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Browsing articles by Mark Halsall

Plane spraying potato field

Shrinking Toolbox

With fewer pesticides available to control insects and disease, potato growers in Canada need to find new options for protecting their crops. In recent years, the loss of a number of important pesticide products as well as new restrictions on the use of some others has meant potato growers are having to think outside the toolbox to protect their crops from harmful diseases and insects. Among the latest pesticides to be removed…

Potato plants growing in a field

Assessing Soil Health

Canadian researchers are part of a North American-wide initiative aimed at standardizing the way soil health is measured in farmers’ fields. Miles Dyck has a novel way of thinking about soil — it’s just like the human body. An associate professor of soil science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alta., Dyck was speaking at the Alberta Potato Conference in November about soil heath, a term referring to the soil’s capacity…

Davison family photo

Manitoba Potato Farmer Nearing 40 Years in the Biz

Rick Davison, a successful potato producer in Carberry, Man., didn’t shy away from making some big decisions as a young farmer. Davison was only 18 when he purchased his first quarter section, which was then added to the family farm. Four years later, he convinced his father George they should try their hand at growing potatoes on their 1,000-acre farm. “I had to coax my dad along because he was getting to…

Aerial spraying

Keeping Up with Change

Recent re-evaluations by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency mean potato producers should take extra care to read the label when applying pesticides like chlorothalonil this year. In recent years, special reviews and re-evaluation decisions on pesticide uses by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) have had a considerable impact on potato farming in Canada. For growers and other stakeholders in the industry, it’s been a challenge to keep up with regulatory…

Pile of potatoes

Spring 2020 Market News

Total storage holdings in Canada were up 6.5 per cent on Feb. 1 compared to the year before, but some provinces are still having to import potatoes from south of the border to keep up with processing demand. Despite a jump in total storage holdings in Canada this winter, potato processors in Alberta and Manitoba have had to import potatoes from the United States due to a bitter harvest in those provinces….

War on Weeds

IN ATLANTIC CANADA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers are tackling the thorny problem of herbicide resistance in potatoes by looking into the biofumigant effects of different cover crops on weeds and weed seeds. The research is part of a broader integrated weed management plan for potatoes that’s being developed to counter the impact of rising herbicide resistance as well as the potential loss of linuron, a major weed control product and resistance…

Pile of potatoes

Market News Winter 2020

Total potato production in Canada in 2019 was 106.6 million hundredweight, a four per cent increase from 2018, according to Statistics Canada figures released Dec. 13. The 2019 figures also show an average potato yield in Canada of just over 312 hundredweight per acre, a seven per cent increase from the previous year. According to Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, the total production number could have…

A Change for the Better

IT’S BEEN A LITTLE over a year since Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) began revamping its potato breeding program. In addition to making the program more efficient and up to date, the move reflects a strong desire by the AAFC to make the program more responsive to the needs of the Canadian potato industry.  The changes are still ongoing, but many in the potato industry appear to like what they’ve seen so…

A New Way to Weed

Its name may be a playful pun, but the R2 Weed2 agricultural robot is no joke when it comes to plucking problem weeds. So says Teric Greenan, a Nova Scotia vegetable grower turned high-tech entrepreneur who came up with the idea for the innovative robotic weeder, which could someday be used in commercial potato production. “In 2015, I started a mixed vegetable farm in Lunenberg County, N.S., which I ran with a…

Growing Potatoes is a Family Affair

At Les Fermes PL Levesque Ltd., a 2,000-acre potato farm in Saint-André, N. B., you could say farming runs in the family. Paul Levesque, who owns the farming operation along with his wife, Lynn, grows potatoes there, just like his father and grandfather before him. Today, his two sons, Angelo and David, help run the farm, as do three grandsons, Samuel, Zackari and Mathias, who represent the sixth generation of potato growers…

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