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Browsing articles by Mark Halsall

Farming Life Tough to Beat

JASON KEHLER has been helping grow potatoes on the family farm in Carman, Man., since he was 12 years old. Some 30 years later, he can’t imagine doing anything else.  “I’ve always wanted to farm since I was probably old enough to say the word,” says Kehler, who’s a fourth-generation farmer and second-generation potato producer. “I love what I do. I enjoy the challenge, the people, and just watching Mother Nature make…

Market News

Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 totalled just under 16.4 million hundredweight, according to figures from the United Potato Growers of Canada. That’s an 18.5 per cent decline from the same period a year ago, when total holdings amounted to a little over 20.1 million hundredweight of potatoes. In Eastern Canada, the year-to-year decrease was just over 22 per cent mainly due to substantial declines in storage holdings in Prince…

2019 Canadian Potato Crop Outlook

Despite a late start to the planting season in most potato producing areas in Canada, growers are generally optimistic about the prospects for this year’s crop. However things turns out, it will most likely be an improvement on what, for many Canadian producers, was a dreadful end to the 2018 harvest season, when unseasonably cold, wet weather led to thousands of acres of potatoes being left in the ground. According to Kevin…

Build Soil Quality and Suppress Soil-Borne Pathogens to Improve Yields Study Concludes

Canadian potato farmers, facing rising production costs and increased pressure from global competitors, are always looking for ways to increase yields. Identifying obstacles limiting potato yields is part of the answer, and was the primary objective of a major five-year research project conducted in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, which wrapped up last year. Project partners in the industry-led study included McCain Foods Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Potatoes New…

Combatting Common Scab

COMMON SCAB, a bacterial disease that doesn’t affect yields but causes ugly lesions and cavities on infected tubers, which can render them unmarketable, is a pervasive threat in potato-growing areas across Canada.  It has likely been around for as long as people have been growing potatoes, but researchers are still trying to determine why the pathogen is much more common in some fields than others and what the best methods are for…

Champion Potato Grower has Roots in Holland

ALBERTA POTATO PRODUCER Laus Stiekema was in his early 40s when he decided to leave the Netherlands with his wife and four kids to start a new life on the Canadian prairies in 2004. Fifteen years later, there’s no question that Stiekema and his family have landed on their feet. Stiekema now runs a thriving potato operation called Stiekema-Kolhorn Joint Venture in Vauxhall, Alta. Last November, Stiekema-Kolhorn JV was named McCain Food’s…

Promoting Potatoes

P.E.I. POTATOES HAS established a strong reputation as a leader in marketing and promoting potatoes, both within Canada and abroad. It has now come out with a new media campaign that relies heavily on the Island’s beauty and rich potato heritage to further entrench the Prince Edward Island Potatoes brand in the minds of consumers.  The new television and online marketing campaign kicked off in November with a 30-second video called “What…

Innate Outlook

INNATE POTATOES, the biotech spud from Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company, have been approved for production and sale in Canada since 2016.  Since then, Innate has been grown in field trials in P.E.I., Ontario and Manitoba and the trials are expected to continue in 2019. But aside from a few acres in Ontario that’s producing an Innate chip variety for an American processor, there isn’t any commercial production of Innate potatoes in this…

Winnipeg to Host Potato Association of America Meeting

The 103rdannual meeting of the Potato Association of America will take place July 28 to Aug. 1 at the Delta Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, Man. It’s never been held in Manitoba before, and organizers are looking forward to hosting what’s considered the premier educational event for the North American potato industry. “It’s the most academic type of potato meeting that we have, and it tends to be the event of the year…

Going Without Mancozeb

Canadian potato farmers could be facing higher production costs with the potential loss of a key weapon against late blight. Mancozeb is a relatively inexpensive, Group M fungicide that’s used extensively in Canada to combat late blight and early blight, with some growers applying the chemical up to 10 times per season on their potato fields. The broad-spectrum fungicide is currently under review by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency due to…

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