Kevin MacIsaac, who has been General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada since October 1, 2011 announced he will be retiring this fall. MacIsaac’s diversified career over a 42 year timespan includes dedicated service as an extension agronomist, farmer, industry organizer and a knowledgeable and eloquent advocate. UPGC hopes to have a replacement for the position by this fall and is actively seeking applications for the GM position at this time.
As MountainKing readies for its fall harvest, early tests from its fields in Colorado’s San Luis Valley offer encouraging signs for several of the brand’s gourmet varieties including its yellow-flesh varietals. “The 2021 crop outlook is very bright,” says Andreas Trettin, director of marketing for MountainKing Potatoes. “The quality is extraordinary,” he says.
Mary Brown’s is showing it’s buds with those who make spuds, with a new campaign that champions Manitoba farmers. The QSR’s campaign draws attention to a fourth generation potato farmer – and Mary Brown’s supplier – Lyndon Thiessen and the love and care he puts into his crops.
BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions has received registration from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for Veltyma Fungicide. Veltyma contains the unique active ingredient Revysol that provides broader, stronger, and longer control against various diseases. Veltyma is registered for use on multiple crops including potatoes, corn, wheat and soybeans.
Double L, a prominent manufacturer of farm equipment in the Intermountain West, announced late last week that it has formally concluded its ownership and relationship with the company’s prior management team and Board of Directors. SRM Holding has completed the buyout. The Board of Directors has appointed Grant R. Flaharty as CEO, and he has already installed a new management team in Idaho.
Sizing looks to be an issue in new crop potatoes from Idaho this season. Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID says it’s been in new crop now for just under three weeks. “We started about a week later than normal,” he told Astrid Van Den Broek of FreshPlaza. “The heat we experienced this summer just delayed things. We were hoping to get a little bit more size out of the potatoes so we waited a week. But even with that, the size and the yields weren’t there.”
The fight to get U.S. fresh potatoes into all of Mexico continues amid signs that the Mexican potato industry is shifting tactics to deflect imports, Kam Quarles told attendees at the Idaho Grower Shippers Association 93rd annual convention on Sept. 3. Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, also updated attendees on immigration reform, infrastructure legislation, and possible strategies by Democrats to get beyond a very narrow majority in Congress to advance their agenda.
Producers across Western Canada are optimistic they can still produce a good crop this fall if the weather co-operates, reports Alex McCuaig for The Western Producer. It’s been a reversal of fortunes for Canada’s potato growers this year as last year’s dry season in the East moves west. Not all Manitoba growers have escaped the heat that has plagued producers across the West, especially those farming on dryland.
Tasteful Selections recently announced the limited launch of its new 100-percent plastic-free, recyclable and compostable packaging in the US. “This new paper packaging with PaperLock™ technology is a major step forward in sustainable packaging. It offers light protection and natural absorption characteristics that protect our potatoes and help keep plastic out of the waste stream,” said Tim Huffcutt, vice-president, sales and marketing operations.
Agricultural specialists and growers in Maine are predicting a higher quantity and quality of potato crop than was produced in 2020, due to the less severe weather this summer. As Melissa Lizotte reports for Bangor Daily News, last year, severe drought conditions throughout Aroostook County resulted in yields of 20 percent less than the 2019 crop. But despite days of record heat this summer, the overall weather pattern has been much more ideal for the growing season.
Greentronics is a company based in Ontario, Canada that designs and manufactures electronic control products for use in agriculture. The company recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. According to Greentronics founder and owner, Bill Menkveld, the product provides potato growers with an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar.
Prepping your potatoes for storage depends on smart harvesting and effective cleaning. Engineers at Lockwood Manufacturing in the US say everyone knows digging too warm, too cold and too wet are all bad news for long-term storage, as is allowing your tubers to drop and bruise during harvest. However, they point out that putting your potatoes into storage in less than clean condition is just as costly in the long run. New cleaning options exist.
Weather patterns have continued to influence the outlook for the Canadian potato crop the past couple of weeks, says Kevin MacIsaac in the latest report issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). He says Eastern Canada (particularly Prince Edward Island) has received record amounts of rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The province of Manitoba has also received some rainfall over the past two weeks. High temperatures have broken in Alberta, but it still remains dry. MacIsaac summarizes how the crop looks at this time.
