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New Tool to Detect Blackleg Disease in Potato has Widespread Application

The American Phytopathological Society Potatoes are important. They rank fourth among the world’s staple crops. In the United States, they are grown commercially in 30 states and valued at $4 billion annually. Potatoes are also susceptible to 160 different fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases, such as blackleg and soft rot diseases, which are caused by the bacterium Dickeya dianthicola. In 2015, an aggressive outbreak of this bacterium led to losses of greater than…

Complex Potato Genome Further Unveiled

The potato is one of the most important food crops worldwide. Improvements to its traits can therefore have a major impact. Reading the genome structure of the potato is extremely tricky, however, as a regular potato consists of four genomes, which makes it difficult to determine the position of the genes. The recent research applied a diploid real potato plant with only one genome, a so-called homozygote, which makes it easier to read and compare the DNA base sequence. This plant, Solyntus, was produced as part of Solynta’s hybrid potato breeding programme.   The genome…

From our Desk

Potato Industry and Producer Engagement Increasing

EXCITEMENT IS IN the air as Manitoba gets ready to host the 103rd Potato Association of America Annual Meeting in Winnipeg at the end of July.  It’s a time for the sector’s scientific branch to share research information about all facets of the potato industry, to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the sector, and to nurture and mentor upcoming researchers. It’s also an opportunity for all industry stakeholders, including…

Community and Science Strengthens Industry

Robert Thornton, an extension vegetable specialist and professor emeritus at Washington State University has been attending Potato Association of America (PAA) annual meetings since the early 1960s. He says the biggest reason he has maintained his membership for more than five decades is it keeps him honest. “Every year is an opportunity to have your thinking questioned,” Thornton says. “You can stay isolated in your own area of concern and be very…

Spud Smart Webinar: Sugar End Disorder and Stem-End Chip Defect Stress Factors and Management Practices

Sugar ends is a physiological disorder that can occur at a tuber’s bud or stem end. The disorder’s symptoms usually aren’t apparent until the tuber’s exposure to colder temperatures — around 10 C or below. The stress that causes the disorder’s development occurs early in the growing season and may be difficult to determine. Stem-end chip defect is another serious threat affecting tuber quality for chip potato growers. What are the causes…

Factors Causing Poor Potato Emergence

There are many factors affecting potato emergence and stand establishment. Having a checklist of factors causing poor potato emergence is a useful tool for growers. I was able to add a number of factors to that checklist thanks to contributions from experts in Ontario, Canada, and the United States. Those potato experts include Joe Lach, Kate VanderZaag, Mark VanOostrum, Robert Coffin, Walt Quilty, Paul Van den Borre and Hossein Bagheri from Ontario, and…

Maritimes Potato Growers Impacted By Adverse Weather Offered Support

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering support to customers in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick whose potato crops were impacted by an unusually wet, cold fall, causing a loss in revenue. Potatoes need to be dry and not too cold to be harvested without the risk of damage, and there were very few days in October and November where conditions were right. This followed an extremely challenging growing season, mired by…

Potato Producers Have Eyes On The Future

For a century at least, potatoes have been one of our province’s staple crops. More recently, they’ve become a pillar of southern Alberta’s economy. And now university-based researchers are on hand for support, as producers prepare to grow the industry still further. With a major potato processing plant now under construction in Lethbridge, industry officials predict a jump of nearly 10,000 more acres put into potato crop rotation. On Friday, scientists at…

New Report: Independent Crop Advisor Feedback

Stratus Ag Research recently released the 2018 Canadian Independent Crop Advisor Feedback Report. Designed to measure the expectations for and the effectiveness of seed and crop protection manufacturer engagements with independent crop advisors. The report is a road map for companies to engage with independent agronomists in a meaningful way. A few of the highlights from the report are included below: Independent crop advisors support companies with products that perform as promised;…

New Publication – Plant Nutrition Diagnostics: Potato

Good nutrition is essential for supporting potato plant health and providing the necessary defense against plant disease and stress. The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), J.R. Simplot Company and Tennessee State University have collaborated on a new publication that provides readers with access to a unique collection of hundreds of high resolution photographs that document a wide range of nutrient deficiency symptoms in potato plants with remarkable clarity. Developed within a unique…

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