North America

New era in plant breeding: Ohalo’s ‘Boosted Breeding’ technology a game changer for global agriculture

Ohalo has unveiled Boosted Breeding™, a groundbreaking new technology set to revolutionize global agriculture. This innovative system allows plants to inherit the complete genetic composition from both parents, resulting in offspring with enhanced traits, such as increased disease resistance and drought tolerance. Early trials indicate potential yield gains of 50-100%+. The technology also enables the generation of genetically uniform seeds for crops traditionally not grown from seeds, like potatoes, offering a scalable, cost-effective alternative to vegetative propagation.

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How to make irrigation water as effective as rainwater: This new technology might be the answer

Rainmaker.Earth, a South African-based technology company, is revolutionizing agricultural irrigation by mimicking natural rainfall, improving water and soil quality. Their advanced oxidation process enhances water absorption, reduces runoff, and boosts soil health, benefiting high-demand crops like potatoes. This sustainable approach supports biodiversity, reduces chemical use, and promotes efficient water use. Rainmaker.Earth is expanding globally, offering farmers a sustainable, effective irrigation solution that enhances crop yield and quality.

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FMC’s Anthem Flex herbicide approved for use in potatoes

The EPA has recently approved a label expansion for Anthem Flex herbicide for use in potatoes. This approval allows growers to use the herbicide to control over 30 weed species, including pigweed and foxtail, with a longer residual effect. Anthem Flex is based on two effective active ingredients, providing extended control and reducing reliance on postemergent herbicides. This is significant as it supports easier, more consistent weed management for potato farmers.

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Dalhousie’s McCain Research Chair secures five more years of support from McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick

McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick have extended their support for Dalhousie University’s McCain Research Chair, reinforcing their commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security. Dr. Ahmad Al-Mallahi, holding this position since 2018, focuses on developing advanced agricultural technologies. His team has produced prototypes that optimize farm productivity and has recently been granted more support for another five years. This partnership aims to integrate cutting-edge technologies with regenerative farming practices.

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Glyphosate under fire: Scientists struggle to find effective alternatives, experts warn of unintended consequences

Amid concerns about glyphosate, the most used herbicide globally, scientists struggle to find safe, effective alternatives, according to a Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) article by Andrew Porterfield and Jon Entine. Their analysis reveals exaggerated health concerns and underscores glyphosate’s proven safety. However, existing substitutes lack efficacy, increasing costs and environmental risks. The authors argue for a balanced, research-driven approach to replacing glyphosate.

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Discover the vital role of potatoes in Culinary Medicine: A comprehensive webinar

Join Dr. Sabrina Falquier on June 5, 2024, for a webinar exploring the essential role of potatoes in Culinary Medicine. This webinar will demonstrate their versatility, nutritional benefits, and cultural importance through a live cooking demonstration. Aimed at health practitioners, the webinar will provide practical dietary guidance using potatoes to create nutrient-rich, plant-forward meals suited for diverse patient needs. Sign up to learn how to integrate America’s favorite vegetable into patient care.

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Potato emergence problems: A practical and detailed guide for growers

Potato growers struggling with poor plant emergence can benefit from a comprehensive guide created by esteemed North American specialists. This guide lists common issues, including bacterial/fungal diseases like soft rot and late blight, and physiological problems such as chilling injuries. It emphasizes the importance of using certified seeds, managing soil conditions, and handling seeds properly. Detailed descriptions, visual aids, and explanations are provided to aid in rapid problem identification and crop management improvement.

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Canada: ‘This is Edmonton’ podcast explores Alberta’s prolific potato industry

In 2022, Alberta emerged as Canada’s leading potato producer, contributing 21.8% to the national output with over 1.2 million tonnes, surpassing Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. A significant factor is a new large-scale potato processing facility by The Little Potato Company in Nisku Business Park. Details of Alberta’s growing prominence in potato production were discussed in the “This is Edmonton” podcast, highlighting regional agricultural developments.

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Would you like fries with that drought resistant potato?

