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GM Potato Trials Point to Blight-Resistant Crops of the Future

A genetically modified potato with improved tuber quality and resistance to the devastating disease late blight has progressed successfully through the latest stage of trials. The field trials follow successful lab experiments to modify Maris Piper potatoes with late blight resistance genes from wild relatives of potato called Solanum americanum and Solanum venturii. To improve tuber quality, the modified Maris Piper lines also have genes switched off – or “silenced” – to…

Hemp in the Rotation?

Potato farmers are always keen to include lucrative new crops in the rotation, and various groups in New Brunswick are currently looking into the suitability of hemp. To start examining that possibility and all other economic growth opportunities related to hemp, the leaders at the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Fisheries put out a request for proposals (RFP) last fall, explains Kevin McCully, the department’s provincial director of agriculture. “We awarded…

Potato Virus Y is the Most Serious Threat to Potato — Some Strains More than Others

By American Phytopathological Society Potato virus Y (PVY) is the most serious problem facing the potato industry in the United States and is the main cause for rejection of seed potato lots. The virus affects potatoes in two ways: It reduces the yield of potato tubers by 70-80% and also negatively affects the quality of the remaining tubers due to necrotic reactions. PVY encompasses a complex network of strains with a range…

World Potato Congress Presents its Fifth Webinar

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to be offering its fifth webinar on Oct. 29, 2019, via Zoom in its 2019 series with Dr. Nina Zidack. The topic is “Why You Should Plant Certified Seed Potatoes.” Zidack grew up on a farm/ranch in Central Montana.  After receiving a B.S. in Horticulture in 1987 from Montana State University, she went on to receive a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Auburn University in 1993.  Zidack…

New Strategies for Mitigating Off-Site Pesticide Movement in Water

WHEN THE PESTICIDE MANAGEMENT Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced its proposed special review of clothianidin and thiamethoxam to assess their risks to aquatic invertebrates in November 2016, many in the potato industry were surprised.  And while Canada’s potato producers are already doing a good job in terms of implementing best management practices for off-site pesticide movement, the announcement serves as a reminder the industry must continue to seek out improvements. Formed in the…

The Ins and Outs of Potato Yield Monitoring

Bill Menkveld, vice-president of sales and marketing for Greentronics, has never met a grower who isn’t interested in yield maps. He says producers are often surprised by the results. “Growers are always amazed to see how much yield changes across a field. It’s not uncommon to see yields vary by a factor of 100 or 200 per cent,” he says. Yield monitors provide information about crops and production practices and are designed…

Alberta Potato Crop Production Report Oct. 8

The provincial average yields for potatoes on dryland and irrigated fields are estimated at 13.9 and 17.8 tons per acre, respectively. Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost) About 85 per cent of potatoes have been harvested, with yields on dryland and irrigated fields at 10 and 17.8 tons per acre, respectively Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen) About 90 per cent of potatoes have been harvested, with dryland yield…

Manitoba Crop Production Report Oct. 11

Again, the rains in the week (Tuesday, Oct. 1 to Monday, Oct. 7) were extensive in distribution in the province, but slightly less than last week. The weather station sites recorded 1/2” to 3/4” rainfall.  The air temperatures have generally cooled down, while overnight below freezing temperatures have started. The western areas of the province have received close to 140+ per cent of the normal rainfall. Soils are now saturated. The maps below…

Ontario Crop Production Update Oct. 11

Sunny, balmy weather this week allowed growers to make lots of progress with the harvest.  Many growers have finished digging. According to Mark VanOostrum, 80 per cent of the chipping crop has been dug.  The size profile is better than expected, and the quality is very good.  Rainfall was below average in June, July and August in the Alliston area, which resulted in poor crops in non-irrigated fields. I visited P &…

Driving Out Blight With Dual Control

Combining methods of disease control rather than relying on a single resistance strategy can extend the durability of crops by many years, confirms computer modelling that draws on classical population genetics theory. The finding comes from assessing the spread and virulence of the pathogen responsible for late blight of potato, Phytophthora infestans. The pathogen, which caused the Great Irish Famine in the mid-nineteenth century and led to the new science of plant…

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