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At The Root

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Product News

Bayer Offering Titan Insecticide for In-Furrow Application

Bayer CropScience potato insecticide Titan is now registered as an in-furrow application to complement its use as a seed-piece treatment. Titan, a broad spectrum seed-piece insecticide for potatoes, now has the added benefit of application flexibility. “We work to provide growers with not only the best pest control, but also flexible application options,” says David Kikkert, portfolio manager of horticulture with Bayer. “With the new in-furrow registration of Titan, growers now have the option of applying this popular insecticide as either a seed-piece treatment or an in-furrow application.”

Closer Registered For Use on Potatoes

Dow AgroSciences has announced that potato growers in Canada now have access to Closer, a new insecticide with a unique mode of action for the control of aphids. Aphids transmit viruses and can reduce marketable yield. Aphid control is particularly critical in potato seed production where the tolerance for total virus levels is extremely low. Canada’s regulatory authorities have approved Closer for the control of several important species of aphids in potato crops. The active ingredient in Closer is Sulfoxaflor, the first insecticidal molecule to be commercialized from a new class of insecticides called sulfoximines. Effective at low use rates, Closer is very fast acting and provides extended residual control. According to Dow AgroSciences, Closer provides excellent systemic and translaminar activity, ensuring control of hidden pests in the plant canopy and on the undersides of leaves. The company says Sulfoxaflor is effective on insect populations resistant to other insecticide classes such as neonicotinoids, organophosphates and pyrethroids, and will be a valuable rotational partner with other chemistries.

Rampart Fungicide Approved in Canada

United Agri Products Canada Inc. has announced that the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency has approved Rampart fungicide for the control of late blight and pink rot on stored potatoes. Rampart is a systemic fungicide that contains 53 per cent monopotassium and dipotassium salts of phosphorous acid, which makes it effective in controlling blights and rots. “Many potato growers in Eastern Canada are already familiar with Rampart, having benefited from it when we received emergency use registration a few years ago,” says Janet Porchak, director of marketing with UAP. “Warm, wet conditions at the end of the 2008 growing season made late blight and other diseases, such as pink rot, a serious threat to the crop.”

Cruiser Maxx D Potato Seed Piece Treatment Registered in Canada

Syngenta Canada Inc. has received registration for Cruiser Maxx D Potato, a new liquid potato seed piece treatment for use in Canada. According to Syngenta, Cruiser Maxx D Potato helps growers get their crop off to a strong start by protecting vulnerable seed pieces against yield and quality-robbing diseases and insects. “Syngenta continues to advance its seed care technology for potato growers. With Cruiser Maxx D Potato, growers benefit from an enhanced liquid seed care formulation, offering excellent coverage for disease and insect control,” says Mitch Reid, seed care asset lead for Syngenta Canada. “Additionally, because this seed treatment incorporates multiple modes of action, managing fusarium resistance is made easier and more effective.” The combination of the active ingredients, difenoconazole and fludioxonil, provides two modes of action against silver scurf and fusarium, controlling known resistant strains of these diseases. Cruiser Maxx D Potato is also effective against seed-borne rhizoctonia (black scurf and stem and stolon canker). With the inclusion of the active ingredient thiamethoxam, the product also provides effective, long-lasting control of Colorado potato beetles, aphids (including green peach, buckthorn and foxglove aphids) and potato leafhoppers. Cruiser Maxx D Potato will be widely available for the 2013 season.

AMVAC Announces Registration of SmartBlock

AMVAC Chemical Corp., a subsidiary of American Vanguard Corp., has received registration from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for SmartBlock, a new potato sprout inhibitor. Additionally, Canadian and European registrations have been filed and these approvals are progressing on schedule. According to AMVAC, SmartBlock represents a breakthrough approach for eliminating sprouting in storage and restoring dormancy to potato tubers. The product is a naturally-occurring molecule, which is classified as an approved direct food additive and by the EPA as a biopesticide. AMVAC says SmartBlock provides a safe, rapid sprout burn-off on all varieties of potatoes without affecting potato quality, and it is easily applied through existing fogging equipment. “The registration of SmartBlock significantly expands AMVAC’s potato product portfolio, which includes offerings from pre-planting through post-harvest storage. It enables potato storage managers to utilize a novel, efficacious and green approach for sprout control,” says Eric Wintemute, chair and CEO of AMVAC.

BASF Fungicide Approved for Use on Specialty Crops

BASF’s fungicide for specialty crops, Initium, has been approved in the European Union for use in crop protection products. This follows Initium’s initial launches in select countries in Europe and North and South America, and will enable BASF to obtain registrations for products containing Initium in all EU-member countries. According to BASF, Initium is a highly-selective fungicide that provides reliable and flexible control against a range of downy mildews and late blights in grapes, potatoes and other vegetable and specialty crops. The company says the fungicide’s high efficacy and unique properties, including affinity to waxy surfaces, redistribution on growing leaves and rainfastness, keep crops protected and healthy for longer periods, allowing them to reach their full potential. Initium-containing products will support farmers worldwide in many different crops and segments. BASF is focused on attaining further registrations around the globe.

