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Nurse Crops in Potato Production

As with any field crop, young potato plants face many threats. Erosion, wind, drought and competition from weeds are a few of the factors that can impede the plants’ optimal growth. This is why a team at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in the Maritimes has been looking into nurse crops — what they describe as fast-growing companion crops planted during the potato-growing season that help draw water to root systems, provide…

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 and Fisheries put out a request for proposals (RFP), explains Kevin McCully, the department’s provincial director of agriculture. “We awarded the contract…

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 &…

What To Do When Frost Hits

When a pre-harvest hard frost hits — a temperature of -2.22 C or below — growers are faced with some thorny challenges. While a light frost may only damage the tubers in the top part of the hill, a severe frost can take out much more. There has been early frost three out of the last 10 years in the Maritimes, and outof those incidents, last year was the worst for frost-damaged…

Spud Smart Webinar: The Ins and Outs of Potato Yield Monitors

With increased input costs and skyrocketing land prices, profit margins are shrinking — it’s never been more important to have a good handle on what’s happening in your fields. Data generated from yield maps provide insight on how to manage your crop to improve your profit margin, your yield, or both. Whether this is your first season or your fifth using a potato yield monitor, our guest speakers will make sure you’re…

Black Cutworm Alert for Late-Planted Fields in Ontario

Yesterday, I checked a variety trial near Alliston that was planted late, on May 27. There was a moderate to high population of small black cutworms in the plots of late varieties, those that still had green foliage. Although the worms were small, there were also tubers with feeding damage. Small larvae of the black cutworm feed on the foliage in the evenings and remain buried in the soil near the plants…

Ontario Potato Production Update: Sept. 3, 2019

Harvesting fresh market and field fry potatoes continued over the long weekend.  Quality of both are very good, but yields are variable depending on the field. The storage crop is being top-killed according to the planting date. The spore traps keep detecting DNA of late blight in Dufferin, Simcoe and Norfolk Counties. This is a very important alert for growers in Dufferin County where there are still fields that will need at…

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