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Browsing articles by Mark Halsall

Expansion Key for Success for New Brunswick Potato Grower

Michel Levesque, who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick’s fertile potato belt, was only 24 when he began his own potato operation in Saint-Andre, N.B. “I started by myself in 1991. My father had a farm and he sold it to my two brothers. I wanted to still continue farming, so I bought a farm a couple of miles away from the homestead farm,” says Levesque, who’s 52. Levesque admits the…

Market News

After three straight years of record-breaking yields in Canada, the 2018 potato crop appeared headed for a significant drop, thanks to the very hot, dry summer seen in many parts of the country. Some timely end-of-season rains, however, had growers feeling more optimistic heading into harvest. “Two or three weeks ago, we were looking at a severe crop production reduction because of excessive heat and lack of moisture,” Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the…

Disease Alert

Attending winter trade shows and meetings are a favoured ritual for many potato growers. Certain topics tend to dominate the conference circuit every year, and one that’s likely to have a lot of farmers talking this winter is a brand-new strain of late blight called US-25. “This is a topic that will be discussed at winter meetings,” says Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. “There’s not much awareness…

Breaking the Fall

Two years ago, Maritimer Pete Nieuwhof was contemplating ways to speed up packing of his farm’s fresh potato harvest. He found his answer with the EZ-Down, an ingenious device invented by a pair of fellow P.E.I. potato growers. “At the time, we were looking for something to speed up our production a little bit. We had an old homemade machine on the line. It was working well, but we wanted to upgrade so…

Manitoba Grower Prizes Self-Reliance

Spud Plains Farms is one of the largest potato operations in Manitoba. The 15,000-acre farm includes about 4,500 acres of irrigated potatoes which are spread over out over 80 kilometres in the southwest area of the province. Owner Paul Adriaansen believes for an operation of his farm’s size, it pays to be self-sufficient. “We do as much as we can ourselves on our farm. We just purchased an aircraft last year, a…

Market News

Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 were up 3.1 per cent — or just over 575,000 hundredweight — from the year before, according to figures from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). The bulk of this increase is on the processing side, with total storage holdings in this category showing a year-to-year increase of 10.6 per cent. According to Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager, this is a reflection of…

Peru Prepares to Host World Potato Congress

More than 800 delegates are expected to attend the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) May 27 to 31 in Cusco, the historic city in southwestern Peru that was once capital of the Inca Empire. The event, which will showcase the origins of the potato in the South America’s Andean region, is being held in Latin America for the first time. “I think it will be such a unique and different experience for…

China a Potato Production Powerhouse

Hundreds of potato stakeholders from around the globe will descend on Cusco, Peru, in May for the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC). One the largest groups of participants will be from China, the leading potato producer in the world and the host nation for the last WPC in 2015. According to Peter VanderZaag, a WPC director and one of the key organizers of WPC 2015 as well as WPC 2018, the event…

Farming Potatoes is all in the Family

Arjan Woordman comes from a long line of potato growers. His great-great-grandparents started it all off in the Netherlands in the late 1800s, and farming potatoes has been in the family blood ever since. “We definitely love what we do,” says Arjan, who along with his wife Wietske grows about 1,300 acres of potatoes each year on their 3,500 acre farm just outside Taber, Alta. The farm, which was purchased by Arjan’s parents…

Market News

The market for Manitoba potatoes will soon be significantly bigger, thanks to J.R. Simplot’s planned plant expansion in Portage la Prairie, Man. Simplot announced earlier this month it will spend $40 million on the project which will more than double the capacity of the french fry plant. “It will have a big impact. First of all, it means more market for the product,” says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato…

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