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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…

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…

Verticillium and Weeds

Verticillium wilt is a major soil-borne disease that can result in yield losses as high as 50 per cent in potatoes. The roots of a potato plant, or other host plant, release compounds that stimulate the germination of Verticillium dahliae microsclerotia, the fungus’s survival structures in the soil. The fungus then grows, penetrates the plant’s roots and spreads up the plant, eventually causing wilting, yellowing and early dying in potatoes. “As Verticillium dahliae completes…

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…

Preparing for the Potato’s Future

It’s always been critical to breed new crop varieties with good yield and harvest quality, but it’s more important than ever to do so now, with crops facing myriad stresses related to changing climate conditions. Dr. Keshav Dahal, a crop stress physiologist who joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Fredericton, N.B. during summer 2017, is helping unlock how some plants sense and react to stress more effectively than…

Disease Watch: Potato Early Dying

Potato early dying (PED) is also known as early die and early maturity wilt. This disease is endemic in many fields with a long history of potato production. There is increased pressure on Canadian processing potato production to increase productivity to remain competitive in regional and global markets. PED is a major yield-limiting factor in all major potato production areas of Canada. PED results in premature vine senescence and can limit potato…

New NASA Mission to Detect Plant Water Use from Space

Doctors learn a lot about their patients’ health by taking their temperature. An elevated temperature, or fever, can be a sign of illness. The same goes for plants, but their temperatures on a global scale are harder to measure than the temperatures of individual people. That’s about to change, thanks to a new NASA instrument that soon will be installed on the International Space Station called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer…

Mustering Mustard for Potato Productivity

A recent study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Bernie Zebarth, together with McCain Foods Canada agronomists and the PEI Potato Board, identified potato early dying complex (PED) and degraded soil health as the two most important factors limiting potato production in the Maritimes. So says Dr. Dahu Chen, a plant pathologist at AAFC’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre. This double threat has prompted Chen and his colleagues at AAFC…

An environmentally friendly solution to potato early dying complex

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers in Fredericton are exploring environmentally friendly solutions to manage Potato Early Dying complex (PED), a disease that is limiting yields in many potato fields in Eastern Canada. PED is a disease complex caused by a combination of a fungal disease (Verticillium wilt) and root-lesion nematodes. With few available treatments, a process called biofumigation is being used by some growers to manage PED.  The process involves tilling…

GMO potato can reduce fungicide use by 90 per cent

Researchers in Ireland and the Netherlands have discovered that a genetically engineered potato carrying a blight resistance gene could help farmers reduce fungicide sprays by up to 90 percent. Scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Teagasc, the Irish agricultural research agency, conducted three years of field tests in the two countries to examine the effectiveness of potato genes aiming to confer resistance to Phytophthora infestans, otherwise known as late blight…

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