Business News

Bayer CropScience Expands Product Labels

Labels for some leading products from Bayer CropScience, including Admire, Reason and Flint, have been expanded to provide Canadian fruit and vegetable growers with access to more diversified crop protection options. These changes are the result of advancements in the regulatory environment in Canada which enable regulatory synchronization, allowing the company to review its fruit and vegetable use patterns in the United States and identify opportunities to support Canadian fruit and vegetable growers. “Canada’s historical regulatory approach to satisfying registration requirements often meant Canadian growers were sometimes restricted from using the same products available to their U.S. counterparts,” says David Kikkert, portfolio manager of horticulture with Bayer CropScience. “The expansion of the Admire, Reason and Flint labels demonstrates our commitment to Canadian growers and how we’re striving to close the technology gap between the U.S. and Canada.”

CanadaGAP Completes Re-Benchmarking/Updates of Food Safety Manuals

CanadaGAP, the Canadian food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, has been successfully re-benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative and has achieved recognition against the GFSI guidance document, sixth edition. “GFSI recognition will allow CanadaGAP-certified companies to remain competitive and maintain access to customers who increasingly demand certification to a GFSI-recognized food safety program,” says Tom Byttynen, chair of CanadaGAP. GFSI benchmarking determines equivalency against an internationally-recognized set of food safety requirements, based on industry best practices and sound science. These requirements are developed through a consensus-building process by key stakeholders in the food supply chain and are published in the GFSI guidance document, sixth edition. CanadaGAP joins a handful of other food safety programs that have undergone GFSI’s thorough and comprehensive review process.

Updated versions of the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals have been released and include: Fruit and Vegetable Manual, Version 6.1, which covers field/orchard/vineyard-grown crops (including potato), and the Greenhouse Manual, Version 6.1, which covers greenhouse-grown vegetables. The revised manuals have been reviewed and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. For certification purposes, the new manuals take effect on April 1, 2013. In general, requirements for all crop groupings remain largely unchanged for 2013, except where additions were needed to meet requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative, to which the CanadaGAP program is benchmarked. Otherwise, the majority of revisions to the manuals are editorial in nature, to clarify or provide additional explanation of existing requirements.

Industry News

Custom Assay for Genotyping Available

The James Hutton Institute in the United Kingdom and United States-based Eureka Genomics have launched a custom assay for the genotyping of barley. SNP genotyping is a fundamental technology used in both genetic studies and contemporary crop improvement programs worldwide. The assay will offer a low-cost opportunity for researchers to identify and optimize traits such as yield, quality and environmental resilience for commercial crop production. The assay has the ability to identify more than 400 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a single test. It also opens the door for the development of new assays for other crops such as potato, blackcurrant and raspberry. “The collaboration has resulted in a very cost-effective, medium-throughput approach to SNP genotyping,” says Robbie Waugh, head of genetics at the institute. “As the Eureka technology offers the flexibility to increase both the number of SNPs and samples per assay at low additional cost, we are already focused on improving SNP representation and multiplex capability, further reducing the cost per datapoint, a key requirement for widespread adoption in commercial plant breeding.”

Tests Confirm the Potential of GM Potatoes for Sustainable Cultivation

After a two-year scientific field trial with genetically modified potatoes, researchers in Belgium have concluded that potatoes with multiple resistances to potato diseases can make potato growing much more sustainable. In both 2011 and 2012, field trials indicated that GM potatoes showed greatly decreased susceptibility to Phytophthora infestans. As a result of an unusually wet summer in 2012, many Belgian potato growers had to apply fungicides more than 20 times in order to keep blight under control. The researchers claim that cultivation of sustainable, resistant potatoes can reduce fungicide usage in this crop sector by up to 80 per cent.

P.E.I. Potato Growers Commit $500,000 Over Five Years to Research

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board recently held a series of district meetings with Island potato growers to discuss making research a greater priority for the producer-controlled organization. When growers were asked whether they supported making research funding a bigger priority for the board, the response was overwhelmingly positive at every meeting, with an approval rate of close to 100 per cent. As a result, the P.E.I Potato Board will include research co-ordination and funding as a more significant part of its mandate. Board funds will be combined with other industry funding in order to leverage provincial and federal government research funding, primarily under the upcoming Growing Forward 2 program that begins in April of this year. The Island’s potato growers will help determine which proposed national and provincial research projects will receive funding from the board, based on the merits of the respective research plans and the research priorities of the province’s potato industry. Prince Edward Island will also work in partnership with other potato-producing provinces and research partners as part of a national potato research strategy.

Potato Association of America Annual Meeting

The Potato Association of America is holding its annual meeting July 28 to 31 in Quebec City, Que. The PAA membership is made up of university research and extension staff, industry personnel and growers primarily from the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America, but another 50 countries are represented as well. The objective of the association is the collection and dissemination of the best available technical and practical information relating to all aspects of potato production, biology and utilization. The annual meeting sessions will include a symposium on bacterial diseases as well as thematic technical sessions and scientific poster exhibitions. Technical and sightseeing tours will also be held, enabling participants to visit a major production and marketing operation in Portneuf, Que., and local agritourism businesses.