Cultivation/Production

Leafy solution: Why foliar feeding of nutrients is an efficient way to meet crop needs

“In today’s agricultural climate, efficiency is the name of the game. Rising input costs including fuel, seed, pesticides and fertilizer are driving potato growers to utilize technologies that more economically produce strong returns on the dollars invested.” So says Jimmy Ridgeway (Crop Manager –  Potato at Yara North America) in the latest toppotato newsletter. Foliar feeding is a technique of[Read More…]

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28,000t of potatoes from a family farm in Ireland

Over the past 45 years, O’Shea Farms has progressed from a family partnership of four brothers – Dick, John, Séamus and Joe O’Shea – to a business with a turnover of €60 million per year. The company processes 28,000t of potatoes each year at its base in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. Iverk Produce, a sister company, distributes 90% of the potatoes and vegetables produced to[Read More…]

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Hutton hits indicate blight risk is building in Britain

Potato crops in Britain are under increasing blight pressure, with repeated hits of Hutton Criteria that indicate infection risks. The Hutton Criteria has now largely replaced conventional Smith periods, since blight outbreaks were still occurring even when a Smith Period had not been triggered, reports Syngenta eastern counties potato specialist, David Wilson. “This season BlightCast disease risk forecasting has already repeatedly triggered[Read More…]

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World Potato Congress: Abstract Book now available online

The Abstract Book, containing abstracts of presentations delivered in May during the 10th World Potato Congress in Cuzco, Peru has been published online, and can now be downloaded as a pdf file from the World Potato Congress Inc website. In the Preface to the 168 page Abstract Book it is said that the themes “Biodiversity, Food Security and Business” represent what[Read More…]

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Idaho potato growers optimistic about season

Idaho potato growers are optimistic about the season ahead, given the ideal growing conditions the state has experienced. “Harvest is expected to commence in Idaho in the middle of July,” said Colin Gibson of 20/20 Produce Sales. “The western part of the state will begin first as they have more heat units than the eastern part and therefore growers plant earlier.[Read More…]

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Research in action: PCN advisory tool under scrutiny

Four potato varieties not known to be resistant to white potato cyst nematode (Globodera pallida) have given much better yields than eight others in the first year of a two-season SARIC-funded research project in the UK. The latest work aims to improve AHDB’s potato cyst nematode population advisory tool (potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/online-toolbox/pcn-calculator), explains Matthew Back, of Harper Adams University. “We’re working with the University[Read More…]

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Venture capitalists find rising digitized market in rural America via data-loving farmers

Technology investors are discovering a new and largely untapped market: farmers in heartland America eager to fly drones, employ robots and crunch big data to boost their business. In 2017, tech startups in the agriculture sphere raised $670 million to develop software management, big data analytics, automated equipment and other cutting-edge tools that help farmers grow crops with scientific precision, AgFunder reported.[Read More…]

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Upcoming AHDB Potatoes event to showcase newest post harvest and storage technologies

AHDB Potatoes and Agri-Tech East are are jointly hosting an event this coming Wednesday 20 June to showcase some of the newest technologies and innovations in post-harvest management and storage. The meeting will be hosted at the Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, Lincs. From rapid refrigeration to seed cleaning, and from electronic noses to automated environmental control systems, good post-harvest[Read More…]

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Plant disease diagnostic company expands into the US

Pocket Diagnostic® announces the addition of another distributor of its plant disease rapid tests in the United States. Potadaho Seed Services (“Potadaho”) joins the Pocket Diagnostic distributor network having amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the potato industry in the Pacific Northwest over many years. UK based Pocket Diagnostic plant disease tests have been benefiting the potato,[Read More…]

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British expert provides timely advice on common scab control with irrigation

Recent dry weather in parts of the UK will mean that more and more growers will be thinking about irrigation, which is a vital time for common scab control. Dr Mark Stalham, Senior Scientist at NIAB CUF whose research, combined with demonstrations held at the Strategic Potato Farm network provided the most up-to-date guidance on common scab control, advises: “Despite late planting,[Read More…]

