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Browsing Category Fall 2019

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…

Advances in Potato Handling Equipment

At one time, the only real tools a potato farmer needed were a trusty spade and a good strong back. While a little blood, sweat and tears can still go a long way in determining how successful a grower can be, having the right tools has become increasingly important. New developments in technology, mechanization, storage and breeding are allowing growers to produce more spuds with fewer resources. The challenge for many potato…

The Long Haul: Attaining Your Storage Goals

Peter VanderZaag, co-owner of Sunrise Potato Storage Ltd. in Alliston, Ont. and a prominent Canadian potato scientist, learned a valuable lesson about storing spuds from his father, one of his mentors for growing potatoes. Potatoes, he was told, should look as good coming out of the bin as when they’re freshly harvested. The reason being the price farmers pay if they’re not. “If you don’t do the storage properly, you have nothing…

Farming Potatoes is in his Blood

Jaap Remijn grew up on a potato farm in the Netherlands but decided to pursue mechanical engineering after high school. When he immigrated to Canada, the opportunity arose to buy a potato farm in Alberta. Remijn decided it was something he couldn’t pass up. “It was just something I wanted to do for myself,” says Remijn, whose father started farming potatoes in Holland at the age of 19. “I guess farming potatoes…

Preventing Bruise in Potatoes

Meeting the demands of processors and buyers in terms of quality is a constant challenge for producers. Potatoes that don’t meet quality specs are either reduced in price or get rejected entirely. All through the production process, there are steps growers can take to assure the highest level of quality is maintained, particularly when it comes to mitigating bruise. There are three types of bruising that occur in potato tubers. Shatter bruise…

From Potato Spinners to Touchscreens

With the technology available today, it’s hard to imagine that potato harvesting has ever been anything but efficient. But consider this: humans have cultivated potatoes for about 10,000 years; automated harvest technologies have only developed over the past 150-ish years. That means all our automation has been squeezed into just 1.5 per cent of our relationship with potatoes. But what good use we’ve made of that time! The first major harvest automation…

The Art of Keeping Spuds Comfortable: Today’s Insulation Options

On a frigid, 40-below night in February or a broiling, 30-above day in July, would you feel comfortable having a long nap inside an under-insulated shed? Potatoes don’t either. The good news is that virtually everyone is pushing for more insulation R value today. Spray foam insulation now offers better fire retardant and more food grades than earlier generations of foam. The main change, however, comes in depth. Virtually across all potato…

Will the EU’s CIPC Ban Affect You?

The recently announced ban of sprout inhibitor chlorpropham (commonly known as CIPC) in the European Union is causing major waves in the global potato industry. Announced in mid-June, the ban is effective on product registrations as of Jan. 8, 2020. Grace on residue application will only be given until Oct. 8, 2020 (a specific maximum residue limit has yet to be announced). Since the EU’s ban was first announced, I’ve been asked…

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