Production/Agronomy

No diquat: How to plan potato planting for trouble-free crop desiccation

With the absence of desiccant diquat, British potato producers are being advised to pay careful attention to field layout, nitrogen management and blight control strategy before planting this spring, according to an article published in Farmers Weekly. Machinery manufacturers have reported a big increase in topper sales in recent months, suggesting that many growers and contractors are gearing up for this mechanical approach.

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Potato news update from Russia

The Potato Union of Russia and the Russian magazine Potato System recently came to an agreement to collaborate in an initiative to inform the commercial potato industry about important industry and government events, promotion of the achievements of agricultural producers, and more. Other news reported by Potato System magazine the past week relates to the problems and prospects of growing potatoes in the Stavropol Territory

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WPC Webinar – Dr. Leah Tsror on powdery scab

The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to be offering its third webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror. Dr Tsror is a Research Group Leader in the Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development in Israel. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar will be on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

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Research study shows universally positive effect of cover crops on soil microbiome

Only a fraction of conventional row crop farmers grow cover crops after harvest, but a new global analysis from the University of Illinois shows the practice can boost soil microbial abundance by 27%. The result adds to cover crops’ reputation for nitrogen loss reduction, weed suppression, erosion control, and more. Although soil microbial abundance is less easily observed, it is a hugely important metric in estimating soil health.

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Taking a look at storage costings after CIPC

The removal of CIPC next season has pushed the burden onto other tools in the box. However, how cost effective these treatments are at current market prices is a question on many people’s mind. In this article, analysts at AHDB Potatoes in the UK have estimated a total storage cost per tonne for different sprout suppressant regimes over an 8-month period.

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British potato growers advised to be patient and wait for the right conditions to start planting

It has been one of the wettest winters on record in Britain, with many parts of the country suffering damaging floods, says AHDB Potatoes in a recent article. “In wet areas planting may be many weeks away yet. Patience and risk mitigation now, can help prevent poor results come harvest,” says AHDB’s Graham Bannister. The key message is not to panic, waiting a few days and planting in the right conditions is often better than ‘losing’ a couple of days growing time, according to Bannister.

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Crop rotation: Call in a nurse. A ‘nurse’ crop, that is

Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops, writes Ralph Pearce, CG Production Editor in Country Guide. The challenge across much of Eastern Canada is that some rotational crops such as soybeans and dry beans don’t add much residue to the soil. Aggressive tillage on sandier, porous soils with potato production in the Maritimes also makes it difficult to maintain organic matter.

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US potato acreage expected to climb, lowering returns

The 2019 potato crop delivered lower yields in the Red River Valley and parts of Idaho, but other regions saw growth, reports Tom Karst in The Packer this week. Red, yellow and russet production totaled about 86 million cwt. in 2019, down about 8 million cwt. (9%) from the previous year. Acreage is expected to expand in 2020, but there has been no industry projection so far.

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Agriculture’s new apps: Precision innovation to feed the world

Precision weather tracking, ‘blood pressure monitoring’ for plants and complex nutrient analysis apps are now the must-have tools for modern farmers. With agriculture using 70% of the world’s?freshwater resources and severely degrading one third of the earth’s land through over-fertilisation, such innovations are vital. Video: Meet the Agricultural Scientists changing the way we are fed, one field at a time.

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CIP and partners publish a ‘Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics’

The full title of this new book, authored by scientists working at CIP, INIAP, and CORPOICA in Latin America, is Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics. Ten years of experience in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Aeroponics is a technique for producing potato minitubers (corresponding to the pre-basic seed category) in formal seed systems. aeroponics is part of an integrated proposal of CIP and its partners to manage seed potato degeneration.

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FarmBeats: Microsoft makes a play for the precision agriculture market

The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, and the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than is now produced. If you ask Microsoft, the solution lies in technology, writes Kyle Wiggers in an article published in VentureBeat The tech giant’s FarmBeats program, which launched in preview late last year on Azure Marketplace, is a multi-year effort to bring robust data analytics to the agriculture sector.

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Canada to invest millions into Potato Early Dying disease research

The Canadian government pledged over $2.3 million to support research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying.

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EuroBlight issues report with details on the 2019 late blight monitoring results

EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2019 results. Approximately 1800 samples from 27 countries were genotyped. In general, blight pressure is said to have been low which reduced sample numbers in many regions. However, episodes of high disease pressure resulted in serious outbreaks in other areas such as northern Britain and Denmark.

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Research study shows elevated CO2 and warmer temperature benefit potato growth

Chinese scientists Yubi et al. examined the interactive effects of elevated CO2 and higher temperature on various growth and biomass characteristics of potato. They concluded that all in all, it appears that potato yields will increase in the future due to elevated CO2, elevated temperature or a combination of such factors. Related video: Prof Jacquie van der Waals, Potato Pathology Programme manager at the University of Pretoria on the effect of climate change..

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Advice on how to prepare for seed handling and treatment

In a recent grower advisory notice, AHDB Potatoes in the UK says ‘it’s all in the bag’. The first step in preparing for seed handling and treatment is to estimate the likely period between delivery and planting – as this will determine which storage strategy to adopt. Upon delivery, it’s essential to inspect seed consignments for diseases and quality, and to make sure that what have been received indeed matches the order. Growers are reminded that it’s imperative that seed be stored in a CIPC-free environment.

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Drone spraying of crops takes off globally as regulations relax

Move over dogs – drones are a farmer’s new best friend! In just a few years there’s been a huge rise in the use of drones in agriculture. Their popularity is set to soar globally as countries grant operators permission to also apply crop protection products, writes Mick Roberts in an article published by Future Farming. Recent equipment introductions, and regulation changes in particular, look likely to see aerial applications by UAVs to increase substantially and quickly around the globe.

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CIP: Studying the potato’s water needs for more efficient irrigation

Water is essential for food production, with farming accounting for about 70 percent of global freshwater use, according to the International Potato Center (CIP). As countries expand agriculture to feed the population of approximately 9.7 billion forecast for 2050, the FAO estimates that irrigated farming will need to increase by more than 50%. Yet climate change is already reducing the supply of[Read More…]

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World Potato Congress: ‘Africa could displace North America as the third largest potato producer’

The world’s potato production growth stagnated in 2018 and couldn’t recover in 2019, according to a recent statement by the World Potato Congress (WPC). It is said that in total, 368,247,000 tons were produced in 2018, according to FAO. Even so, it was the third-highest production after 2017 and 2014. FAO estimated that 158 countries for which it has data[Read More…]

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GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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