Production/Agronomy

Dry cold planting season could lead to weed control issues for British potato growers

Many growers in the UK experienced an April to rival one of the driest on record (1938 and 1974 both saw less than 15mm of rain on average in the UK). Potato growers have been planting into dry and also colder soil conditions than what is ideally preferred for this time of year. The dry cold soil will add to the pressures of timely weed control add another dimension to the challenges of good crop establishment this season.

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Webinar: ‘Bulking potatoes – Increasing yield while maintaining quality’

Proper crop nutrition, taking into consideration the critical demand timings of the essential nutrients and proper application mechanics, can help to ensure the high yielding high quality potatoes that growers are looking for and the high quality that processors and consumers are demanding. This webinar on Tuesday May 11, will offer physiologically based suggestions on the best crop nutrition applications for the best potato crop. The webinar will be moderated by Spudman managing editor Zeke Jennings, and is sponsored by YARA North America.

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Interseeding cultivation method shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching

A two-year project funded through the University of Wisconsin-Water Resources Institute is investigating an interseeding cultivation method for potato cropping that shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching. Researcher Kevin Masarik from UW-Stevens Point is pursuing what he termed an outside-the-box idea – interseeding rye, oat and millet between the rows of potatoes to create biomass to take up excess nitrates.

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Valmont to acquire Prospera, creating world’s largest vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture

US-based Valmont Industries, known for its irrigation equipment solutions, including Valley Irrigation, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prospera Technologies Inc. an Israeli-based AI company. The transaction will create the largest global, vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture. Using the pivot as the digital data hub, this solution brings demonstrated, advanced agronomy to the field enabling the grower to take immediate action to remediate issues.

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AHDB: ‘What we’ve learned from 17 years of Fight Against Blight data’

AHDB’s Fight Against Blight programme started in 2004 and since then ‘blight scouts’ have sent in over 10,000 samples of potentially blight infested potato plants for genotyping. Each year the results are published because knowing the location of outbreaks and the dominant genotypes, allows for better prevention of the disease. This has been particularly valuable when genotypes behave differently to the norm, for example if they are insensitive to a certain treatment, or if they aggressively reproduce more quickly than typical spray cycles.

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Fight against blight: ‘BlightSpy’ replaces ‘Blighwatch’

BlightSpy is a tool for British growers and agronomists that can be used in their fight against late blight – it offers an eight-day blight forecast and more detail than its predecessor Blightwatch. Anne Stone, AHDB Knowledge Transfer Manager, Potatoes reports that the new tool allows users to monitor weather forecasts for the predicted occurrence of Hutton Criteria at over 669 carefully selected location points in Britain.

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‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’: BASF opens forum for potato growers

Agri-chemical company BASF has launched a new initiative to help UK growers unlock the potential – and the profits – of their potato crop. Titled, ‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’, the initiative provides a platform on which the potato industry can come together to share experience, know-how and passion for developing and perfecting healthy potato crops.

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Late blight studies reveal evolution of potato disease in Europe and Asia

Plant scientists at the James Hutton Institute are studying the evolution of late blight in potato by working with industry and research partners to track the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in Europe in 2020, and have also contributed to a review into the development of the disease in Asia in the last 150 years, as part of global efforts to improve the sustainable production of healthy potato crops.

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Yara Canada issues publication on potato nutrition

Yara has extensive crop nutrition knowledge created from more than 100 years of research and development in more than 150 countries around the world. To support the potato production industry in Eastern Canada, Yara’s expertise and findings of more than 40 local field trials done in 2020 have been brought together in one document: The Nutrition of Potatoes in Eastern Canada – 2021.

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Biologicals: The next agricultural technology revolution

“Biologicals are tools for the sustainable agriculture of the future… Biologicals are a class of agricultural products that include biopesticides, biofertilizers, and biostimulants that are derived from natural materials, such as animals, plants, bacteria, or minerals,” writes Claude Flueckiger in this article published by AgoPages.

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Coming to terms with the virus issue: An integrated approach for PVY

Seed potato producers are leaving no stone unturned to slow the proliferation of virus in British stocks, with straw mulches and mineral oils set to compliment systemic insecticides as part of a robust integrated pest management (IPM) strategy this year, write Rob Jones and Lucy de la Pasture in this in-depth article, published by crop production magazine (CPM).

