PAA Meeting in P.E.I. to Talk About the Latest in Potato Research

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Researchers and members of the potato industry from across North America are in Charlottetown, P.E.I. for the Potato Association of America (PAA) annual meeting this week. The conference kicked off on July 23 with an opening reception and runs until July 28.

“The annual meeting is a great opportunity once a year for all of the researchers to get together and share the latest research. So we have talks that range from every aspect,” Jeff Miller, PAA president and president and CEO of Miller Research, says in an interview.

The week includes potato researchers presenting their latest research on breeding and genetics, extension/production/management, and plant protection/physiology, while also including networking opportunities and different PAA sub-group meetings.

Highlights from the first full day of programming on Monday, July 24 include:

  • A 36 per cent reduction in soil movement was noted by using fall cover crops in a Prince Edward Island study, Ryan Barrett, research and agronomy specialist with the P.E.I. Potato Board, says
    • There wasn’t a noted in change in organic matter, but Barrett isn’t focusing on this as he wants to study it more long term (not over four years as this study was)
    • Biggest difference was noted in yield, most of the difference in the yield was in total yield not marketable yield — there was a big jump, Barrett says
  • In one field, variable rate seeding based on management zones led to higher potato yields, Aitazaz Farooque, an associate professor and industry research chair for precision agriculture in the faculty of sustainable design engineering at the University of P.E.I., says
  • Mark Pavek, professor in the department of horticulture at Washington State University, says you should be planting your potato rows east to west, but there are some instances when you can’t such as field layout and slope
  • Kasia Duellman, the University of Idaho seed potato specialist, found in a study that the idea of fludioxonil being a low chance of resistance for some funguses should be revisited
  • Preliminary research is showing that there is a correlation between field location and previous insecticide application for Colorado potato beetle insecticide resistance, Emma Terris says
  • In Trenton Berrian’s research he found that if you use a foliar application for thiamin treatment against common scab it doesn’t work, but if you drench soil in it it does help in disease suppression
  • If we’re going to grow enough potatoes to feed the future world population, yields are going to have to be increased substantially, Mike Thornton, a professor at the University of Idaho, says
  • Potato yields in P.E.I. have stagnated over the past decade, Judith Nyiraneza, research scientist in nutrient management and soil health with AAFC Living Lab – Atlantic, says
    • Higher nitrate leaching in soil happened with red clover in Nyiraneza’s research than with Timothy forage crops
    • When you have a good amount of carbon in the system you will see improved soil health even with nitrate leaching, she says. There was no impact made on potato yield during the six year study though
    • There were signs of soil improvement using shallow tillage over a moldboard plow in one growing season, Nyiraneza says
  • The number of species in the soil microbiome varies depending on location with there not being a lot of regional similarities either though, Kenneth Frost, plant pathologist with Oregon State University, says
    • By manipulating soil microbial function, Frost thinks we can increase potato productivity
  • In Elizabeth Stockdale’s research from the United Kingdom, she found that there wasn’t one specific thing that caused higher yields for potatoes
    • Soil health recovery in fields following potatoes is just as important as what you do before because it can impact future potato crops in that field, Stockdale says
    • Important to get living roots into the soil after potato production as fast as possible — are more important to have roots following potatoes than before, she says

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