For farmers and researchers, a field is often like a giant chemistry set. The timing and amounts of different fertilizers to supply nutrients can interact with each other, the soil, and crops. For example, potassium, an essential macronutrient for crops, is often applied to a field in the form of potassium chloride. Sarah Light, an agronomy farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, led a study on the timing of potassium chloride in potato fields.
Potato Sustainability Alliance podcast: ‘Exploring how to tell the story of sustainability’
“For farmers and the industry to tell an accurate and useful sustainability story for potatoes, we need to incorporate additional aspects into our sustainability programs beyond just asking questions and getting answers and scoring them on a scale,” says John Mesko, Executive Director of the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) during the latest episode of the organization’s podcast series.
Researcher seeks input on factors influencing farmers’ adoption of Smart Farming Technology
Grainne Dilleen, a researcher at South East Technological University in Ireland, is conducting a Ph.D study to investigate the internal and external factors that influence farmers’ intention to adopt Smart Farming Technology (SFT). Specifically, she is interested in the role of trust in technology providers and the influence of the farmer’s network on the adoption decision. Grainne looks forward to hear from potato farmers worldwide.
Lasers, drones and AI: The future of weeding
No-one likes weeding, but new technology is helping farmers around the world tackle weeds in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way, as David Silverberg reports in a news report for BBC News. Deanna Kovar from US farming equipment giant John Deere says that the company’s new tractor-pulled weed sprayer can reduce herbicide use by two thirds. For farmers elsewhere in the world, a number of rival firms, both large and small, have developed similar smart-weeding technologies.
Boosting crop health with tailored nutrition and biologicals: Insights from a British potato grower
A Yorkshire farmer in Britain credits the use of tailored nutrition and some biologicals with boosting the overall health of his potato crop. Richard Smith farms 3,000 acres of combinable crops including 320ha of potatoes. “Biologicals have a part to play in general crop health – keeping them in the mix is important, it’s just vital that you understand where best to use them in your programme,” he says.
‘Growing the Potato Crop’: Irish potato manual a ‘game changer’ for East African farmers
Irish international development agency Vita launched the book ‘Growing the Potato Crop’ by former Teagasc stalwart and renowned potato expert John Burke a few years ago. The book, which is expected to be a significant game changer for potato farmers in East Africa, focusses on improving potato productivity in sub Saharan Africa. Iverk Produce has uploaded the 395 page book as a pdf file on its website.
Managing Director at Scottish Agronomy: ‘Finding the balance between saving the planet and feeding the world’
Agriculture is a fundamental part of Scotland’s economy and modern farming activities can have a profound effect on our landscape, communities, and diversity of landscape, writes Adam Christie, Managing Director at Scottish Agronomy in a recent blog post on the farmer-owned cooperative’s website. With the pressure of feeding the eight billion mouths now on the planet, up from three billion as recently as 1960, “the difficulty is going to be finding the balance between saving the planet and feeding the world,” Mr. Christie says.
Canada: Alberta potato operation heading into unexplored territory with livestock, crop rotation
These days farmers are encouraged to be experimental, and to conduct trials on their own land to see what works best for them. What agronomists may not say is just how nerve-wracking it can be. And that goes double when doing something that has rarely, if ever, been done before, writes Jeff Melchior in a news article for AlbertaFarmer Express.
UK: Norfolk farm business wins Potato Grower of the Year prize
A Norfolk farm business which has invested in its future sustainability is celebrating after being named national Potato Grower of the Year. Heygate Farms Swaffham won the title at the second-ever National Arable and Grasslands Awards ceremony in London. Farms director William Gribbon said the accolade was a tribute to the efforts of his 12-strong team, the strength of the firm’s Norfolk Peer and Norfolk Keepers potato brands – and a “significant investment” in sustainability.
Report: Agtech start-ups need to address farmers’ challenges about agtech solutions
Agriculture tech can drive more inclusive and sustainable growth for farmers, but only if agtech start-ups make a concerted effort to address farmers’ persistent challenges about agtech solutions, according to research by leading global consultancy, McKinsey & Company. The latest report from McKinsey’s Agriculture practice, Agtech: Breaking down the farmer adoption dilemma, identifies the barriers holding farmers back from using agtech more widely.
Canadian company solving nutrient management problems for potato growers
The Leaf Evaluated-Nutrient System (LENS) from Picketa is the first step in the company’s quest to solve nutrient management problems for potato growers through the increasing supply chain and climate challenges. Over the last year, Picketa staff have worked on developing the LENS management system. The LENS system launched a month ago, on November 15th, marking almost two years of scientific research and development.
McCain Foods Sustainability Report: Key progress and opportunity for sustainable, regenerative food production
Today McCain Foods Limited (McCain) released its Sustainability Report, underpinning its commitment to producing delicious, planet-friendly food. The report includes the organizations sustainability results from the past Fiscal Year, demonstrating how McCain is responding to the challenges faced by climate change, its priority on enhancing soil health and farming partners’ transition to more regenerative practices.