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Agronomy expert: ‘Doing nothing is not an option – whole systems approach needed to reduce potato virus’

Writes Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist at Scottish Agronomy: “We have sprayed ourselves into resistance, and we need to be bolder in adopting natural measures into pest management if we’re to secure the health and quality of seed potatoes in Great Britain. The prevalence of virus in seed stocks is challenging the industry and we are at a tipping point. It’s clear that insecticides are not doing the job on their own anymore and that we need to do something differently.”

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Dewulf and Agrointelli jointly explore autonomous potato planting

Dewulf and Agrointelli have announced that they will be working together to explore the benefits of using autonomous machines in potato cultivation. This joint effort is triggered by a shared vision of broadening the possibilities for potato growers to implement new solutions for more sustainable, efficient, and robust production methods and technologies.

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Weed busters: Scottish Agronomy lists best residuals for weeds in potatoes

As the potato season edges closer, growers will be pondering herbicide programmes and asking which strategy is likely to deliver the greatest bang for their buck. Ken Fletcher, Editor of The Scottish Farmer writes that the first decision confronting growers will be whether to use metribuzin, or not? With it, weed control is almost always easier and less expensive, but the long list of varieties sensitive to this substance means many growers have to consider the alternatives.

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Focus on phosphate: Liquid fertiliser offers sustainable choices for potato growers

A recent trial in potatoes in the UK has shown that using smart liquid fertilisers can significantly reduce the amount of phosphate required to generate one tonne of yield when compared to traditional granular fertilisers. Carl Gibbard, Agro-Vital technical manager, explains this insight could pay dividends as growers plan their crop nutrition programme for the upcoming season.

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Can buckwheat be the new top crop on the rotation block?

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers are encouraging farmers to buck the trend and use buckwheat as a triple threat crop. In addition to its high nutritional value, the fast growing crop is proving to be beneficial in suppressing pests such as wireworms in potatoes, and preventing soil diseases.

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NASA Harvest and CropX partner to support sustainable ag initiatives

NASA Harvest (NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture Program) and CropX, a global leader in soil analytics for agriculture, recently announced a strategic partnership that will give NASA Harvest unprecedented soil insights for its global agricultural monitoring efforts. The partnership will further NASA Harvest’s mission to improve food security and advance sustainable agriculture.

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2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

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AVR and Dacom Farm Intelligence collaborate to offer field data ‘on a silver platter’

For some time now, AVR has been offering agricultural companies technology for data collection. This data is displayed on the digital platform AVR Connect, offering the farmer improved, real time insights into what is going on inside the machine, how it is operating, and how the process can be made more efficient. This platform has been further developed in collaboration with Dacom Farm Intelligence, allowing for parcel data to be linked to machine data.

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COVID-19 compliance costly for Washington State potato growers, packers

In a recently completed survey by the IMPACT Center at Washington State University, it was found that Washington State farm families’ direct compliance outlays to manage COVID-10 were roughly $2,532 per month. Direct compliance outlays were found to be much higher for those businesses packing potatoes at $4,340 per month.

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The potato soft rot complex in the US is changing: Is this good news?

This past winter, two well known potato pathologists stated that the incidence of Dickeya dianthicola is declining in the U.S., writes Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board, in a recent article. Dr. Banks is of the opinion that additional novel and potentially high virulent soft rot species probably remain to be discovered, and this high level of diversity will hinder the development of tolerant potato varieties. “This is not good news!,” Dr. Banks says.

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Standen imports Dutch company Vegniek’s haulm pullers

Following the withdrawal of diquat in Britain, Standen says many potato growers are still seeking an effective solution in haulm destruction of their crop. This has prompted its importing division to start offering Dutch manufacturer Vegniek’s DiscMaster series of precision haulm pullers. The DiscMaster has been developed with a focus on reducing crop damage and ensuring that rows are effectively closed following the pass.

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Australian potato and IPM specialist to present during World Potato Congress webinar

The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to present its next webinar on Tuesday, April 6, 2021/Wednesday, April 7, 2021 with Dr. Paul Horne, Entomologist and owner and Director of IPM Technologies Pty Ltd., Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia. The presentation will outline the elements of IPM in any crop but particularly in potatoes. Examples of how pesticides can be chosen based on their IPM fit will be given, using Australian conditions as an example.

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