Dutch saltwater potatoes offer hope for world’s hungry

A small field on an island off the Netherlands’ northern coast promises one answer to the problem of how to feed the world’s ever-growing population: potatoes and other crops that grow in saltwater. Every day, swathes of farmland somewhere in the world become unusable because of salty soil, but farmers on windswept Texel are finding solutions using traditional methods. The[Read[Read More…]

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Genetics of late blight: Real world implications

This presentation by Dr Bill Fry, Professor of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, explains many of the genetic characteristics (general and unique) of Phytophthora infestans. An accurate understanding of the simple population genetic structure of this organism in the USA can be used to improve efforts to mitigate the harmful effects of this pathogen. More You are unauthorized to view this page.

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Drip irrigation: Doing more with less

Drip irrigation was first used commercially in Israel in the mid-1900s when the advent of plastics made it possible. It continues to be a dominant form of irrigation in many arid (dry) regions where water is the most limiting factor in crop production. Drip irrigation has been shown to allow for significant reductions in water and nutrients by better localizing applications[Read[Read More…]

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Webinar: Late blight of potato and tomato

This in-depth webinar on late blight is presented by Margaret Tuttle McGrath, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University; Christine Smart, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University; Beth K. Gugino, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University; Amanda Gevens, Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; and Pamela D. Roberts, University of Florida.[Read[Read More…]

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Research: Fighting the Colorado potato beetle with RNA

Colorado potato beetles are a dreaded pest of potatoes all over the world. Since they do not have natural enemies in most potato producing regions, farmers try to control them with pesticides. However, this strategy is often ineffective because the pest has developed resistances against nearly all insecticides. Now, scientists from the Max Planck Institutes of Molecular Plant Physiology in[Read[Read More…]

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GM food is natural: ‘Foreign DNA’ in sweet potatoes suggests plants genetically modify themselves

Genetically engineering plants and crops to change their DNA has been a cause of much controversy in recent years. But new research has found that Mother Nature might be making its own GM food, as sweet potatoes have been found to genetically modify themselves. And this seems to have been occurring for thousands of years, meaning humans have been unknowingly eating GM[Read[Read More…]

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International group of potato researchers joins forces to improve yield

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Research Centre in Fredericton will be leading the research efforts of an international team of scientists focusing on new discoveries about potato DNA, microbial life in the soil and insect behaviour to find better ways to measure the health and quality of potato plants and tubers. More You are unauthorized to view this page.

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Swiss authorities give green light for GM potato trial

The Federal Office for the Environment in Switzerland says scientists can carry out crop trials involving genetically modified (GM) potatoes that are resistant to the vegetable’s biggest threat – late blight – at a site near Zurich. It announced on Tuesday that teams from the Agroscope research centre would be allowed to start planting the potatoes from next week at its site[Read[Read More…]

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US: Maine’s newest potato – the Caribou Russet – makes its debut

The Caribou Russet is the latest variety to emerge from the University of Maine experimental potato lab. The university has numerous potato experiments in progress and most will not make the cut, but one potato has: “AF33621” was recently given a more distinguished name: the “Caribou Russet.” According to Greg Porter at the potato lab “it has really high quality for both[Read[Read More…]

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A potato made with gene editing

Dan Voytas is a plant geneticist at the University of Minnesota. His newest creation, described in a plant journal this month, is a Ranger Russet potato that doesn’t accumulate sweet sugars at typical cold storage temperatures. That will let it last longer, and when it’s fried it won’t produce as much acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen. What’s different about the potato is that[Read[Read More…]

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Zebra Chip disease discovered on island between Australia and New Zealand

During a major quarantine survey on Norfolk Island, a small island in between New Zealand and Australia, both the tomato-potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) as well as the zebra chip causing bacterium Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso) have been detected. The discovery of sap-sucking insects previously not present on Norfolk Island has given scientists a head-start on controlling a major biosecurity threat[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealand: Major new potato research project announced

Potatoes New Zealand Inc. has won funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries for a major research project aimed at improving crop yield. The $260,000 three-year project, which will be financed through the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) and managed by the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), will investigate the impact of different potato crop rotations on soil borne diseases and[Read[Read More…]

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USPB New Director of Research & Analysis

Potato industry veteran Ryan Krabill joined the United States Potato Board’s staff in the newly-created position of Director of Research & Analysis at the beginning of this month. Krabill brings a lengthy record of potato industry leadership and proven results from his most recent role as Senior Director, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs with the National Potato Council in Washington, D.C.[Read[Read More…]

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Nutritional science isn’t very scientific

The potato industry recently scored a big victory, in what sounds at first like a familiar story of Big Ag winning out over public health. Eight years ago, over allegations of insufficient nutritional value, potatoes were excluded from a government program that helps pregnant women and young children improve their diets. The rationale was that aid recipients in the Women,[Read[Read More…]

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US: UMaine researchers release three new potato varieties

Maine may not lead the nation in potato production, but as the state’s largest cash crop, a partnership between the University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board (MPB) is determined to make sure Maine potato growers of every scale have access to some of the highest quality seeds in order to sustain a bountiful harvest. Over the last year[Read[Read More…]

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Canada: Managing nutrients

The results of 4R Nutrient Stewardship Demonstration Farm Trials in Prince Edward Island, Canada, are proving that producers, consumers and the environment benefit when farmers adopt practices that ensure nutrients stay where they are placed. More You are unauthorized to view this page.

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UK: GM ‘super potato’ trials scheduled after general election due to public sensitivity

Scientists are developing a genetically modified “super spud” free of fungal diseases and other pest problems, as well as being potentially healthier than conventionally grown potatoes. Field trials are expected to be announced in June after the general election because of the public sensitivity of the research, which is expected to be vociferously opposed by anti-GM campaigners. More You are[Read More…]

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Drone technology leads Australian growers into the future

Futuristic drone technologies, including flying machines that distribute beneficial insects, are fast becoming realistic options for Aussie growers to lower production costs and increase profitability. Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus are working with vegetable growers and industry to create robotics technology that is affordable, robust and will meet the needs of the local industry into the future. More[Read More…]

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Spain: Potato mildew fungus identified for first time

Scientists of the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, have studied the genetic structure of the Phytophthora infestans, which causes potato mildew, and have identified for the first time in Spain the existence of genotype Blue13 (13_A2). The identification was carried out through genotyping with microsatellite markers (SSR). The finding has been the result of the doctoral thesis of agronomist[Read[Read More…]

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Research grants announced by the USDA

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $66.5 million in grants for research on specialty crops and organic production. “Although these research programs are a small part of the federal budget, they return tremendous benefits to growers,” the National Potato Council says in its weekly newsletter. Pre-applications for the grants are due March 30, 2015, and[Read[Read More…]

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USPB appoints first ever Director of Research and Analysis

The United States Potato Board (USPB) recently announced that industry veteran Ryan J. Krabill has joined its staff in the newly-created position of Director of Research & Analysis. Krabill begins his new role April 1, 2015. More You are unauthorized to view this page.

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US: UMaine, Maine Potato Board launch new potato variety

Move over Idaho, Maine is launching a new potato variety called the “Caribou Russet.” The new variety was developed at the University of Maine in the breeding program overseen by Gregory A. Porter, chairman of the university’s Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences. The new variety has long tubers with lightly russeted skin and white flesh, with yields for[Read[Read More…]

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