Smart Farming

The Spornado: An alert system for late blight, other crop diseases

Spornado is an early alert system for late blight and other crop diseases, for growers that want to optimize their fungicide use. Currently, most potato growers don’t know when late blight is in their field until they see it and it is often too late, says 20/20 Seed Labs. Inc in a press release. The company says there is often a lot of guesswork involved for growers in anticipating when disease may strike and when to spray.

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Why potato sprout management now starts in the field

Potato storage experts and growers in Britain believe that sprout suppressant measures are best kicked off in the field following the loss of CIPC (chlorpropham), after seeing positive results from well-timed applications of maleic hydrazide (MH) last year. Many growers entered the current storage season with some trepidation, having based sprout control plans on products they had little or no experience using, such as mint oil or ethylene gas.

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‘Farms of the Future’: McCain pledges to use only regeneratively-farmed potatoes by 2030

As part of today’s release of McCain’s 2020 Global Sustainability report the company is pledging that it will be implementing regenerative agricultural practices across 100 per cent of its global potato acreage by 2030. This transition will restore and protect soil health and quality and look to natural processes to control pests, prevent plant disease and strengthen crops against severe weather events.

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Post-diquat: How an easy-to-use app can help with tight potato margins

At the sharp end of the season, potato maincrops might be increasing or decreasing in value by as much as £100/ha/day as yields increase and segment proportions change, writes Mike Abram in this article published by Farmers Weekly in the UK. Harvest too early and yields are unlikely to be maximised; harvest too late and a higher proportion of the crop might be oversized and subject to a lower price.

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Multi-year project in Maine to improve soil health, potato yield and quality

Good soil is fundamental to growing healthy, productive, and profitable crops. Jay Hao, Professor of Plant Pathology for the University of Maine, is working to reduce pathogens and improve soil health, by planting rotational crops after potatoes. “Because the tubers stay in the soil, you face a lot of soil borne pathogens. That can cause a lot of diseases. So instead of controlling one disease versus multiple, we do the integrated way by using different crops as a nutrient input and also as a disease suppression strategy.”

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Modern-day air systems for potato equipment: ‘Cushioning the blow’

Approximately 95 per cent of LOCKWOOD’s equipment uses an air system. The company utilizes air in planting, harvesting, and handling and cleaning equipment. Air systems offer growers many benefits. For example, they are gentler on potatoes than mechanical systems, they’re user-friendly and low maintenance as there are no moving parts involved but simply an air stream, and they’re accurate and efficient. There are a few other systems out there, but the most economical uses air.

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Meijer Potato installs Soil Scout sensors

In a first for Soil Scout in the UK, the company reports that Meijer Potato have recently installed Soil Scout sensors in various key locations around the country. This is the first growing season that Meijer will be monitoring underground soil conditions in their fields and Soil Scout is extremely proud that they have chosen the Soil Scout solution to provide this highly beneficial data.

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Spray coverage crucial in crusade against blight, says potato specialists

With resistance to fluazinam now established in the blight populations in the UK and a continuing shift towards more aggressive P. infestans populations such as 36_A2 and 37_A2, a robust resistance management strategy is essential to safeguard crops. SRUC specialist in blight epidemiology Dr. Ruairidh Bain, believes that spray coverage is one of the key factors of the blight control programme that needs to be improved to protect potato crops.

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Using cutting-edge science to protect African farmers’ potato crops, incomes, and food security

In a blog post on Global Food for Thought, guest authors Chris Kennedy and Bob Easter examine how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa can promote global food security. It has to start with good seed, they write. Their seed has to have the genetic traits to not only produce more grain or fruit or tubers, but it also has to have the traits that make the plant resistant to the crops’ natural enemies and climate threats.

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Why an integrated approach is key to tackling potato virus Y threat

Potato Virus Y is dealt with by a zero-tolerance policy at Albanwise Farming in North Yorkshire in the UK, where the specialist operation has 40ha of processing ware and 360ha of seed potatoes in the ground for 2021, consisting of 31 different varieties. “It has to be a belt and braces approach, but it doesn’t have to be all about insecticides. There are other ways to keep the guard up and we are making use of a whole range of techniques,” says Tom England, the company’s seed potato production manager.

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Webinar: The future of commercial potato storage in the UK – experts discuss energy and costs

What is the future of commercial potato storage in the UK? AHDB will gather a panel of experts on Tuesday, 1 June to discuss this matter during a webinar. The panel will be looking at what it costs to store potatoes in 2021, how it can be done more efficiently and take a look at the most important consideration for any business: the bottom line. Topics include energy efficiency, other storage costs and return on investment.

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Blight fungicide and application trials at Eurofins

Michael Tait, Syngenta Technical Manager and Harry Fordham, Syngenta New Farming Technologies Lead present the 2020 Syngenta trials at Eurofins in this video published on the SyngentaUK YouTube channel. Tait and Fordham report on blight fungicide activity and new application advice for the Syngenta 3D90 nozzle, delivering outstanding efficacy, along with 90% drift reduction.

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Leadership Institute Alumni Summit: ‘Good leaders never stop learning’

The Leadership Institute Alumni Summit, July 13-15, will bring together US Potato Industry Leadership Institute graduates to network, refresh skills, and learn new techniques to better position themselves for success in the potato industry. All past graduates of the Institute are invited to participate in the three 90-minute workshops that will be active, engaging, fast-paced, high energy and packed with tips to put to use immediately.

