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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…

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…

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…

Eye On The Nation

SPRING 2019 MANITOBA Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association As I write this snapshot of what I am seeing in the Manitoba potato world, both Simplot Canada and McCain Foods are busy with capital projects. Simplot is on track with the construction of a new plant adjacent to their Portage location doubling their capacity and adding to their ability to produce specialty products. McCain is near the end of a…

Eye On The Nation

New Brunswick The 2018 growing season in New Brunswick is complete and will be remembered as one of the most challenging in the last 10 years or more. The challenging growing season in New Brunswick was further exacerbated by an early deep penetrating frost and subsequent excessive moisture during the harvest season.  The September frosts capped yields early and wet conditions during the harvest posed several challenges for growers as they attempted…

From our Desk

Mental Health in Agriculture: It Starts With Me

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Socrates There is nothing quite like the pain of witnessing someone that you love suffer and the feeling of powerlessness in making the mental anguish of another disappear. But here’s a little secret. No one always has it together. Every life is laced with adversity, sadness and grief. The belief that we need to manage on our own is changing,…

Investments Key at Manitoba’s Beaver Creek Farms

In the minds of some farmers, you need to spend money to make money growing potatoes these days. You could say Stan and Don Wiebe, co-owners of Manitoba’s Beaver Creek Farms, fall in that category. The two brothers have invested heavily in their potato operation over the years, installing costly tile drainage and irrigation systems in fields throughout their farm while doing their best to keep up with the latest in farm…

How to Plan Today to Manage PVY

Although the transmission and incidence of Potato virus Y in Canadian potato crops has declined dramatically over the past eight years, new threats to quality and yield are on the horizon in the form of necrosis-causing novel strains. How can Canadian growers manage PVY on their farms today, and how do they fight these latest strains? For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from industry experts Mathuresh Singh, director of Agricultural…

Expansion Key for Success for New Brunswick Potato Grower

Michel Levesque, who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick’s fertile potato belt, was only 24 when he began his own potato operation in Saint-Andre, N.B. “I started by myself in 1991. My father had a farm and he sold it to my two brothers. I wanted to still continue farming, so I bought a farm a couple of miles away from the homestead farm,” says Levesque, who’s 52. Levesque admits the…

From our Desk

We’re All In It Together

Hello, Potato Producers! I’m so happy to be at Spud Smart’s helm once again, and to be working with you, Canada’s potato industry stakeholders. In many provinces, this past growing season has been challenging, with prevailing hot, dry conditions for some and rains coming too late for others. Despite these challenging conditions, the September estimate for the average yield of this year’s crop is around 302 hundredweight per acre, which is close to…

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