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Think Beyond Today

After a decade in the potato storage business, I’ve learned there’s a single piece of advice I can give that, no matter the situation, the operation or the farmer, proves relevant each and every time someone is considering upgrading their storage. It’s this: think beyond today. If you buy yourself a new piece of equipment — a tractor, for example — and realize it’s not quite right for your operation, you have…

New Tool for Growers in the Fight Against Fungicide Resistance

May 13, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian growers have a new tool in the fight against resistance. ManageResistanceNow.ca, a resistance management website, has added fungicide best practice information to help growers minimize the development of resistance in their crops. “Fungicide resistance affects various crops grown across Canada. In fact, it is already an issue in pulses, potatoes and fruit crops,” says Pierre Petelle, president and CEO of CropLife Canada. “I’m pleased we can now offer growers…

How Potatoes Could Become Sun Worshippers

If there’s one thing potato plants don’t like, it’s heat. If the temperature is too high, potato plants form significantly lower numbers of tubers or sometimes none at all. Biochemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered the reason why. If the temperature rises, a so-called small RNA blocks the formation of tubers. The scientists have now successfully switched off this small RNA and have produced potato plants that are more resistant…

Heat Stress Study Aims to Protect Potato Yields

Temperature has a pronounced effect on the formation of potato tubers: when temperature is too high, potato plants form less or no tubers, which can greatly decrease yields. Scientists at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany) and the James Hutton Institute have uncovered the genetic mechanism behind the decrease of potato yields under high temperatures, which may help develop heat-tolerant varieties and protect future potato yields. Potato is a major global food crop…

Eugenia Banks: 10-Row Planter

I was in the Alliston, Ont., area during yesterday’s sunny afternoon and was delighted to watch Homer Vander Zaag’s 10-row planter in action.  It did a great job, and the Lamoka seed being planted looked very healthy. Fortunately,  I will be able to keep an eye on this field all summer long because one of my research trials will be in the field. Homer’s 10-row planter is the only one in Ontario…

Training Session for Potato Scouts

If you have scouts that need training, mark your calendars.  The 2019 Training Session for Potato Scouts will be held at the Holiday Inn on Scottsdale Drive in Guelph, Ont., on Monday, June 3.  The Potato Board will provide the 2019 Scouting Manual. Details are provided below. Please email Eugenia Banks with the names of attendees by Friday, May 31. Date: Monday, June 3, 2019 Location: Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre,…

Eugenia Banks: Planting News from Ontario

Cool, wet weather has delayed planting across the province.  According to Mark VanOostrum, 3,000 acres of chipping potatoes are usually planted by May 1, but this year only about 1,000 acres are in the ground. In the Leamington area, the Dakota Pearls that were planted early at Bradley Farms are cracking the ground, and they look healthy.  That is good news! The Envols planted near Chatham for the early fresh market will…

Spud Smart Webinar: Fighting Common Scab

Common scab is a pervasive threat to some potato-growing regions in Canada. Lesions and cavities on infected tubers can render them unmarketable. Researchers and industry experts are still trying to determine why the pathogen is more prevalent in some fields than others as well as the best methods for fighting the disease. While growers use many different practices to control common scab, none have proven to be totally effective. During this webinar,…

Factors Causing Poor Potato Emergence

There are many factors affecting potato emergence and stand establishment. Having a checklist of factors causing poor potato emergence is a useful tool for growers. I was able to add a number of factors to that checklist thanks to contributions from experts in Ontario, Canada, and the United States. Those potato experts include Joe Lach, Kate VanderZaag, Mark VanOostrum, Robert Coffin, Walt Quilty, Paul Van den Borre and Hossein Bagheri from Ontario, and…

Restriction of Neonicotinoid Uses to Take Effect in 2021

In April, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), a division of Health Canada, released its final decisions on the pollinator re-evaluations of three neonicotinoid insecticides: clothianidin (Clutch), imidacloprid (Admire), and thiamethoxam (Cruiser, Actara). Health Canada determined that the continued registration of imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam products are acceptable; however, certain uses have been cancelled to address possible risks to pollinators. Many of these cancelled uses affect Canadian fruit and vegetable growers. Bees…

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