Production/Agronomy

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. He is a key speaker at many potato conferences, and we are fortunate that over the years, he has given 4 outstanding presentations at the Ontario Potato Conference. Jiwan has made important contributions to clarify the role of calcium in potato production. 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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Soft rot in potatoes: Ten planting practices to reduce seed piece decay

“The soft rot bacterium that causes seed piece decay is very common, and it has an extensive host range. It survives in soil and surface waters. Soft rot in potatoes is caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum,” says Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board in Canada.

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UK food production to shrink as input inflation hits 24%

Double-digit cost inflation is hitting every single enterprise of British agriculture, casting doubt on the sector’s ability to maintain food supplies in the year ahead. Latest figures from the AF buying group shows that no farming enterprise has been able to avoid the impact of soaring costs, with cereals and oilseed producers seeing the greatest increases at 28%, followed by potatoes, dairy, and beef and lamb producers – all hit by inflation of more than 20%.

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Rabobank report: ‘The Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on global fertilizer markets’

Rabobank’s RaboResearch – Food & Agribusiness team released this research report recently. They say that higher fertilizer prices and/or a shortage of fertilizer supply resulting from the war in Ukraine will not have an immediate impact on food prices and/or food production. The first crop-growing regions to be ‘at risk’ are India and Latin America. India is partially out of danger, but Latin America is highly exposed.

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Opinion: ‘The future for potatoes: Opportunities and threats’

“Growing potatoes can sometimes feel like it’s a constant battle. From seed import and export restrictions following the UK’s departure from the European Union to a shrinking armoury of crop protection products and pandemic-induced changes in consumer demand. Despite these challenges, potatoes can still be a financially rewarding crop.” This, according to a recent article posted online by Bayer Crop Science in the UK.

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Biostimulant Bridgeway proven to combat heat stress in potatoes

Independent field trials have shown for a 4th year that Interagro’s amino acid + peptide biostimulant Bridgeway helps to combat the effects of heat stress in potato crops, enabling photosynthesis and tuberisation to be maintained. Importantly for growers it helped secure yield with significant increases and margin gains over untreated crops.

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