Dr. Bourlaye Fofana and AAFC researchers are evaluating 384 diploid potato clones for drought resistance and maturity traits. They aim to enhance genetic diversity and resilience in potatoes. Focusing on diploids could lead to new varieties better adapted to climate changes. 50 promising clones will progress in the breeding process, potentially improving future potato crops in Canada. This research aims to create potatoes that are early or moderate-late maturing with drought resistance.

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Top five tips to keeping your harvester digging this fall

When autumn arrives, North American farmers prepare for the critical potato harvest, heavily reliant on the performance of their potato harvesters. This guide emphasizes the importance of maintaining these machines to prevent harvest disruptions. It covers preparation, daily maintenance, handling tough conditions, post-harvest care, and proper storage to ensure reliability and efficiency of harvesters. Authored by Darren Demers of Lockwood, the advice draws from extensive field experience, aiming to optimize harvester operations and extend their service life.

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Unlocking potato plant defenses: Calcium’s role in fighting bacterial wilt in potatoes

Researchers have found that calcium significantly boosts resistance in potatoes against bacterial wilt, a pathogen impacting global potato production with annual losses of $19 billion. The study demonstrates calcium’s potential as soil amendments to counter bacterial wilt. Researchers noted a correlation between calcium levels and disease resistance, suggesting new integrated disease management avenues with focus on calcium enrichment strategies. This could lead to advances in potato breeding and agricultural practices aimed at enhancing disease resistance.

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Potatoes will remain classified as a vegetable, not a grain, senator says

Following protests, potatoes will remain classified as a vegetable, not a grain. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)reported receiving assurances from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, addressing concerns of misrepresentation regarding the health benefits of potatoes. This decision comes as the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee prepares its recommendations, affirming potatoes’ nutritional value and versatility in diets.

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‘Nothing into something’: Little potatoes turn into big success for Canadian company

The Little Potato Company, established in 1996 in Edmonton by Angela Santiago and her father, has expanded significantly, inaugurating a new $39.5 million, 420,000-square-foot facility in Nisku, Alberta. This plant can distribute up to 125 million pounds of potatoes annually and features sustainable technologies like solar panels and water recycling. This development highlights Alberta’s flourishing agricultural sector.

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Navigating the green future: The Sustainability Consortium launches free Commodity mapping platform

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) has launched CommodityMap, a cloud-based platform that utilizes geospatial analytics to enhance sustainability in agricultural supply chains. This free, public tool provides insights, simplifies data collection with a proprietary model, and delivers science-based recommendations to improve supply chains. Supported by the Walmart Foundation, CommodityMap reflects TSC’s commitment to practical sustainability solutions, aiming to foster transparency and facilitate stakeholder collaboration towards a more sustainable consumer goods industry.

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A reduced fertilizer future? AAFC’s latest Plowdown Challenge explores manure’s potential in potato farming

When Scott Anderson and Roger Henry from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) launched the AAFC Plowdown Challenge last year, they aimed to engage farmers in guessing the yield of the Mountain Gem potato variety grown without fertilizer, using manure instead. After a successful year, they introduced a new twist with manure to potentially enhance soil benefits this year. The challenge demonstrates alternative sustainable farming by utilizing residual soil nutrients.

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IPC strengthens retail relations with new hire Matt Zapczynski in Northeast/Midwest

Matt Zapczynski has been appointed as the new Retail Promotion Director for the Northeast and Midwest regions by the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). With extensive experience in retail and wholesale within the produce sector, Zapczynski is celebrated for his dedication to continual learning and leadership skills. His background includes roles at The Giant Co. and Merchants Distributors LLC. Zapczynski brings a profound embrace of market challenges and customer engagement to his new role at IPC.

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Pioneering study highlights need for climate-resilient potato cultivars amidst global warming

A study by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, published in Frontiers in Plant Science, reveals significant challenges potato cultivation faces due to climate change. The research team underscores the importance of developing stress-tolerant potato varieties to maintain global food security amid rising temperatures, drought, and increased pest incidences. The study includes advancements in understanding potato plants’ molecular responses to environmental stress, critical for breeding resilient cultivars.

