Cultivation/Production

Managing soil health in potatoes

Soil health can be seen as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. This definition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) speaks to the importance of managing the soil so it can continue to sustain life for future generations. As the experts point[Read More…]

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UK: Potato Cyst Nematode pest resistance and tolerance put to test at new Hutchinsons trial site

Growing potato varieties that are both resistant and tolerant to PCN holds the key to tackling one of the biggest threats to UK crops, according to agronomy firm Hutchinsons. The firm’s new Fenland potato demonstration site near Mildenhall is looking at how 15 leading varieties differ in their resistance and tolerance to the pest under a high pressure situation. The aim is[Read More…]

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New publication explores migration research of zebra chip-carrying potato psyllids

Potato growers in the US looking to reduce the likelihood of a zebra chip disease outbreak have been forced to rely on calendar-based insecticide applications due to the unpredictable arrival of disease-carrying potato psyllids. Providing information about vector migration and overwintering habits is a new educational presentation now available. Zebra chip (ZC) is a destructive disease of potatoes in North[Read More…]

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Large-scale potato industry event takes root in Scotland

A one-day technical potato industry event scheduled for next week will see growers, seed breeders, plant health officials, agronomists and scientists come together to discuss the key challenges and opportunities in the sector. Potatoes in Practice 2017 (PiP) – held on Thursday August 10, at the James Hutton Institute’s Balruddery Farm near Dundee – is described as the largest event of[Read More…]

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US: Potato farm tour highlights biological diversity

In the heart of prime potato growing country, one San Luis Valley farm has such a worldwide reputation for soil health innovation that a recent field day attracted guests from Canada, France and Sweden in addition to the surrounding area. Rockey Farms, located a mile north of Center, is a multigenerational operation run by Brendon Rockey, a soil health pioneer who[Read More…]

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Agronomy: AHDB in the UK released latest edition of Crop Nutrient Management Guide

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK, optimising crop yield and quality whilst managing finances and considering the environment is the scenario facing producers, and it emphasises the need for careful nutrient management and planning. Increasing understanding around fertiliser use and uptake by plants is a continuing area of work. As is the exploration of potential savings[Read More…]

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Drones measure nitrogen application in potato farming

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands announced that the ‘Toward precision agriculture 2.0’ research program has included a group of potato farmers carrying out test runs with sensor observations by drones. The drone images show exactly where they should apply more or less nitrogen on their fields, allowing farmers to use the product more efficiently. Precision agriculture researcher[Read More…]

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Applied research: Method to hit the bull’s eye on crop nutrient requirements

Researchers from Aarhus University have developed a method to match crop nitrogen requirements more precisely than ever before. The method can reduce agricultural nitrogen emissions and simultaneously optimise yield. Neither too much nor too little is often the best way to go. This is also the case with regard to nitrogen fertilisation of crops – but how can you know exactly how much[Read More…]

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Canada: Insect, disease outlook varied across the country

By all accounts, the potato industry in Canada is a healthy one, and things are certainly looking up for 2017. Spud Smart magazine reached out to some experts in the field in late June to determine what risks growers may face. Sebastian Ibarra, agri-environmental specialist with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries says the main potato pest in Prince Edward Island in 2016[Read More…]

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UK: Blight options for potato growers to break EU-37 resistance

Potato growers and agronomists in Britain should be mindful of developing blight strains less sensitive to fluazinam, but selective use and active planning can effectively preserve the full benefit of Shirlan for tuber blight protection at the season end. Syngenta Technical Manager, Douglas Dyas, highlighted the blight zoospore control of Shirlan made it a crucial component of the programme, particularly at[Read More…]

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Scottish potato growers continue to learn that ‘less is more’

The “less is more” lesson for tattie growers continues with the revelation that overall yields could be increased by reducing nitrogen top dressings by 25-30 kg a hectare. The message being given at the AHDB’s Strategic Potato open day at Meigle in Perthshire on fertiliser follows on from revelations earlier in the year from the project that by reducing tillage[Read More…]

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UK: Putting spuds on the SPot

SCOTLAND’S Strategic Potato Farm (SPot) is getting ready to reveal its full trials programme to the potato industry at its next Open Day. Organised via AHDB, the nationwide SPot Farms are intended to drive research into practice through the demonstration of cutting-edge techniques – appropriate to the region and market sector – in a commercial-scale growing environment. Bruce Farms in Perthshire joined[Read More…]

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Canada: Acreage low, stewardship high for GMO potatoes

This year’s Canadian acreage of J.R. Simplot’s genetically engineered Innate potato will be “very small” to non-existent, according to a company spokesperson. Kerwin Bradley, director of commercial innovation for Simplot, says the company’s marketing strategy for new varieties is based on customer polls and identification of marketing channels. “We don’t plant potatoes, or give seed to growers, until we know that[Read More…]

