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Tuber Talk

Potato Wart

Most commercial potato growers in Canada know that if potato wart is detected in a field where potatoes are grown, the economic consequences can be quite serious. Some experts regard potato wart as the most important worldwide quarantine pathogen of potato. Potato wart also goes by a number of other names, such as black wart of potato, cauliflower disease, potato tumor, potato cancer, potato canker and warty disease. It’s believed the disease…

Tuber Talk

Boosting Fertility Through Testing

New advances in tissue analysis of potato crops could give growers an early warning of nutrient deficits that could be impinging on yield potential — as well as allow them sufficient time to take remedial action, according to Jez Wardman, a plant nutrition specialist at fertilizer company Yara UK. “While soil analysis can help identify potential issues and plan fertilizer programs,” he says, “petiole or leaf tissue analysis is a far more…

Tuber Talk

Promoting Potatoes in New Zealand and South Africa

In the past two issues of Spud Smart, we focused on potato promotion initiatives developed by industry groups in the United Kingdom and the United States. We conclude our international potato marketing series with a look at some of the inventive promotional activities and strategies rolled out by potato industry organizations in New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand Potatoes New Zealand is the official organization representing the 200 potato growers in…

Tuber Talk

Promoting Potatoes — The American Way

The United States Potato Board was created in 1971, the result of a concerted effort by the American potato industry to spur consumer demand. Currently, the USPB represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers in the United States, and nearly 100 members from across the country serve on the board. The initial focus of the organization was to overcome negative public perceptions about the food value of potatoes, while subsequent strategies…

Tuber Talk

Promoting Potatoes — British Style

Canadian-born writer Nathaniel Branden once wrote: “In a world in which the total of human knowledge is doubling about every 10 years, our security can rest only on our ability to learn from others.” These words of wisdom could be considered quite applicable when it comes to potato marketing in these times of stagnant or dwindling potato demand in North America. A look at some of innovative promotional ideas and activities implemented…

Tuber Talk

Killing Weeds with Less

Successful weed management is one of the cornerstones of successful commercial potato production, particularly at the start of each growing season. Controlling weeds in potato crops doesn’t appear to be getting any easier—many Canadian growers and researchers alike agree this seems to be more of a challenge with each passing year. Weeds compete directly with potato plants for the basic natural elements required for growth, namely light, water and nutrients, and can…

Tuber Talk

Tackling Acrylamide

The term “acrylamide” has been showing up in mass media reports since 2002. Dietary acrylamide has become an area of concern for consumers, the food industry and regulators due to its carcinogenic potential for humans. What is acrylamide, how did it become such a hot topic of discussion, and are there any solutions for the supposed health risks that it poses? Research The potato industry has reason to be concerned about acrylamide. In…

Tuber Talk

Chemical Pest Control Products: Resistance Update

Stakeholders in the potato industry, from members of the scientific community to manufacturers of crop protectants and growers, understand that undesirable crop pests can develop resistance to the chemical pest control products used to control them. Resistance is a phenomenon that occurs when pest populations—insects, diseases, weeds and nematodes—are repeatedly exposed to the same active ingredient. As resistance develops in a particular pest population, a chemical pest control product becomes ineffective and…

Tuber Talk

Viruses Causing Tuber Necrosis, Part II: PMTV and TRV

Commercial potato growers are aware of the serious threat posed by two well- known pathogens,  potato mop-top virus (PMTV) and tobacco rattle virus (TRV). According to Huimin Xu, research scientist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Charlottetown and an expert on PMTV and TRV, these pathogens can cause potato tuber necrosis of sensitive potato varieties (the brown coloured streaking is necrosis of the potato flesh and is generally known as spraing)….

Tuber Talk

Combined approaches for combating Potato Virus Y

It would be difficult to find any commercial potato grower in Canada who is not aware that the disease known most commonly as “PVY” is a serious threat to the successful production of an acceptable seed lot. Potato virus Y has a wide host range, and not only does it affect plants in more than nine different families, but the disease can be caused by a great number of different strain types….

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