Colorado’s San Luis Valley produces more fresh potatoes than anywhere in the country outside of Idaho, and farmers there are welcoming a ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico that clears the way for American potatoes to be sold in that country. But, as Nell London reports for Colorado Potato Radio, they’re also skeptical because the court decision is just the latest round in a trade dispute that has dragged on for nearly two decades.
The transition from old crop to new crop potatoes is taking place right now, and two potato industry observers report that expected reduced fresh shipments during the 2021-22 marketing year should provide a firm market. Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America For the 2020-21 season, Klompien said that fresh potato pricing seems to be finding stable footing this fall.
Heat and dryness have been the story of the summer this year in southern Idaho. With record heat, crops — including Idaho’s most famous crop — have seen effects in numerous ways, reports Nicholas Snider for KMVT. “I’m not saying that Idaho won’t have any of the bigger potatoes they’re famous for,” says Sean Ellis, a spokesman for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. “There’s just not going to be as many this year.”
Recently released EPA draft Biological Evaluations find three widely used insecticides are “likely to adversely affect” (LAA) plants and animals that are considered endangered. Each of the three insecticides are a neonicotinoid used on a variety of crops, turf, and ornamentals, among other residential and commercial indoor and outdoor uses. Imidacloprid is commonly applied as a seed treatment and is a widely used insecticide in North America. The EPA estimates imidacloprid is applied to 65% of Michigan’s potato acres.
With drought a persistent problem in the Southwest, Hopi/Tewa seed keeper Valerie Nuvayestewa has eagerly joined the effort to bring back an Indigenous superfood that her ancestors cultivated for 11,000 years. The ‘Four Corners Potato’ can grow under dry conditions and provides triple the protein and twice the calcium of red organic potatoes. It is known scientifically as the Solanum jamesii.
The toll that hot dry weather took on the Red River Valley 2021 potato crop won’t be visible until harvest begins in a few weeks, but it’s already clear it has affected yields and quality. “We have a lot of physiological disorders,” said Gary Secor, North Dakota State University plant pathologist. Secor was one of several NDSU and University of Minnesota researchers who spoke on Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association field day near Larimore.
The 2021 Potato Festival will be Saturday, September 11 at Chapman Park in Monte Vista. There is another exciting opportunity available at the Potato Festival to those who want an in-depth look at the potato industry. Hosted by the Executive Director of Colorado Potatoes, Jim Ehrlich, this tour will visit the San Luis Valley Research Center and a local grower’s field. Passengers will get to talk directly with growers and researchers.
Heat and Control, Inc., world renowned equipment manufacturer and food/non-food processing industry supplier, is constructing a new facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The new site will expand support for the North American manufacturing industry and will meet the increased needs of pre-sale and after-market needs, including product/equipment testing, demonstrations, service support, and training.
Advanced Coating Solutions, headquartered in Kirkland, WA in the US produces a thin insulation coating material that works by blocking heat transfer. Instead of using mass to work as a heat sink and absorb heat (fiberglass), the thin insulation coating works like the ‘Low E’ window concept, where thin oxide coatings diffuse infrared radiation.
AgAnalytics company CropX and PepsiCo México expand their collaboration to help PepsiCo’s Mexican potato farmers reduce water and fertilizer consumption, improve soil health, lower greenhouse emissions and improve crop yields. By collaborating with CropX, PepsiCo can now help growers in Latin America improve farm input application efficiency and become environmentally sustainable.
Maine potato farmers might have a quicker way to protect their crops from dangerous diseases, thanks to a passionate dog trainer and her charges. When she first heard that no one had ever taught dogs to detect potato diseases through careful, odor-based training, Sanford native Andrea Parish decided to become the first to do it. Her dogs can stiff and detect all three strains of potato virus Y as well as bacterial ring rot.
Massive losses in the United States’ number one vegetable crop, potatoes, aren’t only due to pests or drought, they’re due to damage in the handling and storage of potatoes over the months of storage on their way to the supermarket as fresh potatoes or as potato chips or fries. A biochemistry approach that seeks to identify genetic characteristics of the wound healing process in potatoes has had success in a project led by Dylan Kosma, a biochemist in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Randy Hardy, of Oakley, is not alone among Idaho farmers in his assessment that the potato crop he’ll soon harvest will be the worst of his career. Spud farmers conducting test digs or early harvest are uprooting plants supporting no tubers. Where there are spuds, there are fewer than normal, and most of the tubers are undersized and misshapen.