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Danish growers in the grip of severe drought; millions of Euros at stake

Danish news site ATL reports that Danish farmers are seriously affected by the ceaseless drought. If the drought lasts as long as in 1992, total losses could rise to millions of euros. Precipitation in Denmark is still a no-show, and many experts are already making comparisons with the extreme drought in 1992, when agricultural yields dropped by 23 per cent. According to regional[Read More…]

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Chasing after psyllids: Tasmanian tomato potato psyllid research used across Australia

Tomato potato psyllid is considered a serious threat to Tasmania’s potato, tomato and capsicum crops, with research conducted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture used to manage the pest around the country. Tasmanian researchers have conducted a tomato potato psyllid surveillance program in commercial potato crops since 2011. The project, which is funded by North-West Tasmania potato processors Simplot, McCain and Smiths as well as Horticulture[Read More…]

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Blight programmes in sharp focus as British growers attempt to unlock yield potential

CPM finds out why potato experts are advocating robust blight programmes after challenging spring planting conditions. Later harvests in some key growing areas are being planned and every effort will be needed to maintain green leaf area to maximise yields where inclement weather delayed planting. At the time of writing it is estimated that as much as 10% of the UK crop is[Read More…]

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Untying the knots: Dutch researchers look at biocontrol of root knot nematodes by increasing soil disease suppressiveness

In organic vegetable cultivation in the Netherlands, root knot nematodes are one of the major problems. According to scientists at Wageningen Plant Research, the problems with root knot nematodes is also increasing in other soil based cultivation systems. The numbers of available and effective chemical control products against soilborne diseases and pests are limited, though. In addition, the combination of different[Read More…]

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Allies in the skies: Drone industry launches into specialty agriculture market

In this well researched, in depth article on the current application of drones in agriculture, Stephen Kloosterman, Assistant Editor at Vegetable Growers News writes that drone scouts are poised to make precision agriculture even more exact as drone technology advances. Seventeen percent of all commercial registered drones in 2017 in the US were used for agriculture, making it the third-highest use for[Read More…]

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Million dollar question: Do some potato-growing soils suppress powdery scab?

A research project in New Zealand is determining if different field soils affect development of powdery scab on potatoes, and whether soil physical, chemical and/or biological characteristics influence this important potato disease. The project is developing new knowledge that may provide a basis for manipulating soil factors to reduce the harmful effects of the powdery scab pathogen. A cross-discipline team is[Read More…]

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Ditch the soil: British company claims 50 times higher potato yields with aeroponics technology

Hawk Energy, a knowledge-based business solutions provider based in Dubai with a research and development branch in London, has partnered with British start-up Airponix, which will harvest its first large crop of potatoes grown without soil, in a promising sign for a technology that claims it can deliver high vegetable yields with minimal costs and environmental degradation. At its new 1000[Read More…]

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Sneaking in: Nanotechnology shown to increase penetration rate of nutrients into plants

An innovative technology developed at the Technion, (Israel Institute of Technology, and Israel’s first university) could lead to significant increases in agricultural yields. Using a nanometric transport platform on plants that was previously utilized for targeted drug delivery, researchers increased the penetration rate of nutrients into the plants, from 1 percent to approximately 33 percent. The findings were recently published in Scientific[Read More…]

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Canada’s Alberta province home to a vibrant potato industry

Most people don’t know it, but Alberta is the third-largest producer of potatoes in Canada, after Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. “Currently we grow about 53,500 acres,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta. The association’s 150 members have a big economic impact. The farm gate value of their potatoes is about $225 million — and that figure[Read More…]

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High tech farming: There’s an app for that

As agriculture becomes more high tech, a growing number of farmers are using GPS-equipped machinery supported by platforms that collect data on plants, soil, and weather. Termed “precision agriculture,” these technologies help them identify and manage variability within fields. Armed with data, farmers can fine-tune their operations, potentially increasing yields and profits, Kelsey Nowakowski once wrote. New technologies allow farmers to[Read More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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