Production/Agronomy

Dry weather will require weed kill re-think for Scottish potato farmers

Managing weed control programmes in potatoes could be tricky this year, given the continued dry weather. Dry weather can hamper the activity of residual herbicides, while a lack of soil moisture will also slow the emergence of many key problem weeds until later in the season. However, some of the sneakier ones may grow from depth earlier, unimpeded by a dry and disrupted herbicide layer. This means growers are going to have to choose a robust post-emergence herbicide to tackle weeds when they emerge, said Craig Chisholm, field technical manager for Corteva Agriscience.

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US potato farmers reduce planting as demand plummets during pandemic

Potato farmers in the US plan to plant fewer spuds this year after demand for America’s most popular vegetable has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. Early estimates show potato acres down about 10 percent, said Blair Richardson, CEO of Denver-based Potatoes USA, a potato marketing organization. But even with that reduction, industry leaders fear farmers will be unable to sell all their harvest come fall. More than $1 billion worth of potatoes is “backed up” in the processing system, Those are potatoes processors would have sold this spring, but couldn’t.

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Now in Eastern Canada: Unique eco-friendly hydrogel that helps maintain soil moisture, reduces watering frequency

Éco+ is proud to announce the addition of a revolutionary new hydrogel, Stockosorb 660, to its product line.The Stockosorb 660 hydrogel is a unique product that is mixed with fertilizer and put in-furrow to help maintain moisture in irrigation and dryland crops such as potato. Thanks to this technology, a single Stockosorb660 crystal can absorb up to 70 to 120 times its weight in water, which can reduce the watering frequency by up to 50%.

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Syngenta develops new nematicide and fungicide technology platform

Syngenta unveiled the new TYMIRIUM™ technology platform brand this week. In a press release, the company says it is a novel nematicide and fungicide technology under development for both seed- and soil-applied uses. Based on the active ingredient cyclobutrifluram, Syngenta says TYMIRIUM™ technology provides long-lasting protection against a broad spectrum of nematode pests and diseases across all major crops and geographies.

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Bayer launches new insecticide for Canadian potato growers

Bayer announced the registration of the active ingredient, tetraniliprole, which will be launched commercially in the registered end use product Vayego insecticide. For potato growers, the insecticide can be used to control Colorado potato beetles, potato flea beetles and European corn borer.

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New planters in AVR Ceres series for planting 2 to 4 rows

This month, producer of potato cultivation machines, AVR will be introducing no less than three new planters: the Ceres 200M, Ceres 200H, and Ceres 440. The highlight of the Ceres 440 is undoubtedly its AVR Connect system, which unites all planting information and remote parameters in one digital platform. Get ready for the next chapter in AVR’s precision farming story.

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An industry in need: Canadian Federation of Agriculture reaches out to govt in heartfelt video message

In a heartfelt message titled “An Urgent Message from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture”, the CFA reaches out to the federal government in the country, voicing the hardships that many farmers experience at this time. In the opening lines, it is said: This year, Canadian farmers are facing some very challenging times and they need your help. Farmers in Canada grow food not only for Canadians, but for people all over the world. It urges Canadians to visit www.supportcanadianfood.ca.

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Webinar on the diversified use of potato apical cuttings now online

Earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc (WPC) hosted another edition of its webinars, featuring Dr. Monica Parker. She presented on “Diversified Use of Apical Cuttings to Boost Potato Seed Systems“. The webinar is now available on YouTube. It can also be viewed below, or on the WPC website here, where links are available to previous webinars as well.

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Too much, too long: Canada’s Manitoba potato growers reach breaking point

Some potato growers in Manitoba have reached a breaking point and not just because of COVID-19. Manitoba’s potato industry has been suffering for more than 18 months. There was a difficult harvest in 2018, a much worse harvest in 2019, potatoes rotting in storage this winter and production cuts this spring. The personal stress has been building and a number of producers are questioning why they continue to grow potatoes.

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Trial shows best nematicide strategy for PCN in potatoes

A sequences approach using a liquid nematicide with a new mode of action along with an existing granular product is the best approach for tackling potato cyst nematode, according to trials carried out by specialist potato agronomy group Produce Solutions. The company has spent three years testing the nematicide in Shropshire, using it alone and in sequence with granular nematicides at different rates. The firm now has a clearer view on its place in potato cyst nematode strategies and the costs involved.

