Smart Farming

British potato growers reminded to follow nematicide best practices

Potato growers are being reminded to follow the best practice granular nematicide use protocol this spring to ensure products are used safely and effectively. Nick Winmill, potato technical manager at Agrii and member of the Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP), urges growers to visit the NSP website to brush up their knowledge on best practice application of granular nematicides before planting.[Read More…]

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Scottish researchers to review ways to lower agricultural nitrogen emissions

Scottish climate change researchers are exploring ways that farmers could reduce emissions from nitrogen fertiliser use. Led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and funded by ClimateXChange, the project forms part of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan. The plan specifically highlights nitrogen fertiliser as a potential area of improvement and suggests this could be achieved through a combination of improved[Read More…]

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New Zealand: Future spuds that pack a nutritious punch

“Will the future of farming look more like Star Trek than Footrot Flats, with drones, probes and farmers behind screens rather than tractor wheels?,” asks Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes NZ in a recent article published on the PNZ website. “New Zealand potato growers produce a reliable yield, with a great deal of hardwork and many growers[Read More…]

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Trending: Are shipping container farms the future of the industry?

Could shipping containers be the future of farming? According to Cleveland Containers in the UK, they can. The company states that shipping containers could provide an answer to the rapid demand for local produce. According to the company, the trend for local food has risen over the last few years and as a result, the demand for local produce is[Read More…]

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The age we live in: Could computer games help farmers adapt to climate change?

Web-based gaming, such as simulation games, can promote innovative communication strategies that engage farmers with scientific research and help them adapt to climate change. Methods employed to tackle climate change, such as, for example, improving drainage systems to cope with increased levels of precipitation, are known as adaptation strategies. “Maladaptation” is the implementation of poor decisions or methods that were[Read More…]

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New video series released on bacterial diseases of potato

Potato production in Michigan is ranked seventh (~$200 million) in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of the potatoes produced in Michigan goes towards chipping. Potato production systems are impacted annually by many recurrent and persistent seedborne and storage diseases. Dickeya and Pectobacterium are closely related bacteria species that cause seed piece decay, blackleg, aerial stem rot and wilt, and tuber soft rot. A[Read More…]

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Organic farming ‘key to carbon neutrality’, report finds

Organic farming and other forms of agroecological agriculture can make a major contribution to the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 2°C, a new report has found. The study by French think-tank IDDRI, entitled Agroecology and carbon neutrality: what are the issues?, looks at how climate mitigation strategies often rely on intensifying food production, proposing to increase yields to free up land[Read More…]

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Potato nutrition: Remove the guesswork

“My Father-in-Law, let’s call him Joe – because that’s his name – is a great sports fan,” writes Jimmy Ridgway, Crop Manager, Potato – Yara North America, in the latest Top Potato newsletter. “He enjoys all kinds of sports, but he is especially a student of baseball. One of the things he’s taught me is the old idiom you can’t[Read More…]

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Syngenta BlightCast launched two weeks ahead of normal in the UK

Syngenta BlightCast has been launched two weeks ahead of normal this season, with reports of early crops in the south west coming under pressure as plastic covers are removed. Whilst planting has been progressing across the country in generally good conditions, cool soil temperatures have slowed development. Now, with forecast temperatures set to warm up, growers and agronomists can be[Read More…]

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Why herbicides fail at times

It’s a problem many growers have experienced at some point. You put down a pre-emergence herbicide marketed as having residual control, only to find unwanted weeds sprouting up a few weeks later. So you follow it up with a post-emergence herbicide, but still find a few pesky weeds. Why? Let’s consider a few reasons why herbicides can fail. The herbicide[Read More…]

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Upcoming World Potato Congress webinar to focus on seed potato handling from storage to planting

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to be offering its third webinar in its 2019 series with Dr. Gary Secor. Dr. Secor is a world renowned potato specialist and Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, USA. Dr. Secor’s webinar presentation Best Management Practices for Seed Potato Handling from Storage[Read More…]

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Using technology to reduce N and optimise planting rate

New technology is being put to full use to show that reduced use of fertiliser and fine-tuning seed spacings can save money while increasing potato yields, in trials at the AHDB’s SPot Farm, at Meigle in Scotland. Working with Scottish based hi-tech specialists, Soil Essentials, a range of measures – including satellite imaging and radar technology – have been used[Read More…]

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Smart tech ‘can boost yields and limit waste’

Field trials by Asda potato growers in the UK highlight need for more standardised data management, helping to prevent produce falling outside specs. Standardised data measurement can help maximise yields and reduce food waste, field trials have revealed. Conducted in East Anglia during the 2017 growing season, the trials have shown how the use of smart technology, combined with training[Read More…]

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4R practices for fertilizer management in potatoes

Phosphorus is a key nutrient for the development of the potato plant and tubers, writes The Fertilizer Institute’s Director of Agronomy Sally Flis on The status of P in the plant, deficient or sufficient, is closely related to yield. With the high value of a potato crop and the influence of proper phosphorus nutrition on plant and tuber development,[Read More…]

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British potato planting declarations now online only

Your statutory planting return must be made via the online portal this year. Support will be available to all growers who need it, either over the phone or face to face in your own farm office. Jack Atkins, Levy Assistant, said: “The change will bring several cost savings and benefits. The online system is quick, efficient and is the most secure way to handle personal[Read More…]

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Dickeya: A difficult-to-detect potato threat

Dickeya blackleg is a relatively new potato disease with which North American growers are having to contend. First detected in the U.S. in 2015, several states have since confirmed cases of the seed-borne disease caused by the Dickeya dianthicola pathogen. Dickeya is typically symptomless when dormant, adding to the unintentional, undetected spread of the disease via seed pieces. There are currently no[Read More…]

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New irrigation technologies give more options for improved watering systems

CropLogic is a New Zealand-based company with international offices in Australia and the U.S. The company chose to launch an office at the College of Southern Idaho last year, however, because it believes the Idaho potato industry would particularly benefit from its technologies. CropLogic’s soil moisture probe — or capacitance probe — uses an electrical current to measure soil moisture.[Read More…]

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How to stop sprouting in potato stores without CIPC

With alternative sprout control options limited or unviable in the short term, the loss of CIPC will require growers to consider a more integrated approach to long-term potato storage. It is estimated that 80% of CIPC application in the UK is to stored potato crops and applied as a hot fog, it has provided a cheap and effective means of[Read More…]

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How can potato seed programs be improved?

Most potato seed certifying bodies ensure growers plant healthy, clean tubers. The systems are working as intended. Yet with so many different groups operating with their own list of rules, problems can arise, says Carol Miller, editor of American Vegetable Grower in a recent article published on its website. Carol reached out to those participating in seed potato programs across the[Read More…]

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Intellectual property: How two Canadian farmers developed a most tasteful potato variety

Without agronomy, we would all be naked, hungry and sober. This memorable quote is making the rounds of winter meetings, a reminder of the enduring importance of research, writes Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower magazine in Canada in a recently published article. On-farm research is nothing new, she writes, but for brothers Shawn and Chris Brenn, Waterdown, Ontario, the[Read More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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