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Message on a spud: The rise of Potato Parcel and other startups that challenge conventional wisdom

An article by Veeksha Dechamma in Jumpstart discusses five unconventional startups that challenge traditional business ideas, highlighting Potato Parcel as an example. Founded in 2015, this company lets customers send messages on potatoes, an idea that gained traction after featuring on Shark Tank. Potato Parcel, now worth US$1.75 million, offers various customizable options and encourages recipients to plant the potatoes they receive.

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Global flavors, local tastes: The creative twist on McDonald’s fries around the world

Fast food in America is known for its consistency, but McDonald’s international outlets offer a delightful array of variations, particularly with French fries. McDonald’s adapts to global tastes, resulting in unique offerings like gravy-loaded fries in Australia and sweet corn-seasoned fries in the Philippines. With over 38,000 locations, the company ensures local flavors meet the iconic McDonald’s experience, making their fries not just famous but culturally versatile too.

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RPE exhibits for the first time at CPMA, ushering in a new era for potato retail solutions in Canada

RPE LLC., a North American potato industry leader, exhibited its extensive range of products at CPMA in Vancouver, including their Tasteful Selections and Farmer’s Promise brands. Highlighting its role as a year-round supplier of high-quality potatoes and onions, RPE showcased innovations such as Potatoes Your Way and a variety of packaging solutions emphasizing sustainability and local sourcing. The company also discussed expanding its Canadian supply capabilities, offering more diversity and efficiency in the supply chain to Canadian retailers.

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New study reveals the complex drivers and barriers affecting best management practices among potato producers

A comprehensive study from the University of Guelph and SunRISE Potato reveals motivators and barriers in adopting best management practices (BMPs) among Ontario’s potato producers. Enhanced by a System Thinking approach, the research indicates that personal values largely drive adoption, yet structural challenges like market access and stringent regulations hinder it. Insights from this study can inform targeted strategies to improve BMP adoption and enhance sustainable agriculture.

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Cutting-edge strategies in potato pest and disease defense: Insights from the 2024 Miller Research Potato Pest Management Meeting

The 2024 Miller Research Potato Pest Management Meeting offered crucial insights into combating pest and disease challenges in potato cultivation. With presentations on bacterial pathogens, innovative fungicidal treatments, diagnostic tools for disease identification, and the potential of chemigation, the meeting emphasized new strategies to enhance sustainability and productivity in the industry. Dr. Jeff Millar’s sessions highlighted emerging research and practical applications that could transform pest and disease management, ensuring the continuous improvement of the sector.

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Canadian potato landscape: Record stocks and regional disparities define the market

The United Potato Growers of Canada reported that potato holdings in April 2023 increased by 12.5% from the previous year, totaling 52,393,000 cwt. Stocks are higher than the five-year average, with significant amounts in western provinces, especially in processing. Quebec and Maritime regions saw lower stocks due to a rainy season. Processing sector stocks surged by 24% due to record production. Meanwhile, overall seed sector stocks are slightly down by 5.6%.

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Iconic figure in the potato processing industry, Davis Christensen, retires from Idaho Steel Products and Reyco Systems

Davis Christensen retires after transforming the potato processing industry with Idaho Steel Products and Reyco Systems. Instrumental in their success, he upheld a family tradition of excellence and forged strong customer ties. Highly regarded for his dedication and foresight, Christensen joins the Board and celebrates his son Jon’s ascent to Vice President. The company thanks Davis for his legacy and wishes him well in retirement.

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The subtle science of potassium application: Enhancing potato quality without compromising yield

Sarah Light and her team studied how potassium chloride application timing affects potatoes, finding that fall applications don’t increase plant chloride and may reduce chloride accumulation since it leaches below the root zone. Their research indicates no significant impact on nitrogen levels, yield, or tuber specific gravity, regardless of fertilizer timing. The study, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, contributes to optimizing fertilizer use in agriculture.

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