Production/Agronomy

Coronavirus lockdown complicates potato planting decisions

Potato planting decisions for British farmers are being complicated by uncertainty over the length of the coronavirus lockdown and an overhang of processing material since restaurants, canteens and other food service outlets were shut down, Suzie Horne writes in Farmers Weekly. The lockdown would have a direct effect on the processing sector and an influence on others, said Nick Blake, director with consultant Andersons Eastern.

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Potato acres in North America expected to plummet

The situation changes every day, but potato acres in Canada and the United States could take a dramatic hit in 2020. Potato production may drop by 25 to 30 percent because of closed restaurants, a sharp decline in french fry consumption and the economic fallout from COVID-19, writes Robert Arnason in the Western Producer. The potential acreage cuts are for process potatoes, which are used to make french fries and other frozen potato products. Process potatoes represent the bulk of potato acres in Canada and the United States.

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Developing novel herbicides: Corteva and AgPlenus collaborate to address rise in global weed resistance

Corteva Agriscience and AgPlenus recently announced that they have entered into a multi-year collaboration for the development of novel herbicides. By leveraging their complementary expertise, Corteva and AgPlenus will address the rise of global weed resistance, created in-part by the absence of new modes of action (MoAs) for weed control over the past 30 years. Successful products resulting from the collaboration will enter a multi-billion-dollar market.

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Dig, ship, ‘n chip: Neumiller Sproule potato harvest 2019

The Neumiller family and Sproule Farms has been an enjoyable and productive partnership. Potatoes grown are processing potatoes used for making potato chips and salads. Much of the crop is sent from field to factory to a nearby chip plant. Depending on the time of year, much of the crop goes from the field to a bag of potato chips in as little as 4-24 hours. Get an inside look at the Neumiller- Sproule Farm potato harvest near Bath, Illinois in 2019.

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US: Coronavirus pandemic yields different realities for Northwest potato and apple growers

The coronavirus pandemic continues to make its presence known in all facets of daily life, including agriculture. That extends to some supply and demand economics lessons for Northwest apple and potato growers. Some of the largest potato processors in the world are dramatically cutting back their contracted acres with farmers this spring. That’s largely because the global pandemic has closed restaurants, and therefore demand for frozen french fries.

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Another excellent year of progress for Levity CropScience

Bilsborrow based Levity CropScience, one of the UK’s leading crop science companies, has had another excellent year, particularly in the export markets. Its co-managing directors, Anna Weston and David Marks, have undertaken numerous lectures; signed several new distributors and launched their award- winning products in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Romania, giving growers greater access to its portfolio of innovative smart fertiliser products.

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CIP researchers designed a smartphone app for potato irrigation monitoring

Recent research by scientists and students from CIP and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Peru, confirmed that images from infrared (a.k.a. thermographic) cameras can be used to detect water stress in potato crops, and thereby guide more efficient water use. CIP scientists recently developed a new, more user-friendly version of TIPCIP for the smartphones.

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Monceren potato seed treatment to be withdrawn immediately

Potato seed treatment Monceren is being withdrawn immediately after UK regulators announced an end to the use of the active pencycuron, which was used to control rhizoctonia. An EU proposal to cut the maximum residue limit (MRL) for pencycuron earlier in March meant it was still possible that it could be applied to seed planted this spring, but now, the CRD’s announcement means it is no longer possible to apply Monceren for any purpose.

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Managing late season diseases in potatoes after diquat

The loss of diquat to growers in the UK means potato crop desiccation will be a longer and more protracted process, which could increase the risk of late-season diseases such as tuber blight and rhizoctonia. Rapid burndown of potato haulm was a valuable tool in helping manage disease, by rapidly removing foliage that could be at risk from virus-carrying aphids and blight. Therefore, disease programmes may need changing for the latter part of the season.

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British potato growers advised on wireworm damage and control

This season is the first where growers face managing wireworm without the key pesticide Mocap (ethoprophos) that has proved effective for some years in managing the costly pest. This means there will be a greater reliance on less-effective alternatives in combination with with cultural controls to keep the pest in check. Farmers Weekly looks at how growers can best manage wireworm, which in severe cases can lead to crop losses.

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Kiwi potato leadership on display: Zero net emissions by 2050

In February 2020, the Potatoes NZ board adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project (SVS) is a multi-stream nationwide project that will transition crop production to more sustainable land management practices while growing resilient communities and economies.

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The 7 habits of highly effective agronomists

The demand for agronomists in the agriculture industry is growing every single day, writes Shane Thomas, Global Digital Ag Lead at FarmersEdge in this interesting article. Thomas says producing profitable crops while minimizing a farmers risk and benefitting their operation in the long term is getting more and more complex every year. Whether it be new crop protection products, agronomic[Read More…]

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Integration of chemical and biologicals the way forward for BASF

BASF are repositioning themselves in the fruit and vegetable sector with this being identified as one out of the four strategic foci for the future. Matthew Goodson, who heads up the speciality crop sector in the UK, explains that the company has laid out its future intentions and has indicated that the fruit and vegetable sector will be considered as a key sector for the company to develop. The company has been working hard to develop biological products in this speciality sector, believing that integration of chemical and biologicals has to be the way forward.

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2019 and 2020 Webinars available on the World Potato Congress website

In a press release issued earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc notes that in case you missed one of its webinars, rest assured that they are all available on the World Potato Congress website at www.potatocongress.org.  The following is a list of all past webinars now on the website: 2020: March 18 – Presenter: Dr. Leah Tsror’s, “Powdery Scab[Read More…]

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GRIMME introduces new windrower for vegetables

The agricultural machinery manufacturer GRIMME extends its product range with the new vegetable windrower, named the WV-series. Windrowers are commonly used in a two-phase harvesting process on storable and robust onions. The new windrower for vegetables will be available for the next harvest season with working widths of 1.40 m, 1.65 m and 1.80 m. Crop quality starts with the[Read More…]

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How to manage weeds in potato crops without diquat

There will be no room for complacency in potato weed control strategies in the UK this spring, as British growers embark on their first season without the popular broad-spectrum contact herbicide diquat. Up to now, weed control was pretty simple – many would plant, wait until weeds emerge and sometimes cover up to 40% of the crop, then apply a residual plus diquat mix. However, with diquat’s revocation in the UK, this “casual” approach to weed management in potato crops is no longer sustainable.

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WPC Webinar on powdery scab now available online

The World Potato Congress offered its third Webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror, titled ‘Powdery Scab – Integrated disease management for reducing the risk’. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar was on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

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Potato specialists provide guidelines on mitigating early planting risks

It’s really a very simple formula: increase the length of the growing season and increase the potential yield and profits from a potato crop. There isn’t much that can be done to avoid a season-ending frost sometime during the fall, so perhaps the most feasible way to extend the season is to plant the crop early, say potato specialists Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho. When making decisions on when to start planting, growers should be aware that there are also some substantial risks involved

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Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

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In India’s Assam state, potatoes are grown with no-tillage; growers receive post-harvest training

As farmers look to grow more food for their families and the marketplace, increasing production sustainably remains a consistent challenge. But a CIP project in Assam state in India has discovered an easy way to produce an annual crop of potatoes with no-tillage and very few additional inputs. For the first time in the State, a day-long training of post-harvest management of potato was recently conducted.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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