Alberta Potato Conference and Tradeshow Kicks Off


Growers from across Alberta, throughout Canada and into the United States have descended on Red Deer, Alta. for the Alberta Potato Conference and Tradeshow. The show started on Nov. 15 and runs until Nov. 16 with more than 400 people registered to attend.

“People want to get out, they want to visit, they want to meet people, they want to spend some time with their friends and I think it’s a great opportunity,” Terence Hochstein, Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) executive director, says.

The conference features a wide range of presentations focusing on topics such as seed potatoes, succession planning and regenerative agriculture.

“Just celebrating the potato industry, it’s a learning experience, a networking experience. It’s a time to celebrate where we’re going,” James Bareman, PGA chairman, says.

The first day of the conference featured presentations on:

  • Gary Secor presenting on managing seed potato diseases in storage
  • Michele Konschuh presenting on blackleg

Highlights from the first day include:

  • Physiological age is a measure of stress, health and metabolism over time. So older seed is physiologically older, Secor says.
  • Powdery scab will be a problem in the future, Secor says. There are no treatments for it and the only way to reduce incidence is to plant resistant potato varieties.
  • Seed doesn’t always show blackleg symptoms, tubers can carry latent blackleg infections, Konschuh says.
  • The bacteria Dickeya hasn’t been found in Alberta, Konschuh says.
  • The bacteria pectobacterium wasabia has been detected in Alberta samples the past two years, it does overwinter so it can be of concern moving forward, Konschuh says.

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Ashley Robinson was raised on a mixed cattle and grain farm in southwestern Manitoba. She attended the University of Regina where she studied journalism. Following university, she has spent the better part of the past decade writing about agriculture in publications across Canada and internationally. Robinson’s agriculture writing has covered topics from rural issues to commodity markets. Since joining Seed World Group her work has focused on covering all aspects of the Canadian potato industry from planting to farm management, and agriculture in Alberta focusing on how the seed industry connects to farmer’s daily lives.