“Overall, Eastern Canada has been dryer than normal at this time of year.” So says Dwayne Coffin of Vanco Farms in Mount Albion, PEI, who is carefully watching how the 2020 crop of Prince Edward Island potatoes is developing. Coffin describes the growing season as a Catch-22. “Most growers were pleased to get their crop in on a timely manner. But it’s been extremely dry for our region,” he says. As of right now, a harvest date for the crop is still in the air.
Potato is the second most consumed crop in Kenya after maize. However, majority of the farmers still struggle to access quality clean seed and this has always led to reduced productivity. Using rooted apical cuttings introduced through USAID’s Feed the Future Accelerated Value Chain Development Program (AVCD) is changing this. Cuttings are similar to nursery grown seedlings. They are produced from tissue culture plantlets in a screenhouse and are clean and free from disease.
NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota last week introduced a new growing season newsletter that will combine information for potato growers. In the first issue of Spud Scoop, potato specialists cover late blight severity, herbicide injury and aphid trap counts. Late blight has not been reported in ND, MN or MB at the time of the publication (July 3). The number of herbicide injury problems in potato have been more commonplace, according to Andy Robinson. Ian MacRae reports that aphid trap capture overall was very low with few aphids being recovered in traps.
A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. recently announced the launch of VitTellus Bio, a new soil health test for the agriculture industry that quantifies soil microbial populations which support improved soil health and greater crop productivity. A&L says in a news release that VitTellus Bio is a new analysis which complements the VitTellus Soil Health test, a diagnostic used to make more informed decisions on application of nutrients, managing and improving soil health.
According to AHDB in the UK, Spotlight and/or Gozai straights or combinations, along with flailing, can give virtually as quick desiccation as diquat. This was shown in trials and demonstrations across AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm network to evaluate potential replacements have shown. But at what cost? Dr Mark Stalham, Head of NIAB CUF who led the trials, reveals the results, and Mark Topliff from AHDB’s Farm Economics team crunches the numbers.
In this AHDB hosted webinar we follow a potato crop through its life cycle and look at how cutting edge technology can help growers optimise their potential. Presentations by Paul Coleman of Crop4Sight, Jim Wilson of Soil Essentials. Vee Gururajan of B-Hive Innovations Ltd and Ed Hodson of Grimme UK.
Innovative Farmers, a not for profit membership network for farmers and growers in the UK, reports on a ‘field lab’ that explores the practice of establishing trap crops to control potato cyst nematode (PCN) – the UK’s primary potato pest. Currently, the main control option is to use nematicides hazardous to operators and the environment, which only prevent one season’s crop yield and do not prevent PCN increase. Innovative Farmers says an alternative cultural control method is the use of trap crops, which limit nematode multiplication and reduce existing soil PCN populations.
The University of Idaho and its crop consultant collaborators across the state are continuing the monitoring program for potato psyllids, zebra chip disease (ZC) and liberibacter (Lso), the bacterium associated with ZC. The monitoring program covers commercial potato fields throughout southern Idaho and is funded in part by the Idaho Potato Commission and generous in-kind contributions by collaborators.
The University of Idaho and the Idaho Potato Commission have produced a series of short videos in which growers will find hints and tips on how to minimize bruising of potato tubers throughout the production process and when moving potatoes into marketing channels. These videos were recently uploaded by Bill Schaeffer to his YouTube channel.
The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that the area for consumption potatoes in North-Western Europe increased with 0,5% compared with last year towards 621.148 ha. Under current market conditions, this is considered as too large an acreage, however, the COVID-19 situation arrived at a time when growers already ordered their seed potatoes and rented potato land, and for many it was too late for an area reduction. According to the NEPG, there are many more questions than answers during the current growing season in most potato producing countries around the world.
A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has supplied its largest-ever order to France. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has sent 12 of its Evolution separators to DOWNS, a French manufacturer of potato handling and storage equipment. According to a press release issued today, the unique machines, which gently separate vegetables from soil and clod and haulms, will be incorporated into DOWNS grading machines which have been ordered by farmers across France, Belgium and Europe.
Listen during this upcoming AHDB Potatoes webinar tomorrow (9 July) to what potato growers are planning across the AHDB strategic farm network. Through the week folks will have learnt about markets, research and commercial innovation – this session will discuss how this is being applied in the field and what growers can do to progress. Eric Anderson will offer an agronomist’s perspective on how we can build better strategies towards PCN management and the latest views on alternative approaches to virus control.
Growers and scouts in Canada can now download three scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada 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, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.
AHDB Potatoes in the UK hosted a webinar with on these topics yesterday, the 7th of July. Participating presentations by Dr Bill Watts, Dr Marc Allison, Andrew Webster, Prof Ian Toth, Dr Jane Thomas and Dr Andy Evans.
New UK potato figures have revealed a mere 1% drop in planted area despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional estimates from AHDB show the planted area in Great Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1% drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. Covid-19 doesn’t appear to have had an effect on planting decisions as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.
Potato production in the Northwest was strong in 2019, and the outlook for 2020 looks similar, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake-based Washington State Potato Commission. “We had a good harvest of the 2019 crop, great quality, strong yields, and strong pricing for our growers and shippers,” he said. The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19 remained perhaps the top concern across the industry, said Gary Roth, executive director of the Portland-based Oregon Potato Commission.
In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked “experts” what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like “mythographer” – no scientists invited – so it’s no surprise only one response had real-world relevance, A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone. How out-of-touch with the world must you be when you wish to go back in time 10,000 years and re-implement periodic famine?
British potato growers can now access the latest blight forecasting information with launch of a new simple to use smartphone app by UPL UK & Ireland. The UPL Blight Forecast App, displays Hutton Period and Smith Period data, alongside additional layers of information such as leaf wetness and spray conditions. Once downloaded, users can identify and save multiple field locations by adding a pin in a satellite map.
Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.
New estimates show a small drop in the UK planted area for potatoes despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional figures from AHDB show the planted area in Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1 percent drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. The figures suggest a minimal impact from the coronavirus crisis on planting decisions, as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.
Folks, I have nothing to add, really? Just watch the video below and you will see and realize how many potato growers – especially in the Northwest of the US – suffered an unprecedented and terrible catastrophe this year when the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry… It is sad, it is nearly unthinkable – but it is real… Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those hard working potato growers…
The vegetable industry in 2020 is living through extraordinary times. The State of the Vegetable Industry survey that Growing Produce conducted this year gave invaluable insight into what you are experiencing when it comes to production issues, labor, and specialized areas like protected agriculture and technology. “When the government says you can’t have any customers, guess who becomes your customer? The government,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) says. It’s only a short-term solution, he says.
Potato rowers can tune in to hear about all the latest in potato research through a series of webinars from the AHDB in the UK, Running from July 6 until the 9th, AHDB has put together a virtual ‘Potato Showcase Week’ highlighting the results of the on-farm trials taking place at its Strategic Potato Farms across the UK, as well as a series of webinars on industry-related topics ranging from agronomic management to future solutions and market dynamics.
AHDB Potatoes in the UK published a great info graphic this week that provides a snapshot overview of the state of affairs in that part of the potato world on a single page, Well done, AHDB Potatoes! We are happy to re-publish your graph here.
Following the second wettest winter on record across Britain, dealing with crop trash and volunteers has been difficult to tackle in the field. This will lead to an increased inoculum reservoir and a heightened risk for development of alternaria and late blight this season. Technical Manager at UPL UK & IE, and potato crop specialist, Don Pendergrast discusses further.