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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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Soil Health Research Ongoing

Another crop year is upon us, and once again, potato producers are busy preparing. Pre-planting tasks abound – repairing and updating equipment, prepping the soil, checking and preparing seed, scheduling help. I’m not a potato grower, so I know I am missing myriad steps producers take. But one thing I do know – ensuring the health of your soil is paramount to healthy production and good yields. Some new research is underway…

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Andean Potatoes Take The World Stage

For the first time in its history, the World Potato Congress will take place in Latin America, the “birthplace” of the potato. From May 27 to 31 of this year, hundreds of people from around the world will descend on Cusco, Peru, to attend the 10th annual event, organized by the not-for-profit World Potato Congress Inc. The World Potato Congress is dedicated to supporting the cultivation and development of potato around the…

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Psyllids and Zebra Chip

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dan Johnson has been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops. The good news: So far in 2017, the number of potato psyllids has been lower than in previous years, both in Canada and the U.S. The better news: None of the…

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Fries Get Bum Rap

It happens constantly: news writers get all hot and sweaty whenever “bad food” news releases are dropped on their desks. Red meat is bad for you. Coffee is bad for you. Booze is bad for you. To be fair, that last one could be correct, but only if you overindulge. And isn’t that the crux? Everything in moderation, that’s the key. So it was bound to happen sooner or later. Potatoes, specifically…

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Spuds on Mars

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about launching manned missions to Mars with people who will colonize the planet. For example, Netherlands-based Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2031. Eldon Musk’s SpaceX mission to Mars has joined the race, although they’re short on details at this point. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is on a journey to Mars…

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Imidacloprid Uncertainty

UPDATE:  The consultation period has been extended. Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions by 23 March 2017. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard by now that Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to phase out all agricultural uses of imidacloprid over three to five years. The proposed phase out comes as a result of a re-evaluation of imidacloprid by the PMRA,…

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Learning From Experience

Weather has always been in the forefront of human consciousness – man is aware of the surrounding climate almost every minute of every day. When we get up, we look outside to “see what it’s doing” weather-wise. We check weather reports at breakfast so we know what to wear when we step outside the door. We study long-term forecasts to find out what the weather will be like for the week. Whether…

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Leveraging Social Media in Agriculture

Whether social media is used for personal or business, it has and will continue to have a tremendous impact on society. It’s not only revolutionized the way we communicate with friends, family and peers, but it has increased the speed of conversation dramatically. It’s also a huge factor in modernizing a business’s connection with their current and prospective customers. Social media is a series of community-building networks — where we start and…

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Promoting Knowledge in the Produce Aisle

As the editor of Spud Smart, I peruse all kinds of potato-related information every day. I see a lot of interesting stories, and something I came across not too long ago got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if the people manning the produce aisle in my local supermarket knew more about potatoes? It’s an idea that the U.S. Potato Board has taken to heart, with a program it has introduced to…

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