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Conference participants to be updated on blackleg management and other potato production issues

At a recent Potato Summit, Shawn Brenn, the Chair of the Ontario Potato Board, said that “simply from an import cost prospective, the 2022 crop will be the most expensive crop that we are ever going to grow on record”, writes potato specialist Dr. Eugenia Banks in her weekly email newsletter. 

Dr. Banks says the panelists representing other provinces agreed with Shawn Brenn. One said that the cost of production would increase by at least 20 %

“Shawn’s remarks lead me to believe that there is no margin of error for the 2022 potato crop. A proactive approach, trying to anticipate potential problems and following effective management practices, is non-negotiable this coming season,” Dr. Banks says.

She points out that potatoes are the hosts of many diseases, some starting when infected seed is planted. Blackleg soft rot is one of these early problems. Certified seed is a must, but certified seed can still have 0.5% of tubers infected with soft rot. The infection increases if seed cutters are not disinfested frequently. 

Ian Toth, a global expert on blackleg at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, will be one of the speakers at the 2022 Ontario Potato Conference. He will update participants on management strategies for blackleg. 

Julie Pasche, Professor at North Dakota State University will present on black dot, the “silent, early yield robber”. Homer Vander Zaag, Ontario potato producer, will share experiences with minimum tillage on potatoes.

Dr. Banks is the organizer of the Conference. She notes that the Conference will be a virtual event on March 2 and is supported by the Ontario Potato Board. Here is the link on the Potatoes in Canada website for free registration and the full program:

The 2022 Ontario Potato Field Day should be back on August 18, hosted by HJV Equipment in Alliston and supported by the Ontario Potato Board.

Source: Dr. Eugenia Banks, potato specialist and Conference organizer
Cover image: Potatoes in Canada magazine

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