Weather/Climate

‘Fight Against Blight’ resumes in Britain: Now accepting blight samples, reaching out to volunteer scouts

British potato growers are able to submit fresh blight samples for analysis again as the James Hutton Institute (JHI) re-opens its labs. AHDB reports that the news will be welcome to potato growers following a number of blight warnings around the UK in the last few days. JHI was previously unable to accept samples due to government restrictions. The service offers growers a chance to contribute to ongoing work genotyping strains of blight. It relies on ‘blight scouts’ submitting samples from potato crops.

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Canadian crop report: Dry growing conditions coast to coast

United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) has released its latest crop update. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager, reports that the Canadian potato crop is in the “growing stage”. There is a recurring theme from coast to coast: It is dry – but the crop is not suffering yet because it is in the early stages of development, but does need rain soon. UPGC provides a snapshot of the crop status and market across Canada

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Late blight spore traps in action in Canada; more Colorado potato beetles seen by scouts

Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada, yesterday took a picture of one of several spore trap devices in operation on potato farms in that region. Earlier this week Dr Banks reported in her regular email newsletter that most of the fields in central Ontario that were planted in early May are filling the rows, and she said tuber size is good so far. Dr Banks mentioned that more Colorado potato beetles (CPBs) than usual are observed by potato scouts in Ontario. She asks: “if insecticide resistance is ruled out, what could be the reason for seeing more CPBs this season?”

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Prince Edward Island potato growers ‘very concerned’ by drought

It’s been great weather for going to the beach, and not bad yet for potato farmers, but they are going to need the weather to turn soon, reports the CBC’s Kevin Yarr. The Island has seen two heat waves in the last week, and the dry spell goes back to the beginning of April. A dry spring is not necessarily a bad thing, said Donald. It’s good for planting if the fields aren’t muddy, because it’s easy to get farm equipment on to them.

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Trimble appoints Sencrop as a Select Partner for Agriculture

Sencrop has announced that it has been chosen as a Trimble Select Partner for agriculture. Under the Trimble Select Partner Program, Sencrop’s connected ag-weather stations will be available to customers through the Trimble and Vantage™ distribution networks in the European Union (EU) and in the United Kingdom (UK) as part of Trimble’s marketplace dedicated to precision agriculture. Sencrop is the only fully connected ag-weather ecosystem in Europe.

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Staying on top of late blight: Canadian potato industry put spore trapping technology to work

On June 18 a crop consultant in Alberta told Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, that spore traps in the province had caught late blight spores. Ontario is going through a wave of hot and dry weather, and out west in Alberta, it’s the opposite with cooler, wet weather. In response to the discovery, of late blight in 2014, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) supported a spore-trapping project. In Ontario, Eugenia Banks lead a two-year Ontario Potato Board project evaluating one type of spore trapping technology in order to help growers improve late blight management with good results.

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Potato blight warning issued across the UK

Potato growers across the UK should be on high alert for potato blight, following a period of warm, wet weather. Rain showers, coupled with warming temperatures have heightened the threat of the major potato disease across many of the UK’s key growing regions. The Blightwatch alert system, hosted by AHDB and the MET Office, has displayed red warnings since June 11 – indicating the highest level of blight threat – just as many crops are reaching the crucial rapid canopy growth stage.

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Potato blight warning issued for Ireland

“Well that’s just what we need,: read a post/news item on the , Irish Post today, Ireland has been through a lot lately. The open border between the North and Republic was under threat from Brexit, the country is constantly getting battered by some new storm, and its citizens have been under lockdown for close to three months now.

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Are there signs of recovery for British potato markets?

According to a report by Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, the month of May has been relatively static across the industry in general. The initial lockdown caused a divergence in demand between the retail and food service sector. Speight writes in his report: “We have since seen their respective demand stabilise momentarily and we are at a juxtaposition that relies on further uplifting of lockdown restrictions for demand to increase.”Throughout May we had increased reports of chip shops reopening. Outlets that featured on take out apps, mostly in built up urban areas have reported to have a successful customer base.

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IFA: Potato market in Ireland largely unchanged; drought a concern across Europe

The IFA reports that the market situation remains largely unchanged in Ireland. Early liftings continue this week in the country, with drought conditions hindering yields in many areas. Irrigation is a key concern for all growers at present. Drought is a key concern across Europe. The drought in the Netherlands is seen as worse than that of 1976

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Jersey early potato yields down 40% on drought-hit island

Potato yields from the early Jersey Royal crop are down 40% as drought grips the Chanel Islands in bone dry conditions not seen since the drought of 1976. A very wet February was followed by virtually no rain through March and April, and the season on Jersey is running three or four weeks behind the normal lifting schedule.

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On-farm trials: Can brackish water be used for drip irrigating a potato crop?

