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Browsing Category Spring 2019

Combatting Common Scab

COMMON SCAB, a bacterial disease that doesn’t affect yields but causes ugly lesions and cavities on infected tubers, which can render them unmarketable, is a pervasive threat in potato-growing areas across Canada.  It has likely been around for as long as people have been growing potatoes, but researchers are still trying to determine why the pathogen is much more common in some fields than others and what the best methods are for…

On the Campaign Trail

IN SOME REGIONS of the world potato consumption has stagnated in recent years. There are several thorny reasons for that, says Peter VanderZaag, president of Sunrise Potato Storage in Alliston, Ont., and a professor at Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China.  “In the media, potatoes get a bad rap in many ways,” he asserts. “There is lots of information out there about how they are fattening, they…

Champion Potato Grower has Roots in Holland

ALBERTA POTATO PRODUCER Laus Stiekema was in his early 40s when he decided to leave the Netherlands with his wife and four kids to start a new life on the Canadian prairies in 2004. Fifteen years later, there’s no question that Stiekema and his family have landed on their feet. Stiekema now runs a thriving potato operation called Stiekema-Kolhorn Joint Venture in Vauxhall, Alta. Last November, Stiekema-Kolhorn JV was named McCain Food’s…

Promoting Potatoes

P.E.I. POTATOES HAS established a strong reputation as a leader in marketing and promoting potatoes, both within Canada and abroad. It has now come out with a new media campaign that relies heavily on the Island’s beauty and rich potato heritage to further entrench the Prince Edward Island Potatoes brand in the minds of consumers.  The new television and online marketing campaign kicked off in November with a 30-second video called “What…

What Consumers Want and Farmers Need

Gathering good information is important for any sector in meeting current and future market demands, and researchers at the University of Guelph and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are continuing to do just that with regard to conventional and pigmented potatoes. Most consumers know by now that eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants may decrease their chances of developing heart disease, cancer and more. Because potatoes are already such a popular food,…

Potato Breeding: A European Approach, Part III

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. …

Innate Outlook

INNATE POTATOES, the biotech spud from Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company, have been approved for production and sale in Canada since 2016.  Since then, Innate has been grown in field trials in P.E.I., Ontario and Manitoba and the trials are expected to continue in 2019. But aside from a few acres in Ontario that’s producing an Innate chip variety for an American processor, there isn’t any commercial production of Innate potatoes in this…

From our Desk

What’s Old is New Again: Practical CPB Insecticide Resistance Management

  As growers head into another production season, some are concerned about Colorado potato beetle populations and rising neonic insecticide resistance.  Ian MacRae, a professor and extension entomologist at the University of Minnesota, offered some practical insecticide resistance management steps at Manitoba Potato Production Days in January in Brandon. MacRae kicked off the conference presentations with a talk about Colorado potato beetle management in a post-neonic world.  The bottom line is we’re…

Winnipeg to Host Potato Association of America Meeting

The 103rdannual meeting of the Potato Association of America will take place July 28 to Aug. 1 at the Delta Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, Man. It’s never been held in Manitoba before, and organizers are looking forward to hosting what’s considered the premier educational event for the North American potato industry. “It’s the most academic type of potato meeting that we have, and it tends to be the event of the year…

Going Without Mancozeb

Canadian potato farmers could be facing higher production costs with the potential loss of a key weapon against late blight. Mancozeb is a relatively inexpensive, Group M fungicide that’s used extensively in Canada to combat late blight and early blight, with some growers applying the chemical up to 10 times per season on their potato fields. The broad-spectrum fungicide is currently under review by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency due to…

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