleagues apply the translational enhancer dMac3 to the Cas9 expression vector to increase the amount of Cas9 proteins produced inside potato cells. dMac3 is a 161-bp region of the OsMac3mRNA, which promotes efficiency of translation in the nearby gene. By engineering it to a developed Cas9 system, the researchers find increased efficiency of targeted…

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