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Where to Start When It’s Time To Expand My Spud Storage

It happens every harvest – you look at your potato storage capacity and wonder, “Do I have enough – is it time to expand?” When you decide it is time to increase or update your storage facilities, your first question will most likely be, “Where do I start?” Here are some beginning questions to help organize your thoughts as you consider expanding your storage capacity. Where is my potato production headed? How…

Navigating the Challenges of New Trucking Regulations: We’re All in this Together

New regulations governing U.S. truckers’ driving hours are hitting agriculture hard. Not only are prices for trucking way up (we’ve seen a spike of 20 per cent or more to some locations), lack of adequate trucking capacity means it sometimes seems nearly impossible to find an available truck. Producers have been calling us since the regulations came into effect looking for suggestions on how to manage the changes. We always want to…

Get Set for Success, Part 1: My Top Tips to Get the Most From Yield Monitoring

I attend a lot of ag expos and field days, a lot of ag-tech conferences and tradeshows. Though those events keep me away from home more than I’d like, I love each opportunity to connect with farmers. I’m always reminded that there’s something special about people who commit their lives to this industry: farming might not be the most lucrative or the easiest business to be in, but it sure draws people…

Solar Sensors: A Less Stressful, More Consistent Way to Plant and Harvest

Mickelsen Farms in Idaho Falls, Idaho keeps five eight-row planters running around the clock to get their 10,000 acres of potatoes into the ground. Frustrated by inconsistent emergence, they opted to give sonar sensors a try on their planters two years ago. My guess? A decade from now, pretty much everyone is going to be following Mickelsen Farms’ sonar sensing lead, and lots of farmers are going to be using sonar sensors…

A Wide World Awaits: Why Looking Beyond the U.S. Market Matters to Canadian Potatoes

For decades, Canadian farmers have relied on U.S. markets to purchase the vast majority of our country’s exported agricultural product. Potatoes are no exception: a whopping 86 per cent (totalling $1.37B) of all exported potatoes and potato products, of which the lion’s share is frozen fries, headed south across the border last year. But, with NAFTA still unresolved, harsh new tariffs now targeting Canadian steel and aluminum, and trade talks of all…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

Maximizing Potato Yield Starts at Planting

Improved planting technology is coming to a potato field near you. Here’s why you might want to be on the leading edge of these technologies. Uniform crop emergence is key to optimizing field management all season long. Plants that emerge consistently allow hilling, spraying, irrigation and harvest to occur at the right timing across the entire crop, promoting healthier plants, optimum tuber set and more efficient harvest. Achieving emergence consistency depends on…

Arm Yourself Against PVY

Canadian potato growers should keep an extra watchful eye out for potato virus Y (PVY) this coming season. Though PVY has been a costly issue for decades, winter test results show a concerning increase in the disease in certain regions over the past couple years, likely due to newer, more aggressive PVY strains such as PVYNTN, delayed harvests and higher than normal overwintering of aphids. PVY impacts both yield and, when infection…

Building Momentum for Canadian Potatoes in International Markets

As domestic potato consumption slows but production continues to grow, finding lucrative export markets for Canada’s fresh, frozen and seed potatoes is a vital and increasing priority. The vast majority of Canada’s potato exports – approximately 91 per cent of our fresh potato exports and 84 per cent of our seed potato exports in 2015/2016 – travel south to U.S. customers. To date, bilateral trade agreements are keeping this trade route smooth….

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

3D Bin Mapping: The Future is Now

We’ve all heard it said that knowledge is power. When it comes to storing potatoes, knowledge translates to something equally important: dollars. Advanced harvest tracking and 3D storage mapping technology now allows accurate-to-the-truckload tracing of potatoes from where they were grown in a field to exactly where they are stored in a bin. There are all kinds of reasons why having at-a-click access to your potato pile’s side-map, top-map and every angle…

What’s Holding Up Yield Monitoring?

Compared to other technologies and equipment, yield monitoring is a relatively inexpensive way to get immediately actionable information about a crop field. Yet, uptake of the technology remains fairly low in potato fields. Why aren’t potato growers making use of the technology when it’s such a high value crop, the cost to add a yield monitor to an existing GPS/Steering enabled system is less than $10,000, and there’s plenty of technical and…

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