Growing little potatoes, finding a niche market, and the joys of putting a crop in the ground
If you sit down and talk to many of our parents and grandparents, they will remember harvesting potatoes from the garden growing up, and getting rid of the small, undersized potatoes, says Kara Oosterhuis in this edition of The Successors podcast by RealAgriculture. Flash forward to 2014, and Little Lake Farms Ltd., based out of Burdett, Alberta in Canada, decided they were going to base their farming operation around the very thing that used to be considered not sufficient enough: little potatoes.
Restrain to exhibit its ethylene storage technology at potato trade show in Manitoba
From January 24 – 26, Restrain will be exhibiting at the Manitoba Potato Production Days Conference & Trade Show in Canada. Restrain is a manufacturer and distributor of ethylene generators. Restrain generators control sprouting in post-harvest potatoes, in a more natural way than any other agri-chemical method. Restrain is a natural sprout inhibitor based on the natural gas ethylene.
Ontario Potato Conference to focus on key grower issues, including soil health, water management, pest and diseases
The 2023 Ontario Potato Conference will be hosted on Thursday, March 2 by the Ontario Potato Board in the Delta Hotel & Conference Center, Guelph. The wide variety of topics to be addressed by speakers were selected from growers’ requests, according to the principal organizer of the Conference, Dr. Eugenia Banks.
Steps to tackle potato cyst nematodes after granular nematicides
The last remaining granular nematicide for potato cyst nematode (PCN) control, Nemathorin (fosthiazate) faces an uncertain future on UK farms, as Mike Abram reports for Farmers Weekly. At the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association (Cupgra) conference, Scottish Agronomy’s senior potato agronomist Eric Anderson highlighted four areas where action is needed, or more research required.
Scottish potato grower drawn to air curtains to help environment, curb energy costs
A Scottish potato grower found that investing in better air flow in his stores, had reaped major benefits for crop quality and energy costs, while also reducing the environmental impact, as John Sleigh reports for The Scottish Farmer. James Fairlie, who grows potatoes at Kirkton of Monikie, in Angus, recently had air curtains fitted to two of his stores and is already noticing a difference in air flow, energy use and quality of his crop.
Why a good potato storage facility is worth the investment
“I recently visited a state-of-the-art potato storage in western Manitoba, a very large building with all the bells and whistles,” writes Peter Alder, Appraiser at FFC in this technical article. “I could feel the excitement and pride shared by the owner of this large facility as it promises to deliver everything a pile of potatoes would ever need to make it through the storage season in great condition and deliver a great quality product just-in-time to the processing plant.”
Outlook 2023: British potato growers face cost structure challenge, some growers to exit
Discussions on supply contracts for the 2023 potato crop have commenced early, although at the time of writing, many potato growers in the UK are no further forward in reaching agreement, as Robert Harris reports for Farmers Weekly. A reduction in area is both necessary and inevitable, says Andersons director Nick Blake. A number of growers are choosing to exit.
Modern precision ag: How Black Gold Farms implements Agremo’s AI based drone system to make accurate plant stand counts
Black Gold Farms is one of the U.S.’s large geographically diverse potato producers. Three years ago, the company decided to put Agremo’s AI based drone system for determining accurate plant stand counts to the test. Since 2020, the number of fields surveyed by drones and analyzed by Agremo’s image software has rapidly increased to now include 100% of Black Gold’s potato production acres.
Canada: Potato project focuses on sustainability, bedding practices for potato crops
Traditionally potato producers in Canada use the late fall to prepare their potato beds for the following spring. The long-established process has its benefits, but also creates concerns, including loss of soil fertility, crop nutrient availability and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. A new research project at Lethbridge College will work to determine what steps can be taken to ensure the best result for producers, while also moving toward environmentally sustainable agriculture practices.
Multimillion dollar programme in New Zealand aims to provide growers with a nitrogen management tool
Sustainable Vegetable Systems (SVS) is a $7.5 million dollar multi-tiered research programme, funded by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, led and co-funded by Potatoes New Zealand in collaboration with the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board and Horticulture NZ. SVS provides the data and subsequent modelling of vegetable nutrient uptake and nitrogen leaching. Potatoes New Zealand recently uploaded three videos on its YouTube channel to explain the SVS programme goals and activities.
Study in Canada’s Alberta province looking at rapid detection and early diagnosis of potato diseases
Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) recently announced a project to establish a system for early and rapid diagnosis of all potato diseases, and provide Alberta potato growers a proactive surveillance platform. The outcomes from this project will benefit all Alberta’s potato producers and plant disease researchers.
Sustainability: Nitrogen management in the spotlight for New Zealand’s potato and vegetable sectors
The so-called Sustainable Vegetable Systems Programme (SVS) in New Zealand is in its third year and is making great progress towards improving tools and guidelines for the country’s potato and vegetable sectors’ nitrogen management. Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes NZ says the organization is excited to enable a more sustainable approach to vegetable growing with positive impacts on environmental, economic and social outcomes.
RNA-based Colorado potato beetle product hopes for 2023 registration
More help is on the way for U.S. farmers who struggle to control Colorado potato beetle, as Tim Hammerich of the Ag Information Network reports in a ‘Farm of the Future’ report. Greenlight Biosciences has reportedly developed an RNA-based pesticide alternative that chief commercial officer Mark Singleton says is highly targeted, environmentally-friendly, and safe for consumers.