New trials run by Innovative Farmers Field lab in the UK and funded by AHDB will research the possibility of using brackish water for potato irrigation, in particular drip irrigation. Grower members of Nene Potato Ltd planned a trial on use of slightly saline water with those able to offer technical support. The two aspects being investigated are effect of salinity and benefit of application by drip when using brackish water.

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Protect potato potential with amino acid based biostimulant, says adjuvant specialist company

Keeping potato crops stress-free is vital to protect yield and quality potential, and an amino acid based biostimulant could give crops an essential boost over the coming months, according to UK-based adjuvant technology company, Interagro. But in a year where mother nature just keeps on giving, keeping crops in optimum condition is a challenge that is quickly becoming a nightmare for most potato growers and their agronomists.

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Frost causes severe damage to early potato crops in Ireland

Sub-zero conditions have caused severe damage to potato haulms in some areas around Ireland. Nighttime temperatures this week dipped to -2.5°C in some areas, resulting in localised ground frost. Temperatures in Katesbridge, Northern Ireland, reached -6°C on 13 May. Reports came through on Friday morning from growers around the country of damage to early and early-main crop potatoes. Damage to emerged foliage ranges from mild to severe. Crops planted on low-lying land appear to have been worst affected.

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Rain decimates Tasmanian potato crop; processors fear European spuds will be dumped on Aussie market

Tasmanian potato growers, who produce the bulk of Australia’s French fries, are having a disastrous harvest. Months of wet weather is making it impossible to get onto paddocks in parts of the state. Processors Simplot and McCain Foods told the ABC they expect to lose 10 per cent of their entire crop this year. At the same time, processors fear a glut of European potatoes, caused by the shutdown of the food service sector, will be dumped on the Australian market.

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Potato crop in danger after months of extreme weather in Northern Ireland

Rain is urgently needed to save this season’s local potato crop, an industry figure has warned. Stuart Meredith, an agronomist with Wilson’s Country potato firm, said a particularly wet autumn, followed by one of the driest springs on record, had caused severe problems that had led to eight months of “absolute extremes for growers”. The east of Northern Ireland has been worst affected by the lack of rain.

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CIP researchers designed a smartphone app for potato irrigation monitoring

Recent research by scientists and students from CIP and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Peru, confirmed that images from infrared (a.k.a. thermographic) cameras can be used to detect water stress in potato crops, and thereby guide more efficient water use. CIP scientists recently developed a new, more user-friendly version of TIPCIP for the smartphones.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers.

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Potato season starts early in Majorca due to higher temperatures

The potato season has started much earlier than usual this year thanks to higher than average temperatures in Majorca between December and February. The Matthew Export company started collecting its Lady Christl variety on Wednesday and the first shipment will be on its way to the UK on Saturday. “Climate change is forcing us to adapt in many ways,” says Mateu Export’s Manager,[Read More…]

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US: Skagit County potato farmers lost crops due to heavy rain

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Potato farmers in Skagit County in Washington State suffered big losses after they were unable to harvest some of their crops. Farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 3 square miles of potatoes in the fall, with losses valued between $5 million and $10 million, The Skagit Valley Herald reported. Don McMoran of the Washington State[Read More…]

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Canada: Another winter of headaches for Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba potato growers are facing the inevitable result of a second extremely challenging digging season â€” elevated losses in storage. Wet weather in September and early October kept producers out of the fields, while a three-day snowstorm over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped upwards of 75 centimetres of snow in areas of south-central Manitoba, followed by yet more precipitation. Just 60 to 65[Read More…]

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Potatoes South Australia and industry band together to send wooden bins to fire ravaged Kangaroo Island

In response to the horrific bushfires on Kangaroo Island, Potatoes South Australia Inc has come up with some very practical assistance. Saddened by the devastating impact of the bushfires local farming communities in many parts of Australia, the unprecedented fires that have ravaged more than one third of Kangaroo Island are of particular concern for its members, stakeholders and their[Read More…]

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Canada: Make spring nutrient plans now, say Univ of Manitoba soil scientists

A series of looming challenges makes planning now for spring nutrient applications crucial, two Manitoba soil scientists say. A wet fall and stretched-out harvest kept many producers from applying nitrogen fertilizer. While spring nitrogen application is not unheard of, it will then have to compete with many other tasks, said University of Manitoba soil science professor Don Flaten. This may[Read More…]

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Nitrogen boosts may be necessary on British farms following wet winter washout

Farmers in Britain may need to apply more nitrogen to crops this year, following an exceptionally wet winter across most of the UK, according to the latest advice from AHDB. Charlotte Cunningham of CPM magazine reports. AHDB says the extent of the ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ excess winter rainfall (EWR) zones is already much wider this year, compared with the long-term average. Historically[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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