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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…

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…

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….

Potato Industry Moving Towards Earlier Generation Seed

The certification process for growing seed potatoes in Canada is designed to ensure seed stocks remain healthy, pure and true-to-variety. Understanding how the replication process works and investing in an early generation of seed potatoes can make a huge difference to a commercial grower’s success. Seed potato production starts out in a sterile lab, where disease-free tissue samples of a given variety are cultured to develop the first or ‘nuclear’ generation of…

Dry Harvest Conditions = Near-Term and Long-Term Challenges

The year 2017 may very well be remembered as the year the rain just didn’t come. Across much of Canada, conditions as we near potato harvest are notably dry and hot. With the exception of cooler, wetter than normal conditions in certain areas of Ontario, much of the country has seen little rain since May and June. Unfortunately, dry conditions limit yield, challenge growers at harvest, and can increase the risk of…

Lab Testing: Unfortunate Cost or Priority Investment?

No matter how excellent your product, your business will only be as successful as the customer service you offer. Though that sentence is so often repeated it’s become cliché, it is also absolute reality. For seed potato growers, offering excellent customer service means anticipating and meeting all of a customer’s needs, from reliable product to knowledgeable answers to seed quality verifications and regulatory requirements. Seed potato customers’ needs differ depending on both…

Growing Relationships

In today’s ultra-fast, highly digitalized world, it’s sometimes easy to overlook how much real, human to human relationship still matters. In life, in business and in agriculture, taking time to communicate openly, develop trust and build rapport is vital to success. Whether you are a potato grower, a seed producer, a retailer, a consumer, or – like us – a variety marketing company, you are a key player in the potato production…

Make Time for Field Evaluation Days

Bringing a new potato variety to market is an incredibly challenging combination of science, marketing and rigorous testing. While only a fraction of new varieties ever make it to commercial production, the few that do reach grocery store shelves are vital to the viability and future of the potato industry. Each successful new variety is an important step forward for breeders, growers, commercial buyers and, ultimately, consumers. As such, all potato industry…

Success with Organics Depends on Starting with the Right Seed

The price premium on organic produce of all kinds, combined with growing interest in sustainable farming, is tempting more and more agricultural producers to look towards organics. Though initially a little slower to take off than some organic crops, commercial organic potato production is now growing steadily. Here are some points to consider before embarking on organic farming. Since not all conventional potato varieties are suitable for organic production, it is wise…

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