CHC WELCOMES NEW LEADER
The Canadian Potato Council has a new leader. The chair of the Potato Growers of Alberta, John Bareman, succeeds Joe Brennan as CPC chair for 2014. Bareman was elected to the position at the Canadian Horticultural Council/CPC meetings held in Kelowna, B.C. in March, following Brennan’s resignation as CPC chair.
MCCAIN FOODS HIRES NEW PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA
McCain Foods Limited has appointed Jeff DeLapp as president, North America. DeLapp brings to McCain more than 25 years of leadership experience in the food industry and has a track record of aligning sales and operations for profitable growth. DeLapp was president of Lamb Weston from 2002 to 2010.
Fungicide Registered as Seed-Piece Treatment
Bayer CropScience Canada has received registration for its foliar potato fungicide, Reason, for use as a seed-piece treatment. When applied as a seed-piece treatment, Reason provides protection against seed-borne late blight. According to the company, growers can count on Reason to not only protect against late blight and early blight through foliar applications but can also trust it for seed-borne late blight protection. As a seed-piece treatment, Reason can be used alone when late blight is a threat or as a tank mix with Bayer CropScience’s Titan and/or Titan Emesto.
NEW MODE OF ACTION AVAILABLE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS
BASF researchers have confirmed the discovery of a unique mode of action for Initium fungicide. The findings have shown that Initium inhibits fungal activity by binding to the stigmatellin subsite in the respiratory complex III of the fungus. BASF’s Initium-based products are currently available for more than 30 specialty crops, including grapes, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables, in more than 50 countries.
N.B. GOVERNMENT OFFERS POTATO RESEARCH SUPPORT
The provincial government of New Brunswick is investing $5 million in a research and development project at McCain Foods Canada which will see the company work with small and medium-sized businesses and researchers from New Brunswick to pursue process improvement, product development and soil remediation initiatives. McCain is providing $5 million in matching funds for the five-year project.
TOMRA SORTING OPENS NEW FACILITY
TOMRA Sorting Solutions U.S. food division has officially opened its new state-of-the-art facility in West Sacramento, California. The company’s 50-plus-strong team has relocated to the new site, which is more than 30 per cent larger than the previous building in California. According to TOMRA, the new site includes sorting solutions centres, where customers can see live demonstrations of the company’s sorting, peeling and process analytics systems, and trial their own applications.
MAINE POTATO PROCESSOR PLANS $7.5 MILLION EXPANSION
Naturally Potatoes plans to make a number of improvements to its processing plant in Mars Hill, Maine that will allow it to increase production capacity by 25 per cent next year, according to CEO William Haggett. The facility is on track to process 40 million pounds of Maine potatoes for the refrigerated potatoes market this year, he says, but that number is expected to rise to least 50 million pounds next year. The expansion will provide the space to eventually increase this processing volume to roughly 90 million pounds annually, which Haggett maintains could potentially occur within five years.
POTATO BREEDING ADVANCES IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Some 1,200 different potatoes from the Potato Research Centre breeding program were planted on 35 acres this spring at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research farm in Benton Ridge, N.B. The goal is to produce better potatoes for Canadian farmers and consumers around the world. The PRC takes a leading role in the early stages of new variety development, with growers and others in the potato industry following up with trials and evaluation of the new tuber lines. Dozens of promising selections for commercialization, including seven potatoes with extreme resistance to Potato Virus Y, are currently being evaluated by the industry.
CANADA-U.S. AGREEMENT SUPPORTS POTATO TRADE
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture have adopted revised guidelines to manage potato cyst nematode (PCN) that will support potato growers, help facilitate international trade and maintain protection against the pest. Under the new guidelines, seed potato growers can be eligible to export three crops without any additional soil sampling and testing, if their fields have been tested twice and determined not to be infested with PCN.
DNA TESTING TO AVOID DISEASE IN POTATO CROPS
A diagnostic system that tests for six soil-borne pathogens that threaten potato crops has recently won an Australian horticulture award, and scientists at the South Australian Research and Development Institute are already looking to adapt it for other high-value vegetables. Since launching commercially last year in Australia, PreDicta Pt – the SARDI soil testing service for the potato industry – has received widespread support from growers, processors and agronomists across the country.