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Browsing articles by Carolyn King

Cultivar and Common Scab

According to Claudia Goyer, a molecular bacteriologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Fredericton, N.B, cultivars differ in terms of how severe common scab will be. No cultivars have true resistance to common scab, where there is no disease at all. “All of them can get common scab. The tolerant ones get really minimal amounts of the disease, just a couple of lesions here and there. The susceptible ones get a…

Keeping Tabs on Late Blight

Strain monitoring in Canada over the past three decades shows successive waves of new strains have replaced older strains of the late blight pathogen. The latest findings from research to track and characterize the strains across the country are a combination of good and bad news with direct relevance for managing the current strains. Rick Peters, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Charlottetown, P.E.I., is co-leading this research…

Researchers Go Toe-to-Toe with PCN

Although extremely rare in Canada, potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are such a serious risk to potato production and trade that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has strict surveillance and quarantine protocols. When PCN was discovered in Quebec in 2006, the CFIA immediately implemented quarantine measures for the affected fields. As well, the agency took other important steps, including working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and other stakeholders to identify research…

New Prospect for Wireworm Control

A few years ago, Todd Kabaluk was given some fuzzy wireworms. That might not sound like an auspicious gift, but Kabaluk is a research biologist in integrated pest management with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He was immediately interested. As it turned out, these fuzzy wireworms were the first step on the path toward a new possibility for controlling wireworms. Wireworms are the tough-to-control, soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles. AAFC has found…

Seeking a Whammy for Wireworms

“We have estimated wireworm costs Prince Edward Island’s potato industry more than $10 million per year in damaged product, crop protection products, crop insurance claims, and costs associated with rotation crops to battle wireworm,” says Ryan Barrett, research coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board. “While research by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers, such as Dr. Christine Noronha and Dr. Bob Vernon has provided growers with more tools to battle this pest, it…

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…

Verticillium and Weeds

Verticillium wilt is a major soil-borne disease that can result in yield losses as high as 50 per cent in potatoes. The roots of a potato plant, or other host plant, release compounds that stimulate the germination of Verticillium dahliae microsclerotia, the fungus’s survival structures in the soil. The fungus then grows, penetrates the plant’s roots and spreads up the plant, eventually causing wilting, yellowing and early dying in potatoes. “As Verticillium dahliae completes…

Mustering Mustard for Potato Productivity

A recent study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Bernie Zebarth, together with McCain Foods Canada agronomists and the PEI Potato Board, identified potato early dying complex (PED) and degraded soil health as the two most important factors limiting potato production in the Maritimes. So says Dr. Dahu Chen, a plant pathologist at AAFC’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre. This double threat has prompted Chen and his colleagues at AAFC…

Comparing New Nitrogen Alternatives

Nitrogen use efficiency is a topic that is an intersection of food security, environmental sustainability and economics in our agricultural production systems. We need to use nitrogen to produce a good harvest. So says Dr. Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, the study’s lead investigator and an assistant professor in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. “However, by using nitrogen fertilizer we also have the risk of losing some of that…

Boosting soil carbon, boosting potato yields

Louis-Pierre Comeau is adding the soil carbon piece to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) research efforts in the Maritimes. His studies will be contributing to the development of practical, profitable agricultural practices that increase soil organic matter for improved potato yields. Carbon is part of all plants and animals, and the key element in soil organic matter. “In turn, soil organic matter is essential for a variety of needs like food, fibre…

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