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Monitoring Your Fields

Checking every inch of your potato fields isn’t an easy task, but precision agriculture company Hummingbird Technologies is trying to make it easier. If you stand at the edge of a potato field, you’ll only see a small sampling of plants. If you start walking across it, you’ll be slowed by the potato hills. Overall, it’s not the easiest process. Drones and satellites however can see the whole field, which is what…

P.E.I. Farmers Fight Back Against Late Blight With Ag Tech

To cut down on costs and make their operations more efficient Prince Edward Island potato farmers have started using precision agriculture technology to prevent late blight, according to a news release from the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. Farmers usually use fungicides throughout the growing season to protect from late blight which can cause millions of dollars in crop losses. Many P.E.I. farmers though have started using precision agriculture technology like localized…

Solynta Granted US Patent for Hybrid True Potato Seed Development

Solynta, the inventor and global leader in the breeding of hybrid potato cultivars produced from true potato seed, announced the grant of U.S. Patent Serial No. 10,524,436 entitled “Hybrid Potato Breeding.” The patent claims Solynta’s methods of producing potato inbreds and hybrids that are propagated from true seed. Dr. Pim Lindhout, Solynta’s Chief Scientific Officer, states “Solynta’s innovative Hybrid True Potato Seed breeding will finally unlock the humble potato’s vast potential. Not only producing more and better food but…

New Tool to Detect Blackleg Disease in Potato has Widespread Application

The American Phytopathological Society Potatoes are important. They rank fourth among the world’s staple crops. In the United States, they are grown commercially in 30 states and valued at $4 billion annually. Potatoes are also susceptible to 160 different fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases, such as blackleg and soft rot diseases, which are caused by the bacterium Dickeya dianthicola. In 2015, an aggressive outbreak of this bacterium led to losses of greater than…

Potato plants growing in a field

GM Potato Trials Point to Blight-Resistant Crops of the Future

A genetically modified potato with improved tuber quality and resistance to the devastating disease late blight has progressed successfully through the latest stage of trials. The field trials follow successful lab experiments to modify Maris Piper potatoes with late blight resistance genes from wild relatives of potato called Solanum americanum and Solanum venturii. To improve tuber quality, the modified Maris Piper lines also have genes switched off – or “silenced” – to…

Better Sooner Than Later

Late blight is a deadly disease that requires integrated management, including foliar fungicides as a key tool. Usually potato growers make repeated preventive applications of broad-spectrum fungicides starting before row closure, and then use late blight-specific fungicides if the disease is found in their fields. Now studies in Ontario and the Maritimes are working on easy-to-use technologies for early detection of late blight that could allow more targeted fungicide strategies. Late blight…

Complex Potato Genome Further Unveiled

The potato is one of the most important food crops worldwide. Improvements to its traits can therefore have a major impact. Reading the genome structure of the potato is extremely tricky, however, as a regular potato consists of four genomes, which makes it difficult to determine the position of the genes. The recent research applied a diploid real potato plant with only one genome, a so-called homozygote, which makes it easier to read and compare the DNA base sequence. This plant, Solyntus, was produced as part of Solynta’s hybrid potato breeding programme.   The genome…

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. …

A Better Estimate of the Net Yield of Seed Potatoes with Vision Techniques

Growers of seed potatoes would like to know on which part of their parcel the potatoes grow best, and how the location influences the size of the potatoes. But during harvesting, hundreds of potatoes will roll into the harvesting machine at the same time. Wageningen University & Research is working with Aeres Hogeschool, the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Green Campus and several growers to study how this yield can be measured by…

Better And Stronger Potatoes Using Hybrid Breeding

Potato is a hugely important crop worldwide, being eaten across the world and across cultures. Increased crop productivity and strength will help cater for the increasing global population, and also serve to reduce famine in challenging and impoverished environments. The potato breeding company Solynta in The Netherlands has successfully produced a hybrid breeding program for potatoes which will allow the rapid selection and turnover of favourable traits, traits which could help feed…

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