Weather/Climate

Dry conditions not hindering potato development in Britain, but common scab might be an issue

Potato planting in Britain has got off to a good start this season, with the dry conditions in some areas not expected to affect emergence. Velcourt Advisory Services agronomist Patrick Levinge says soils have been left very dry by the lack of rain, but at this stage, it should not be having a negative impact on crop development. Common scab is likely to be an issue on susceptible varieties.

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On the path to stress-tolerant potatoes

A good source of fibre and full of antioxidants, the potato is one of the most important food crops in the world – a crop that climate change is taking its toll on. How do different potatoes respond to heat, drought and waterlogging stresses? EU-backed scientists are investigating the changes that make potatoes resilient or susceptible.

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The looming threat for Maine’s iconic potato industry

So far, climate change has brought mixed news for farmers in Maine. It is linked to warmer temperatures and drought, but also brings more frequent and intense rainfall that can damage crops with rot or soil erosion. Extra warmth has helped add an extra week to the end of the typically short Maine potato growing season. But it comes with a suite of challenges.

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Biostimulant Bridgeway proven to combat heat stress in potatoes

Independent field trials have shown for a 4th year that Interagro’s amino acid + peptide biostimulant Bridgeway helps to combat the effects of heat stress in potato crops, enabling photosynthesis and tuberisation to be maintained. Importantly for growers it helped secure yield with significant increases and margin gains over untreated crops.

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Maine researchers work on climate-resistant potato

Maine researchers are on their way to creating a climate-resistant potato in order to maintain Maines’s ability to produce potato harvests. This has become a growing threat to Maine as climate change has impacted the growth of potatoes, making their quality go down, and the crop numbers drop dramatically.

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Can we engineer crops to withstand climate change?

Jennifer Brophy is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and is working on methods she hopes will be used to alter commercial plant species so they survive harsh conditions. By changing the genome of both commercial crops and soil bacteria, she thinks it may be possible to help plants survive droughts by retaining more water during a dry spell, or growing deeper roots to reach soil that hasn’t dried out yet.

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Megadrought in the American Southwest worst in 12 centuries, study finds

The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible. The drought, which began in 2000 and has reduced water supplies, devastated farmers and ranchers and helped fuel wildfires across the region, had previously been considered the worst in 500 years.

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Making clouds rain with electricity

“Get the hail off my crop and start making it rain on the plain with a plane”, farmers might be saying as new technology emerges. In mankind’s eternal quest to milk the clouds for rain, the latest and perhaps most promising technology involves a Cessna spray plane flying into clouds, releasing electrostatically charged water droplets.

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AUSVEG working with potato growers to monitor Ballarat storm aftermath

AUSVEG, and its State Member AUSVEG VIC, are monitoring the situation on-the-ground in Ballarat following reports that recent storms and wet weather have impacted much of the region’s potato crop. The region is an important supplier of potatoes, particularly for the processing industry. AUSVEG is reaching out to local growers to better understand the extent of the damage.

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NASA and NOAA: ‘Warmer now than in at least the past 2,000 years, probably longer’

The numbers are in: Earth is still running a fever. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their annual assessment of global temperatures and found that 2021 was the sixth warmest year on record. “It’s certainly warmer now than at any time in at least the past 2,000 years and probably much longer,” said Russell S. Vose, the climate analysis chief of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

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‘A kick in the guts’: Ballarat’s potato crops severely damaged by extreme weather

Up to 95 per cent of the potato crops in the Ballarat agricultural district have been damaged by storms last week, as the state braces for more wild weather. As Jane McNaughton reports for ABC Rural, some farmers in the region were reporting more than 200 millimetres of rain from the weather event. Ballarat Potato Growers Association chairman Chris Stephens said hail defoliated juvenile crops, which were already delayed due to the wet and cold summer.

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Fries in short supply due to Canada’s climate woes

A mix of drought in Canada’s prairies and flooding on its Pacific coast have brought about crop production and shipping woes now leading to international shortages of fries and mustard. In Japan, for example, McDonald’s has been forced to ration fries as the British Columbia floods squeezed potato imports, while mustard producers in France are forecasting steep price increases because the drought in another part of Canada – the world’s biggest producer of mustard grains – cut supplies.

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The Brazilian conservation farmer who ‘kidnaps’ carbon: ‘This makes me a better farmer’

“As a conservation farmer, the practices we use on our farm are allowing us to ‘kidnap carbon’ from the atmosphere and store it in our soil. This makes me a better farmer. The practice of carbon farming supports my efforts to grow more food and help the environment at the same time,” writes Andre-Figueiredo Dobashi in this article published by Global Farmer Network. The article is titled “I’m a conservation farmer who kidnaps carbon for good”.

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Climate change presents challenges and opportunities for Idaho

The impacts of climate change in Idaho will present challenges and opportunities to all sectors of Idaho’s economy — from recreation and tourism to agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure and land — according to a series of reports prepared by Idaho researchers and just released to the public by the University of Idaho James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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How do three main farm carbon calculators compare?

Mike Abram presents an insightful review of three popular so-called whole-farm carbon calculators in an article for Farmers Weekly in the UK . A few farmers tested the overall scope and structure of the calculators, all of which cover arable and livestock enterprises. The tools assessed were: Farm Carbon Toolkit, Agrecalc, and the Cool Farm Tool.

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Metos UK unveils new potato tech

A blue, potato-shaped sensor for in-store monitoring of potato crops and an app that estimates your potential crop yield from a photo and a blue mat have been launched by Metos UK at the recent British Potato event. Inside the blue tuber-shaped SolAntenna are sensors to measure and track temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in store.

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Univ of Maine is developing a ‘super potato’ resistant to climate change

For decades, the University of Maine has devoted valuable agricultural research to studying how to improve potato crops, a central element of the state’s agricultural economy. Over the past year, the focus of the program’s mission has ramped up with one particular goal in mind: make potatoes that are resistant to climate change.

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Heat takes toll on Columbia Basin spud harvest

While potato farmers in the Columbia Basin could call on all the water they needed during this year’s drought, the heat still posed risks and has left its mark on this year’s potato crop. “Yield is down, and quality is also down,” said Adam Weber of Weber Farms near Quincy. He said the heat was to blame for the drop in yields and quality. “It’s 10% down, though it varies with varieties,” he said.

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Wet weather, rising fertiliser prices put squeeze on Tasmanian potato growers

Wet weather and rising fertiliser prices are forcing farmers to rethink their potato plantings, with tonnages expected to be down significantly in the upcoming season. Former McCain grower representative and seed potato grower Beau Gooch said it was becoming significantly more expensive to grow potatoes. Leigh Elphinstone, Simplot Growers Committee chair and north-west potato grower, said the weather and fertiliser hurdles could result in a potato shortage.

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Soil health and regenerative techniques at the forefront at CropTec event

Soil health and regenerative techniques will be to the fore during this year’s CropTec seminars, writes Ken Fletcher in an article for The Scottish Farmer. With growers in the midst of a tumultuous time in British farming, this year’s programme will examine the building blocks for a sustainable arable farming future.

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Carbon farming and the regenerative revolution in food

As Alasdair Lane writes in this article for BBC Future, farmlands cover half of the Earth’s habitable land, and the global food system produces 21-37% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. When fields are worked with heavy machinery, their soils leach trapped carbon back into the air. Carbon farming, on the other hand, seeks to capture them.

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