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The Benefits of True Potato Seed

Charles Miller, commercial director of Solynta, discusses true potato seed with Julie Deering, editor of Spud Smart’s sister publication, Seed World. Miller discusses the benefits of true potato seed, or potatoes grown from seeds instead of tubers. Solynta has been working on producing hybrid true seed potatoes through targeted breeding. Miller says true seeds don’t take as long to produce new varieties in comparison to tubers — which take about eight years to…

Potato Breeding: A European Approach, Part II

Marcel Bruins, editor of European Seed, sat down with the leaders of five major potato breeding companies in Europe to learn more about the challenges of breeding new potato varieties. Piet Smeenge, director of Kweekbedrijf Smeenge-Research; Vanessa Prigge, Crop Improvement project manager at Solana; Gerard Backx, CEO of HZPC; Jan-Paul Bandsma, product manager at de Nijs Potatoes; and Guus Heselmans, R&D manager of C. Meijer B.V., provided insight on this favoured crop….

Cultivar and Common Scab

According to Claudia Goyer, a molecular bacteriologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Fredericton, N.B, cultivars differ in terms of how severe common scab will be. No cultivars have true resistance to common scab, where there is no disease at all. “All of them can get common scab. The tolerant ones get really minimal amounts of the disease, just a couple of lesions here and there. The susceptible ones get a…

Keeping Tabs on Late Blight

Strain monitoring in Canada over the past three decades shows successive waves of new strains have replaced older strains of the late blight pathogen. The latest findings from research to track and characterize the strains across the country are a combination of good and bad news with direct relevance for managing the current strains. Rick Peters, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Charlottetown, P.E.I., is co-leading this research…

New Tools for the CPB Toolbox

A study being conducted by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s London Research and Development Centre could soon provide Canadian potato growers with new insight on how to fight one of the industry’s most troublesome pests — the Colorado potato beetle. The five-year study is officially known as the Development of Regional Management Strategies and Decision-Making Tools for Control of the Colorado Potato Beetle. Work on the project began this past summer…

Researchers Go Toe-to-Toe with PCN

Although extremely rare in Canada, potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are such a serious risk to potato production and trade that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has strict surveillance and quarantine protocols. When PCN was discovered in Quebec in 2006, the CFIA immediately implemented quarantine measures for the affected fields. As well, the agency took other important steps, including working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and other stakeholders to identify research…

New Prospect for Wireworm Control

A few years ago, Todd Kabaluk was given some fuzzy wireworms. That might not sound like an auspicious gift, but Kabaluk is a research biologist in integrated pest management with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He was immediately interested. As it turned out, these fuzzy wireworms were the first step on the path toward a new possibility for controlling wireworms. Wireworms are the tough-to-control, soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles. AAFC has found…

Peruvian Experiments Result In Potato To Grow On Mars

The humble potato may just be an important food for the future of space exploration. A recent experiment has taken place in the Peruvian capital of Lima. It saw a potato plant growing in conditions similar to what you might find on the surface of Mars. Experiments were conducted using Peru’s desert soil. Conditions were set up to mimic the harsh climate on Mars. These included an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide….

Better And Stronger Potatoes Using Hybrid Breeding

Potato is a hugely important crop worldwide, being eaten across the world and across cultures. Increased crop productivity and strength will help cater for the increasing global population, and also serve to reduce famine in challenging and impoverished environments. The potato breeding company Solynta in The Netherlands has successfully produced a hybrid breeding program for potatoes which will allow the rapid selection and turnover of favourable traits, traits which could help feed…

How to Plan Today to Manage PVY

Although the transmission and incidence of Potato virus Y in Canadian potato crops has declined dramatically over the past eight years, new threats to quality and yield are on the horizon in the form of necrosis-causing novel strains. How can Canadian growers manage PVY on their farms today, and how do they fight these latest strains? For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from industry experts Mathuresh Singh, director of Agricultural…

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