Production/Agronomy

Fact sheet: Managing blackleg in potatoes

This fact sheet on blackleg in potatoes was compiled by Hort Innovation and RM Consulting Group (RMCG) in Australia, and published online by AUSVEG. It provides information on management strategies of blackleg, the bacteria which commonly cause the disease, and what growers can do to prevent and manage it.

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Potato specialist: ‘Keep an eye out for signs of heat stress in your potato crops’

Potatoes can suffer from heat stress when temperatures rise. Heat stress severity depends on 1) how hot it gets, 2) the rate of temperature increase, 3) duration of extreme temperatures, and 4) water status of the crop and soil. Temperatures, at least 10°F above normal, that spike suddenly and last a long time under drought conditions, are the worst-case scenario, writes Associate Professor/Regional Specialist at Washington State University, Carrie Huffman Wohleb, in this article.

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How can we improve soil health in potato cropping systems?

Minimizing soil disturbance is one of the key tenets promoted to build soil health in agricultural systems. Many farmers across the country have adopted reduced and no-till systems to build soil carbon, a central component to healthy soils. The Soil Science Society of America’s (SSSA) August 1st Soils Matter blog explores options to improve soil health for crops that grow underground – like potatoes.

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Idaho farmers plant 25,000 fewer potato acres in 2022

Idaho farmers planted 25,000, fewer potato acres this year, an 8 percent decrease compared with 2021. Idaho farmers planted an estimated 290,000 acres of potatoes in 2022, down from 315,000 in 2021, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Many people expected spud acres in Idaho to be down this year but the 25,000-acre decrease came as a surprise to a lot of people.

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Idaho potato crop catching up after cold start

Idaho’s potato crop has caught up well after wet, cold weather during planting and emergence seasons delayed its start. As Brad Carlson reports for Capital Press, Declo-area grower Mark Darrington liked what he saw during recent test digs: tubers, in contrast to the “big crop of vines” of one variety that produced poorly in last year’s drought and early, prolonged high heat.

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Univ of Idaho researcher’s model finding warmer temps favoring more volunteer spuds this year

A University of Idaho researcher’s predictive model shows soil temperatures last winter didn’t get cold enough throughout most of the state to kill volunteer potatoes in fields and spuds in cull piles. In addition to posing a weedy nuisance, volunteer potatoes and tubers that sprout in cull piles can provide a reservoir for pests such as nematodes and crop diseases such as viruses and late blight. Phillip Wharton, an associate professor in U of I’s Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, developed the model.

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The ‘potato vine crusher’: New take on an old invention could help potato farmers crush the weed competition

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) tested the effectiveness of previously designed equipment, the ‘potato vine crusher’, on reducing common lambs quarter, redroot pigweed, barnyard grass, yellow foxtail and volunteer canola weeds that are found in potato crops. The results of the potato vine crusher’s ability to reduce weed pressure was impressive for Dr. McKenzie-Gopsill and his team at AAFC.

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PotatoEurope 2022: Direct farm sales, digitization in cultivation and soil erosion prevention in focus during event

On 7 and 8 September 2022, PotatoEurope, the outdoor exhibition for potato cultivation and machinery, will take place at the Rittergut Bockerode estate in Springe-Mittelrode near Hanover, Germany. The trade fair will see more than 180 exhibitors from across the entire potato chain. Special features will include a focus on direct farm sales, digitization in cultivation, and soil erosion prevention.

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Report: Sharp rise in input costs, increased holding levels impacting planted potato acreage in Canada

Earlier this month Statistics Canada released their first estimate of potato acreage in Canada as a result of data obtained from their survey of potato growers in Canada. The 2022 potato acreage is estimated at 385,128 acres. This is almost flat compared to 2021, only 242 acres more. Significant rises in input costs – fertilizer and fuel predominantly – coupled with increased holding levels in some of the Eastern provinces, impacted seeded acreage in 2022.

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Supplemental calcium application to mitigate heat stress: The importance of root zone calcium levels

Dr Jiwan Palta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, is a recognized world expert on calcium nutrition. Jiwan has made important contributions to clarify the role of calcium in potato production. Over the years, he has given 4 outstanding presentations at the Ontario Potato Conference. In this article, Dr Eugenia Banks at the Ontario Potato Board makes a short summary of some of these.