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Canada: Case study reveals how to reduce potato waste by increasing quality

As part of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association’s (OPMA) food waste reduction initiative, Value Chain Management International (VCMI) worked with EarthFresh Foods and growers to identify ways to reduce waste by increasing the quality and value of table potatoes, from field to consumer. The case study, the first of four being developed during the project, describes how tools and techniques presented[Read More…]

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UK: Potato farmers SPot the difference as AHDB’s cutting-edge techniques become commercial reality

More than 120 farmers and agricultural professionals were at the Elveden Estate on Thursday, July 6, to look at how cutting-edge research was making a difference to its potato growing operation. The estate is one of four farms selected by farm levy-paying organisation AHDB Potatoes last year to become a Strategic Potato (SPot) farm where new techniques prove their worth by[Read More…]

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Embattled Western Australian potato growers face new bio-security threat after Dickeya found

An aggressive bacteria that attacks potatoes has been found in Australia for the first time. Dickeya dianthicola can cause significant production losses in crops by causing diseases such as soft-rot or blackleg. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA confirmed the bacteria’s presence in a seed potato crop north of Perth, which is now under quarantine. Another property in the south-west[Read More…]

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Canada: Optimistic outlook for potato crop in 2017

Strong pricing, stable contract volumes and a low dollar help provide an optimistic outlook for the Canadian potato crop this season. Potato growers in Canada enjoyed a banner year in 2016. Prices for fresh potatoes were strong from coast to coast. And for the third year in a row, the national average for potato yield hit record levels, coming in at[Read More…]

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Northern Ireland: Great weather for spuds sees harvest arrive fortnight early

Northern Ireland’s main crop potatoes are being harvested two weeks ahead of schedule after a year of perfect growing conditions. The favourable conditions also contributed to an overall 5% increase in the total acreage of potatoes grown here – a trend replicated in the Republic and in Britain. Angus Wilson, chief executive with Wilson’s Country Ltd potato growers in Portadown, said the[Read More…]

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Italy: New systems modify irrigation depending on the weather

It’s no longer thinkable to grow crops without irrigation, but interventions must be as efficient and precise as possible. Scarabelli irrigazione and Consorzio Agrario Adriatico have developed a solution that connects the irrigation system to local weather stations so as to plan interventions according to the weather forecast. If the conditions change, the system automatically corrects the schedule. “They can[Read More…]

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Bad year for French potato production

Potato production in France has decreased for the second year in a row to 6.8 million tons, 4% below the volume recorded last year and 5% below the five year average. 2015/2016 had already seen a 12% decrease compared to 2014/2015 due to the drought over the summer in 2015. Despite an increase in acreage (+5% in a year), the[Read More…]

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UK: Potato planted area estimated to increase by 4%

AHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence Analysts estimate the total area planted with potatoes in Great Britain this season is 121,000 hectares. The figure was announced today (Monday 26 June) during a public webinar. This is up by four per cent on the previous year, the same as 2014 and at a similar level to the area planted in 2012 and 2013. The[Read More…]

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Video: Planting potatoes in the Dutch province of North Brabant

Planting potatoes using a Deutz Fahr Agrotron 7250 TTV with front cultivator and AVR GE-force rotary tiller for preparing the land, as well as a Miedema Structural PM 4000 belt planter for planting the potatoes, adding fertilizer and ridging – all done during a single pass. Aardappels poten bij akkerbouwbedrijf Hack uit Dinteloord (N-B) De pootcombinatie bestaat uit een Deutz-Fahr Agrotron[Read More…]

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Video: 16 Row massive potato harvest in Idaho

Carl Taylor from Taylor Farms in Idaho Falls, Idaho, presenting Spudnik’s 16 row harvesting system. With eight 6 row windrowers and four 4 row harvesters they are able to harvest between 400 – 450 acres a day. The biggest advantage was to reduce tractors and operators from their harvesting operation. In addition they were better able to utilize their truck[Read More…]

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UK: Hot potatoes under Alternaria attack

Heat stress under record seasonal high early summer temperatures could trigger increased risk of an initial Alternaria attack in potato crops. Plants suffering from lack of moisture could prove more susceptible to pathogen infection, whilst soil moisture deficit will inhibit the uptake of nutrients, which could further stress crops during rapid canopy growth. Research has shown that stress is a key factor[Read More…]

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Australia: New techniques catch potato pests on the hop on Kangaroo Island

Seed potato growers on Kangaroo Island are adopting a new strategy to manage the aphids and thrips pestering their crops, taking on expert advice from agronomists and entomologists to adopt integrated pest management for these insect pests. In January 2015, Kangaroo Island seed potato growers and agronomists invited Dr Paul Horne and Angelica Cameron from IPM Technologies to help them improve[Read More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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