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Crop4Sight releases innovative irrigation scheduling tool

Crop4Sight’s online and mobile digital toolkit is designed to help growers maximise saleable potato yields and was launched as a commercial service in 2020. With a strong research and development pipeline, Crop4Sight is pleased to announce the release of its easy to use potato irrigation scheduling tool. The new irrigation schedule tool uses a state-of-the-art potato specific water balance model. The tool delivers convenient irrigation schedules whenever a grower requires them.

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Syngenta publishes ‘Potato Agronomy Guide 2021’ for British growers

Syngenta in the UK recently published its annual agronomy advice guide with tips and recommendations suited for potato growers in the UK. Some of the topics discussed in the guide include: Soil pest management, nematicide stewardship, seed and soil pathogens, maintaining blight protection, biostimulant benefit from Syngenta science research, and more.

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AVR’s Ceres 440 gathers planting data from Potato Europe demo fields

Last month, equipment manufacturer AVR provided one of its newest, cloud connected Ceres 440 planters to the Potato Europe organisation to plant the demo fields for the coming Potato Europe 2021 event in Lelystad, the Netherlands. The four-row 440 planter neatly planted the trial plots under the watchful eye of the Noordoostpolder mayor, sending its real-time planting information live to the digital AVR Connect platform.

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UK distributor of seaweed-based biostimulant: ‘Farming industry ignores valuable research’

A Lincolnshire farmer believes many in the industry are ignoring valuable research into how best to protect crops from extreme weather conditions and are losing millions of pounds as a result. Marcus Palmer is the sole UK distributor of Algifol, a seaweed-based biostimulant. Marcus says recent unexpected frosts, combined with almost no rainfall in April, will have had a drastic effect on many growers, who rely solely on chemical fertilisers.

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Inca Plus: Optimising calcium mobility in crops for increased yields

Omya UK Ltd has launched InCa Plus, an advanced foliar treatment for brassicas, leafy greens and root vegetables, which delivers higher marketable yield for farmers. It has been proven in multiple independent trials to optimise calcium mobility in crops, including potatoes. In over 200 trials on potatoes globally, Inca Plus delivered an average 1.5 t/ha increase in marketable yields.

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A unique vertical farm can produce 10 times more seed potatoes a year

Less than a year after the opening of the World-class Scientific Center “Agrotechnologies for the Future”, Russian scientists had a breakthrough: the first-ever vertical farm with dynamic LED lighting. They presented the first pre-production prototype of a vertical farm. The rapid seed reproduction facility combines state-of-the-art digital technology with organic farming techniques, and have grown healthy potato seed for further multiplication in the field.

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The Rhizoctonia threat: British potato growers advised on control measures after cold and dry spring

During April 2021 the UK experienced cold and dry conditions which haven’t been seen in some years. Moving into May, much of the country has received – or is about to receive – some much needed rain, together with an increase in temperatures. Earlier-planted crops may now be ready to crack above the soil surface. Rhizoctonia solani will be a threat to watch out for especially early in the season.

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Report: Insecticide resistance in aphids and virus management in potatoes

A new report indicates the pyrethroid sensitivity of two important aphid virus vectors. Sue Cowgill, AHDB Crop Protection Senior Scientist (Pests) in the UK looks at what the results mean for potato growers. Sue writes that these days, growers have access to fewer modes of action to control insect pests. Concerns that this encourages the emergence of resistance are recognised in the Draft National Action Plan for the sustainable use of pesticides. While this may eventually deliver a comprehensive strategy for insecticide resistance management; in the short term, we have to use the information and insecticides that are available now.

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Maximize planting success with an air cup planter, says Lockwood’s chief engineer

Anyone can get potatoes into the ground. If you want to maximize your time, land and in-put efficiency — and ultimately make more money — getting potatoes into the ground quickly and with accurate depth and spacing is critical. The technology that can make all of that happen is an air cup planter, says Michael Nilson, Chief Engineer at Lockwood Manufacturing in North Dakota.

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Canadian potato growers, scouts can now download practical resources for the season

Canadian potato growers and scouts can now find three online scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields throughout this season. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada magazine hosted a webinar series with Dr. Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Dr. Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.

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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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APH Group announces new Baselier rotary cultivator

APH Group recently introduced the brand new Baselier rotary cultivator to the market. The new Baselier has a heavy-duty frame as standard and the potential to add different options for vegetables on the machine. The new machine is fitted with the so-called, “Mountain APH Group high-speed plates”, to obtain the most “full ridges” compared to similar machines in the market. Standard these new plates are fitted with special high resistance wearing plates for smooth ridges and a low maintenance cost.

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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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Meet ‘Tom’, a world-first commercial monitoring robot to do non-chemical ‘per plant weeding’

Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced its first commercial robot, ‘Tom’. SRC’s first service using Tom will be per plant weeding, a world-first milestone. This is now in field trials, with Tom scanning first arable crops to detect weeds, and robot weeding prototype ‘Dick’ then zapping individual weeds with electrical ‘lightning strikes’, using no chemicals.

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Lockwood Mfg

JADBio Webinar

Urschel

Spornado

FAM Stumabo