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What lies beneath: WSU team studies three-way interaction between potatoes, powdery scab, and mop top virus

A team of Washington State University scientists are taking on a destructive complex of diseases affecting valuable potato crops. Over the last few years Washington’s potato industry has encountered a new threat: Potato mop top virus, a pathogen that lives in soil and attacks the tuber, darkening the flesh and making potatoes unsellable. Mop top is spread by a protist, a fungus-like microorganism, that causes a disease called powdery scab which blemishes valuable tubers as it infects neighboring plants.

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COVID-19 puts the brakes on potato acres as McCain and Simplot scale down in Canada’s Manitoba province

Manitoba’s potato acres will take a hit this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and plummeting demand. According to multiple industry sources, McCain Foods has dropped 16 per cent of acres from its contracts with Canada’s Manitoba farmers, while Simplot has also made smaller cuts from its agreements. Why it matters: As demands shrinks, less processing potatoes will go into the ground this year, as well as sending up a cloud of uncertainty for seed potato growers.

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Potato surplus and halted processing impacts new Alberta crops

The surplus of potatoes waiting in storage in Alberta due to COVID-19 is a major issue. Officials say that surplus is now impacting future crops. Growers have about a 25 per cent cutback on their 2020 acres. There’s going to be about 100,000 tonnes in Alberta that have no home. The Potato Growers of Alberta projects the loss to producers at around $26 million, with another $5 to $6 million loss to seed growers alone.

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‘The European potato world is upside down’: NEPG paints a dark picture of the current and future European situation

The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says that the foodservice demand for potato products in Europe has dropped by 50 to 60%, and the export markets have lost its potential as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It says the global potato processing industry has reduced production capacity everywhere. More than 2 million tons of raw product will most likely not be processed in Europe. This is the first time in recent history that processors have to back down on contracts. The world is upside down, the NEPG says in its press release

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Under shadow of COVID-19, Prince Edward Island potato growers face uncertain season

Some of Canada’s Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato farmers have already begun planting this year’s crop. But even before most potatoes are in the ground, many producers are facing an uncertain future for their product, which could affect decisions they make around what to plant this spring, along with the money they’re able to make once potatoes have been harvested. An overall drop in potato acres planted this season is expected, and a drop in revenues.

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Potato crop in danger after months of extreme weather in Northern Ireland

Rain is urgently needed to save this season’s local potato crop, an industry figure has warned. Stuart Meredith, an agronomist with Wilson’s Country potato firm, said a particularly wet autumn, followed by one of the driest springs on record, had caused severe problems that had led to eight months of “absolute extremes for growers”. The east of Northern Ireland has been worst affected by the lack of rain.

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Focus on biostimulants: Keep potato crops stress free with ‘Bridgeway’

Keeping potato crops stress free is not an easy job for growers, particularly when one considers the key growth periods of June through to August are also potentially some of the most stressful for the crop, with temperature and drought stress being particularly prevalent. Interagro’s Bridgeway biostimulant product is said to offer the possibility of reducing stress by improving root health and by increasing the rate of photosynthesis.

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Podcast: Adding to the potato rotation to boost soil health

This episode of the Potatoes in Canada podcast series “Tuber Talk” focuses on the practices in Prince Edward Island, one of Canada’s largest potato producing provinces. Ryan Barrett, research coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board, shares what crops P.E.I. producers are adding to the rotation to boost soil health. Barrett discusses what they’ve seen with mustards, buckwheat, sorghum sudangrass, Pearl millet, on top of sharing his experiences working on the Island.

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Medius Ag announces expanded agricultural data management services, new Director of Business Development

Agricultural data management company Medius Ag is announcing the expansion of its software solutions to a broader range of commodities around the globe through the launch of its new platform, Medius.Re. Medius Ag is also announcing the addition of Ryan Krabill as the company’s Director of Business Development. Mr. Krabill, a 15-year veteran of U.S. agriculture and early collaborator with Medius Ag, will manage outreach to other commodities around the globe from his office in Denver, Colorado.

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Haith helps the Jersey Royal Company reduce labour costs with new de-stoners

Jersey’s largest grower, packer and marketer of Jersey Royal new potatoes has seen a significant reduction in labour costs this season thanks to a project undertaken with the Haith Group. Jersey’s largest grower, packer and marketer of Jersey Royal new potatoes has seen a significant reduction in labour costs this season thanks to a project undertaken with the Haith Group.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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