International Potato Technology Expo Wraps Up 2022 Event

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After two days of conference sessions and trade show business, the 2022 International Potato Technology Expo in Charlottetown, P.E.I. has wrapped up. The two-day conference drew crowds from across the country marking the first large in-person Canadian potato industry conference in two years.

“It’s good to see growers and have that pressure of speaking in front of everybody. Honestly we get more questions in a face-to-face format than we did in a Zoom format” Aaron Mills, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), says in an interview at the show.

The second day of the conference featured presentations on:

  • John Cranfield from the University of Guelph presenting on Canadian agriculture in a post-pandemic world
  • Aaron Mills from AAFC presenting on crop diversity in potato rotations
  • Christine Noronha from AAFC presenting on scouting for wireworms
  • Kyra Stiles and Toban Stetson from the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Land presenting on soil health planning

Highlights from the second day include:

  • There’s starting to be more upward inflation pressure on food prices, so people are having to accommodate what they’re buying and maybe not buy what they’d prefer to due to high prices, Cranfield says.
  • Growers are getting paid more for the food they produce, but the rate of inflation for crop input prices is higher than the rate they’re selling at, Cranfield says.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic was a Black Swan event. The agriculture industry needs to become resilient to these Black Swan events and know how to pivot and cope to make it through difficult times, Cranfield says.
  • There’s a thing called food technology phobia where people flee from food technology they don’t understand such as GMO’s, Cranfield says. However, as people see benefits of the food they’re buying, such as with cellular agriculture, they’re becoming more willing to buy and eat it.
  • Longer is better when it comes to crop rotations, when you have a tighter rotation than you run into problems, Mills says.
  • It was found that more diversity in cover crops isn’t the best when it comes to weed control, Mills says.
  • For potato yields, there was found to be no statistical differences in Mills’ study groups of rotation crops.
  • It isn’t recommended to plant a crop into a field that has been a sod or hay crop, there should first be a wireworm suppressive crop planted before a cash crop, Noronha says.
  • You should place wireworm traps in the spring when soil is at 8 to 10 C and make sure to spread them out, don’t clump them all together in one part of the field, Noronha says.

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