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2021 Ontario Potato Webinars: Soft rot and blackleg, gibberellic acid, herbicide injury and more on the menu

For many years, March has been “Ontario Potato Conference month”, but this year it will be “Potato Webinars month”, hosted and presented on March 4.  “I am hoping that this will be the only year,” says the organizer, Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. 

Dr Banks says the 2021 Ontario Potato Webinars are less than a month away, and registrations are coming in daily.  “The four speakers will discuss current topics, very important for potato growers, that should help them to enhance their production practices,” she says.

Registration is free for anyone interested to participate – please follow this link The Ontario Potato Webinars are presented by the Ontario Potato Board and hosted by Potatoes in Canada magazine.


March 4, 2021
Morning Program starts at 11:00am EST
Afternoon Program starts at 1:00pm EST

11:00 am – Steve Johnson, University of Maine.
Expect Soft Rot and Blackleg to Increase!
11:30 am – Mark VanOostrum: WD Potato Ltd.
Finally, let’s talk about Gibberellic Acid in Ontario.
1:00 pm – Ryan Barrett: Research Coordinator. PEI Potato Board
Exploring the advantages of cover cropping in potato

1:30 pm – Andrew Robinson: North Dakota State University
Symptoms of Herbicide Injury in Potatoes

Abstracts of Speakers’ Presentations

Steve Johnson, Potato Specialist, University of Maine

Expect Soft Rot and Blackleg to Increase!
Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium parmentieri can cause blackleg and soft rot in potatoes and have been on the forefront of new potato diseases over the past few years. Provided will be up-to-date information on what we know about the two pathogens and what the differences and similarities between the two and how this may lead to different approaches to control. The relative abundance of the two populations has been changing, leading to different field symptoms being observed. The dynamics of co-infection will be introduced and discussed.

Mark VanOostrumm Supply Manager W.D.Potato Ltd. Beeton, ON

Finally, let’s talk about Gibberellic Acid in Ontario
The customer is always right…Right? In the ever-changing market of chip potatoes, our customers are finding some of our potatoes don’t fit in the bag. Potato chip bag sizes have been reduced and big spuds have caused significant issues in conveying, slicing and especially packaging. Tuber set can vary from season to season due to numerous factors, but varieties with consistent, large runs need to be managed differently. We have done many things to manage set and size, but not one of these has been effective. In my presentation I will discuss our research using gibberellic acid on chipping varieties in Ontario. Early indications from our research suggest using GA on the variety Waneta can be very effective on improving set and size.

Ryan Barrett. Research Coordinator. PEI Potato Board

Exploring the advantages of cover cropping in potato rotations
Potato growers are increasingly interested in examining the effect that different rotation crops and cover crops have on soil health, disease and pest suppression and following potato crops. In Prince Edward Island, Ryan Barrett has been working with potato growers and other research partners to investigate the impact of different rotation crop species, either as a full-season soil-building crop or as a fall cover crop in the year before potatoes are planted. His presentation will address impact of these crops on Verticillium and root lesion nematode populations, soil chemistry and soil health metrics, and marketable yields from a variety of in-field research trials.

Andrew Robinson. Extension Potato Agronomist at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota.

Symptoms of Herbicide Injury in Potatoes
The number of herbicide injury problems in potato are more common place. Injury from herbicides can be a result of soil carryover, herbicide residues in seed, or exposure of plants to herbicides. The objective of this presentation is to demonstrate various herbicide injury symptoms. Soil carryover symptoms can include wide areas in the field with symptoms, slow emergence of plants, roots that are pruned or brown or bottle brushed, stunting of plants once emerged, shortened stolons, early tuber set or malformed tubers. Symptoms of residues in seed include erratic and slow emergence, no dominate stem, malformed leaves, enlarged stems, shortened internodes, or unnatural growth. Symptoms of in-season exposure can be manifested as misshapen leaves, yellowing of leaves, elongated leaflets and cracking or malformed tubers.

Contact: Eugenia Banks – [email protected]
Photo: Gibberellic acid applied to potatoes on the left, control on the right


Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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