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Clamping down on PCN: New study to help farmers improve trap crop success

Improving the reliability of trap cropping to help farmers overcome potato cyst nematode (PCN) pressure, is being investigated as part of a new feasibility study, funded by Defra and Innovate UK. The project will look at ‘DeCyst solanaceous’ trap crops, which stimulate PCN to hatch at a different point in the rotation to when potatoes are planted. As a result, mature female PCN are prevented from completing their lifecycle, reducing the impact on potato crops.

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Canadian research: Using hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality more quickly, efficiently

Currently, the traditional way to find out whether or not a potato is good to go to market is basic and old-fashioned – cut it open and look to see if there are defects. A new research project at Lethbridge College aims to use cutting-edge near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality such as internal defects, greening and specific gravity more quickly and efficiently.

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Partnership on track to give Bangladeshi and Indonesian farmers blight-resistant GMO potatoes

Researchers will be testing genetically modified potatoes in Bangladesh and Indonesia this year in hopes of providing farmers with an alternative to spraying fungicides. Multiple confined field trials of GM late blight-resistant (LBR) potatoes will be conducted in both countries under a Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. Late blight disease is a serious problem in both countries, destroying 25 to 57 percent of the crop.

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Potato emergence problems: Checklist of common factors that reduce seed emergence

At times, potato growers may experience poor emergence of potato plants. There are number of reasons why potato plants may not emerge properly. Potato specialists Andy Robinson, Eugenia Banks and Steven B. Johnson have compiled a list of common problems that can cause poor potato emergence and stand. Utilizing this list can help growers more rapidly identify the cause and improve management of the crop and subsequent crops.

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Univ of Idaho research studies herbicide damage to potatoes caused by heavy rainfall

Farmers throughout southern and eastern Idaho were befuddled by the bizarre symptoms of crop damage that surfaced in their potato fields following a brief period of heavy rainfall in May of 2017. Pam Hutchinson, University of Idaho Extension potato cropping systems weed specialist, has studied the problem – heavy rains prior to potato emergence can move herbicides too deep into the soil, where they’re more accessible by shoots and tuber roots than usual, which could, in turn, cause crop damage.

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Canada: Lethbridge College potato research project focused on grower practices, sustainability

Traditionally, potato producers in Canada use the late fall to prep their potato beds for the following spring. The long-established process has its benefits, but also creates concerns, including loss of soil fertility. A new research project at Lethbridge College will work to determine what steps can be taken to ensure the best result for producers, while also moving towards environmentally sustainable agriculture practices.

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Syngenta Canada to distribute nitrogen-fixing biological

Syngenta Canada Inc. announced it has secured exclusive rights to distribute Azotic Technologies’ nitrogen-fixing biological, Envita, in Canada. Envita is registered for use on a wide range of crops, including but not limited to potatoes, corn, canola, cereals, and soybeans. Envita is a biofertility product featuring a food-grade strain of the bacteria Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus.

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HarvestEye to showcase innovative technology tool at World Potato Congress event

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is heading to the World Potato Congress at the end of May, as it continues to showcase on the global agricultural stage the actionable insights it places in the hands of growers. It comprises of a patented technology that provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over a whole field.

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Canadian company to deploy real-time plant nutrient sampling technology into Maritime provinces

A New Brunswick company on the cutting edge of the province’s agricultural industry has just closed a $300,000 pre-seed investment round. The money will help Picketa Systems deploy its instant plant nutrient sampling technology into Atlantic Canada’s potato industry. “We’re developing real-time plant tissue analysis to be able to instantly tell farmers what nutrient concentrations their plants are, and what to buy,” founder and CEO Hébert-Couturier told Huddle.

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Dry conditions not hindering potato development in Britain, but common scab might be an issue

Potato planting in Britain has got off to a good start this season, with the dry conditions in some areas not expected to affect emergence. Velcourt Advisory Services agronomist Patrick Levinge says soils have been left very dry by the lack of rain, but at this stage, it should not be having a negative impact on crop development. Common scab is likely to be an issue on susceptible varieties.

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WSU hires soil specialist as its first distinguished chair for potato agriculture

Launching Washington State University’s first distinguished program serving potato agriculture, Steve Culman will delve below the surface to keep a $7 billion Washington industry strong. Culman will address priorities in irrigated agriculture, including the need to better understand and protect the soil. Starting Aug. 1, 2022, Culman plans to meet with Washington potato growers, discuss their priorities, and identify short and long-term objectives.

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