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The Long Haul

Peter VanderZaag, co-owner of Sunrise Potato Storage Ltd. in Alliston, Ont. and a prominent Canadian potato scientist, learned a valuable lesson about storing spuds from his father, one of his mentors for growing potatoes. Potatoes, he was told, should look as good coming out of the bin as when they’re freshly harvested. The reason being the price farmers pay if they’re not. “If you don’t do the storage properly, you have nothing…

Preventing Bruise in Potatoes

Meeting the demands of processors and buyers in terms of quality is a constant challenge for producers. Potatoes that don’t meet quality specs are either reduced in price or get rejected entirely. All through the production process, there are steps growers can take to assure the highest level of quality is maintained, particularly when it comes to mitigating bruise. There are three types of bruising that occur in potato tubers. Shatter bruise…

2019 Successful Harvest Checklist for the Storage Crop

Whoever said that “a potato storage is not a hospital” was absolutely right. Diseased or bruised tubers that are stored will not get better. Tubers bruised at harvest are easily invaded by soft rot and/or Fusarium dry rot, which can cause serious economic losses in storage. Harvest management is, in large part, bruise management. Bruising affects tuber quality significantly. In order to harvest potatoes with minimum tuber damage, growers need to implement digging,…

Managing Weight Loss in Storage

By now, potatoes in most of the U.S. and parts of Canada have been in storage one to two months. The crop is at or nearing holding temperatures specific to the cultivar and use. Storages are being monitored for disease development, desired temperature, ventilation and humidity. What isn’t as easy to see is the amount of weight loss, or shrinkage, that is occurring in storage. Stored potatoes will lose weight from respiration…

Potato Storage: Keeping an Eye on the Prize

The case could be made that caring for potatoes and for children have a lot in common: Let your guard down for a minute and you’ll pay for it in the end. Like parenting, potato storage is an area in which expert advice can save a lot of headaches and wrong turns. In this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart turned to three experts on the ins and outs of potato storage: Robert…

Protecting Your Stored Investment

The vast majority of potato producers have a good to excellent understanding of storage management guidelines. Still, every winter an unfortunate high number of producers face unnecessary stored tuber losses due to incorrect temperature and moisture management. For now, the best scientists are able to offer are strong and repeated reminders about the importance of managing one’s storage conditions. In the longer term, however, research may point toward ways to minimize and…

Developing wireless sensor technologies to fight potato rot in storage facilities

In Idaho, potatoes are both a humble stereotype and a half-billion dollar crop. According to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, every spring farmers plant more than 320,000 acres of potatoes valued at between $550-$700 million. Yet unbeknownst to most consumers, roughly 30 per cent of the potatoes harvested spoil before they reach a grocery store shelf. Boise State University researchers Harish Subbaraman, David Estrada and Yantian Hou hope to change that. In…

Simple and Effective Late Blight Detection

Determining late blight presence and the resulting pressure on potato crops is an ongoing challenge. Usually, potato growers start a preventive fungicide program with broad spectrum fungicides before row closure, which ensures stems and leaves at the base of plants are protected from both early and late blight. If late blight is identified in the field, growers switch to fungicides that specifically target it for enhanced crop protection. But what if it…

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014 — following a ring rot flare-up — Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating…

Tools for Success

To protect their investment, it’s important for growers to keep on top of the latest innovations in ventilation, humidification and spout control when storing their potato crops. Spud Smart talked to some industry experts about new equipment, products and technologies aimed at ensuring storage success. Remote Control Ashley Gorman, vice-president of sales at P.E.I.-based Gorman Controls, believes the most important new technologies to hit the scene in recent years have been those…

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