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

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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

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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

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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 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 More…]

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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 More…]

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International Potato Center’s founder passes away

The International Potato Center (CIP) mourns the passing of Dr. Richard L. Sawyer, founder of CIP and its first Director General. Dr. Sawyer passed away on March 9 in Raleigh, North Carolina, in his native USA. “Dr. Sawyer’s legacy is enormous. His vision to begin a potato research for development institute in the potato’s center of diversity was visionary and[Read More…]

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New research: Consumers willing to spend more for biotech potato products

New research from an Iowa State University economist found consumers were willing to spend more for genetically modified potato products with reduced levels of a chemical compound linked to cancer. Wallace Huffman, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences who contributed to the project, said the findings underscore the importance of efforts to educate consumers on the use[Read More…]

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GM potato research the Irish way

Ewan Mullins is the Teagasc scientist in charge of an Irish potato trial talks about the effect of an EU decision to let member states ban EU-approved genetically modified crops. He is in charge of the only trial of genetically modified crops in Ireland. This is an EU research project, across 15 countries, studying GM potatoes’ potential resistance to blight. Full[Read More…]

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US Potato Board hires research director

The U.S. Potato Board has hired its first-ever director of research and analysis. Ryan Krabill, who worked most recently as senior director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based National Potato Council, will join the Denver-based board April 1, according to a news release. Krabill’s work for the council included working with Congress and national and state-level potato[Read More…]

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Neiker creates two new potato varieties of great nutritional value

Potatoes, an essential food in human nutrition, have two new varieties produced by the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, NEIKER-Tecnalia. They are ‘Entzia’ and ‘Miren’, characterised by their great nutritional value and suitability for industrial processing. They are both striking in appearance since ‘Miren’ has a bright yellow flesh and ‘Entzia’ a purple one. Source: See on[Read More…]

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Canada: High hopes for low glycemic spud

A new potato variety developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada could open up new menu possibilities for people with diabetes and others who follow low GI diets. A team of researchers at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, N.B., and the Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta has developed a low glycemic potato. Glycemic index or GI is a relatively new[Read More…]

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South Africa: Potato pathologists at the Univ of Pretoria tackle industry threatening potato diseases

The Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria in South Africa is considered to be the flagship programme for research on bacterial and fungal diseases of potatoes in that country. The programme functions under the leadership of Prof Jacquie van der Waals, a renowned specialist in potato pathology. According to Prof van der Waals, the most important and industry[Read More…]

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Canadian breeders develop higher yielding potato varieties

At a time when the Canadian potato industry is looking to get more potatoes out of the ground each fall at a lower cost of production, AAFC potato breeder Dr. Benoit Bizimungu and his team at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton have developed potatoes that offer up to a 30 per cent increase in yield. The potatoes are featured[Read More…]

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China’s upscaling of potato production sprouts controversy

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture started the year with an awkwardly named but nevertheless resonating event — at the “Potato Staple-ization Strategy Research Symposium, Vice-minister of Agriculture, Yu Xinrong, proclaimed that potatoes shall become China’s fourth staple food. That netizens tweeted more than half a million responses on Sina Weibo about this denotes more than sheer curiosity. While many of[Read More…]

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Canada: 4R Nutrient Stewardship program step in right direction for Prince Edward Island farmers

A commitment to better farming practices was formalized Jan. 30, during the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture annual general meeting, with the extension of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship memorandum of understanding. On-farm sustainability continues to emerge as a key topic of discussion in the province. The goal of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is to ensure producers apply fertilizer[Read More…]

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US: Idaho researcher to study potato storage

Yi Wang aims to help the Idaho potato industry better understand the physiological mechanisms responsible for problems that may take place in potatoes during storage. Wang, 29, who will start March 20 as University of Idaho’s new potato storage physiologist, has already made a name for herself as a national leader in the potato industry. As a post-doctoral researcher with[Read More…]

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Research finds baby potatoes are nutrient loaded

Research geneticist Roy Navarre, with the USDA’s Prosser, Wash., Agricultural Research Service, has found that baby potatoes are exceptionally high in healthy phytonutrients. He sees unmet opportunity in baby potatoes for the spud industry to reach consumers who place a premium on aesthetically pleasing, highly nutritious gourmet ingredients. Navarre, with the USDA’s Prosser, Wash., Agricultural Research Service, has analyzed baby[Read More…]

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US: NDSU researchers develop new potato cultivar

Asunta (Susie) Thompson, NDSU potato breeder and associate professor, reports the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station approved the release of a new potato cultivar named Dakota Ruby on April 11, 2014. Dakota Ruby yields well and produces uniform, round and smooth tubers with bright skin color, white flesh and shallow eyes. The main use for Dakota Ruby is for the[Read More…]

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Canada: Neonicotinoid pesticides and honey bee health

One of best-attended presentations at Manitoba Potato Production Days, the three-day potato conference and trade show which ran Jan. 23 to 25 in Brandon, Manitoba., focused on neonicotinoid pesticides and honey bee health. Maryam Sultan spoke Jan. 24 in support of the use of neonicotinoids, the subject of much debate in recent years because of some research linking these insecticides[Read More…]

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Potato virus Y incidences on the rise in Idaho seed

The incidence of potato virus Y has increased markedly in Idaho potato seed, according to newly released results of the state’s 2015 winter grow-out. Alan Westra, Idaho Crop Improvement Association’s southeast manager, said during his organization’s Jan. 20 seed seminar clean seed lots in the grow-out decreased from 54 percent in 2014 to 44 percent this winter. Westra said the[Read More…]

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India: Improved potato varieties on the way; farmers might harvest three crops a year

The Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), in association with the Peru-based International Potato Center, is working on a project to develop early-bulking, heat-resistant and short-duration (70-75 days) varieties. Currently, the maturity period for the crop is 85-90 days. The research is at the test stage. If all goes well, farmers would be able to harvest three crops a year.[Read More…]

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US: Psyllids decline, but overwintering concerns arise

Researchers say the number of potato psyllids found harboring the Liberibacter bacteria that causes the crop disease zebra chip dropped significantly in the Pacific Northwest during 2014. A new study out of Washington, however, has heightened concerns about resident psyllid populations overwintering in the Pacific Northwest. Just 170 psyllids were captured in 2014, with four testing positive for Liberibacter. No[Read More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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