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Browsing articles by Kari Belanger

How to Plan Today to Manage PVY

Although the transmission and incidence of Potato virus Y in Canadian potato crops has declined dramatically over the past eight years, new threats to quality and yield are on the horizon in the form of necrosis-causing novel strains. How can Canadian growers manage PVY on their farms today, and how do they fight these latest strains? For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from industry experts Mathuresh Singh, director of Agricultural…

From our Desk

We’re All In It Together

Hello, Potato Producers! I’m so happy to be at Spud Smart’s helm once again, and to be working with you, Canada’s potato industry stakeholders. In many provinces, this past growing season has been challenging, with prevailing hot, dry conditions for some and rains coming too late for others. Despite these challenging conditions, the September estimate for the average yield of this year’s crop is around 302 hundredweight per acre, which is close to…

Investing in Better Drainage

During a wet year, having tile drainage in your field can make or break your crop. So says potato producer John Goff, co-owner of Corduroy Plains Farm near Carman, Man. Under certain conditions, he says, tile drainage can mean the difference between a bumper crop and no crop at all. Goff’s farmland is made up of Almasippi soil, with a clay layer about four feet from the surface. Although the sandy soil…

Demystifying Data

The ag industry has been talking about it for quite some time: simple, intuitive farm data collection and management that provides valuable information to growers, which ultimately leads to increased yields and profits. Until now, farmers have been piecing data management systems together, gleaning information and efficiencies where possible. Meanwhile, many collection and organization processes remain cumbersome and inefficient, and the data’s full potential unrealized. However, with the recent launch of some…

What’s After Thimet?

There’s a growing sense of unease among Canadian potato producers as the countdown continues on the deregulation of Thimet 15-G. In the face of increased wireworm pressure across the country, especially in Prince Edward Island, growers aren’t the only group troubled by the phasing out of the only insecticide registered in Canada for use on potatoes that kills wireworms. “Growers need a product that kills wireworms. They are concerned about it and we…

Blot on the Landscape

In the heart of Alberta’s processing potato country, Jake Schutter is prepared for the worst. Should late blight invade his fields east of Taber this season, he’ll be ready for it. “On our farm, we go with a full arsenal of fungicides. So far, we’ve been spared any storage losses related to late blight. There have been a few farmers who were not so lucky,” he says. Times have changed for Alberta…

Eliminating the Paper Chase

At the height of harvest, Brian Sackett, owner of Sackett Potatoes in Mecosta County, Mich., runs three harvesters in three fields going to three different bins, putting away 1.1-million hundredweight of potatoes destined for the chipping industry. Ten years ago, an employee would sit at the scale for up to 16 hours a day, recording truck weights as each potato load came in from harvesting more than 3,400 acres. Sackett felt there…

Staying Sharp

Canada’s natural advantages for growing high-quality seed potatoes are well known: harsh winters break up pest cycles while summers are temperate with long days and cool evenings, most areas experience adequate natural rainfall, and coast to coast, fertile soils promote healthy plant development and growth. These conditions are especially conducive to producing clean, high-vigour seed. From east to west, growers also have easy access to major markets via road and marine transportation….

Damage Control

Gary Linkletter is chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and a partner of Linkletter Farms Ltd. He farms 1,500 acres of fresh-pack potatoes near Summerside, P.E.I. Mark VanOostrum is the field manager and quality supervisor for W.D. Potato Ltd. in Beeton, Ont. He oversees 50 growers and 15,000 acres of chip-stock potato production in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Andrew Kazakoff is a member of the Saskatchewan…

Harvest Heads-Up: Bruise Management

It’s all about appearance these days, says Shawn Brenn, president of Brenn-B Farms Ltd. in Ontario. Tolerance for bruising from retailers is decreasing, and grades are getting tougher every year. “The competition is crazy. Not only are retailers competing on price, now they’re competing on quality. They want the best product at the best price,” says Brenn. Brenn’s family-owned operation has been providing potato packs to retail, wholesale and the food service…

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