AgronomySpud-based research taking root at University of Lethbridge

Spud-based research taking root at University of Lethbridge


[deck]Potatoes inspire millions of dollars of investment in research and infrastructure in southern Alberta.[/deck]

Lab-based research gets underway Jan. 16 at the University of Lethbridge for the school’s new research chair in potato science.

Dmytro Yevtushenk​o is a plant biologist who has studied potatoes for more than 25 years. He took up the new research chair position last January.

“It’s a pleasure to work with potatoes. There’s so much information out there about potatoes,” said Yevtushenk​o.

His first year was spent crafting new courses that will train the university’s students in aspects of potato science. The hope from industry stakeholders is that it will entice new people into the business.

“We have a shortage of people in the agriculture industry. And our task, our purpose, is to prepare employees, new scientists,” said Yevtushenko.

The research chair and his program are funded by Cavendish, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), along with other industry leaders such as McCain Foods and Lamb Weston.

“[The program] will develop specific potato professionals,” said Lee Gleim, the director of operations for Cavendish Farms in Lethbridge.

Gleim said the hope is that this research program will help move western potato research up to a level that parallels what is already seen in other parts of the country.

“A lot of the potato research done in Canada today is done on the eastern side of Canada. We wanted something specific to southern Alberta. And being involved in his project has allowed us to do that. It’s going to give us specific potato research based on the local geographical region,” Gleim said.

Yevtushenk​o has his first graduate student starting work Jan. 16 and they will be studying the physiological age of seed potatoes. The benefit being that if they can more accurately hone the aging of seed potatoes, they can be more efficiently grown because crops will sprout and germinate at the same time.

The team will also be looking at various potato diseases.

Yevtushenk​o estimates that he will have roughly a dozen research assistants working under him by the time the project is at full capacity.

Source: CBC


Trending This Week

Covering the Bases with Cover Crops

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Another Season’s Promise”, a regular column in Spud Smart on potato agronomy. The name comes a lyric from...

Finally: A New (Desperately Needed) Solution for Potato Wart?

If you’re a potato producer who has never laid awake in the middle of the night worrying about potato wart, count yourself lucky. Potato...
Potatoes in storage

There’s Still Lots of Storage Season Left to Go…

Bad news first. It’s been a fairly challenging storage season so far in some regions with many producers reporting real difficulties in getting their...

Loving the Challenges of Growing Potatoes

February is my favourite month of the year because it’s Potato Lovers Month, which has made me think about what exactly I love about...

Canadian Farm Sector Income Expected to Reach New Records

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has completed its farm income forecast for 2023 and 2024, with results showing that overall Canadian farm income is expected...