Potatoes in Canada

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A fertile history

Yara’s specialized products give Canadian potato growers a competitive edge.


February 23, 2021
By Sponsored by Yara

From bone meal to high-tech coating technology, crop nutrition evolved during the 20th century. Innovation by fertilizer suppliers continues into the new millennium as research and knowledge about fertility advances. Canada’s highly competitive and nutrient consuming potato production industry relies on the powerful support of companies investing in its success.

Meeting industry standards for consistent tuber size and quality keeps growers fine-tuning their production practices from inputs to harvest management. The key to success lies in ensuring the health of the potato crop begins with planting into healthy soil and using a fertility program that is well-considered. Along with soil tests and precision application, determining the best fertility program is often done with the assistance of soil nutrition specialists and crop advisors.

Celebrating 75 years in 2021, Yara North America has decades of experience meeting the fertility needs of Canadian soils, while offering one of the most comprehensive lists of potato fertilizer product options for producers in all growing areas of the country. Yara Canada’s team of crop advisors works closely with retailers to help potato producers succeed.

“We have about 18 team members across Canada who work strictly on crop nutrition,” explains Bill Dunbar, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We take our global knowledge and bring it to the local level with the help of retailers. We are big believers in on-farm field-scale trials. This helps us tailor our fertilizer products to growers’ needs.”

In addition to the main nutrient needed by every crop, Yara’s TopPotato solution   includes a recommendation of other nutrients based on specific needs, such calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese and zinc, and molybdenum. These micronutrients are combined with nitrogen, phosphorus potassium and sulphur to create the correct nutritional mix for successful potato production. Crop nutrition experts use specific insights to help build a solution unique to a grower’s crop, ensuring the necessary nutrients are delivered effectively and efficiently.

“The TopPotato program is a crop solution for potato growers to help them get higher yields and grow better quality potatoes,” Dunbar adds. The company employs more than two dozen researchers to work on crop nutrition, and they, in turn, collaborate with colleagues at universities to ensure cutting edge recommendations make it quickly to potato producers. According to Dunbar, the company develops its crop production solutions using its own products as well as those of other fertilizer organizations.

Yara’s commitment to the success of Canadian potato production is rooted in a history of providing fertility products to this country. For 75 years, a milestone the company is celebrating in 2021, this Norwegian fertilizer provider has positioned itself as a reliable supplier in the North American market.

“We do try to capture a lot of the international knowledge we have and bring it to the Canadian market,” Dunbar explains. “We are also working on technology to minimize our carbon emissions at our manufacturing facilities, and we are considering how fertilizer is moved to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Dunbar is proud ofYara’s continuing commitment to build a sustainable, food-secure future. “We follow 4R nutrition stewardship, and we ensure our products work with current technology,” he says. “Yara has brought many new, innovative products, such as micronutrient coating technology, to the market in an industry that is not known for its innovation.” He adds that many of the products designed specifically for potatoes are combined with nitrogen and sulphur to ensure potato crops do not suffer these two common deficiencies.

Packaged in dry and liquid formulations, products listed under the TopPotato banner are one ingredient in a recipe for success when combined with proven varieties, successful weed and pest control choices, diligent crop rotation, tillage that minimizes erosion and compaction, and responsible water management. For example, YaraVita PROCOTE products provide boron, zinc or manganese as liquid suspension coatings evenly covering each fertilizer granule. In addition, the company developed foliar sprays to give mid-season fertility boosts. Yara is known for its YaraLiva Calcium Nitrate fertilizers sold in dry and liquid formulation. These products are highly soluble and provide nitrate and calcium nutrition to crops.

In any season, where more than 250 farm scale trials of its products are tested, Yara is able to fine-tune the formulations to make them even more useful in the many varied potato growing areas in Canada. Yara’s products are tested on real farm applications in Eastern and Western Canada and Dunbar says, by working directly with producers, Yara’s field representatives learn what is successful and what is not, allowing the company to tweak a product to better meet growers’ requirements.

After more than 100 years globally, seven-and-a-half decades of experience in the North America fertilizer business and 25 years directly connected to the Canadian market, Yara has identified the unique needs of Canadian potato production across the country. The company works diligently to develop the products and offer advice on application to ensure its products help potato producers succeed.

For more information about Yara North America and the 75th anniversary, please visit yaracanada.ca/75.


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