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Researchers Shine a Light into the Mechanisms of Potato Late Blight Infection

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with colleagues of the University of Dundee, Huazhong Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (both China) and Wageningen University (Netherlands), have shed further light into the mechanisms through which the potato blight pathogen interacts with plant cells to promote disease. Late blight played a major role in the historical Irish potato famine, and is still a huge problem for farmers today, causing massive…

Important Harvest Considerations for PEI Growers in 2018

It’s been an incredibly challenging harvest season, and we’re hoping for much better weather to allow you to get the rest of the crop under cover. We’ve received some suggestions and had some thoughts as well in reflection of the conditions this fall, so we’d like to share them with you. Disposal of Tare soil at storages There’s a lot of soil getting to the warehouse yards due to the wet conditions….

Seeking a Whammy for Wireworms

“We have estimated wireworm costs Prince Edward Island’s potato industry more than $10 million per year in damaged product, crop protection products, crop insurance claims, and costs associated with rotation crops to battle wireworm,” says Ryan Barrett, research coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board. “While research by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers, such as Dr. Christine Noronha and Dr. Bob Vernon has provided growers with more tools to battle this pest, it…

Ontario Harvest Update

Oct. 20, 2018—According to Mark VanOostrum, of W.D. Potato Ltd., 95 per cent of the processing crop has been dug.  This is close to the fresh market acreage harvested. The consensus among growers is yield is down and tuber size is smaller due to the hot, dry summer. Cold, wet and windy weather has made digging potatoes in October a challenge.  The first snow fell in the Alliston, Ont., area on October…

Proposed Regulatory Decision for Mancozeb

Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, Health Canada is proposing cancellation of all uses of mancozeb, except greenhouse tobacco, due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Mancozeb is a broad-spectrum contact fungicide with multi-site modes of action. The public, including manufacturers and stakeholders, are encouraged to submit comments during the 90-day public consultation period, beginning Oct. 5, 2018. All comments should be addressed to the Pest…

Taking on Herbicide Resistance

Preventive measures can control the spread of herbicide resistance, but when they stop working, the best tool is rapid detection. Dr. Martin Laforest, a weed scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Research and Development Centre and his team have developed molecular tests that can detect the presence of herbicide resistance in less than two weeks using only leaves from the noxious plant. In Canada, weeds in vegetable crops cause tens of…

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…

Identifying Common Scab Species and Strains in Ontario

After conducting common scab research for many years, Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, thought a provincial survey of potato fields would help to understand what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario. A research project was submitted by the potato board to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program, says Banks.  The project to collect 50 soil samples from across the province was…

Periderm Disorder Syndrome: A New Name for Potato Pink Eye

Pink eye is a sporadic disorder of potato tubers that may result in a significant loss of quality after harvest. The typical symptoms are pink, slightly raised areas that are easy to see on moist, freshly dug tubers, but difficult to notice on dry, unwashed potatoes. The affected areas usually occur around the eyes and at the tuber stem end. Pink eye will dry out under cool temperatures and low humidity in…

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…

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