Machinery

March 31, 2016 – Two Agrifac Condor Endurance sprayers are heading to Alberta this week.

Manufactured in the Netherlands, the pendulum chassis eliminates boom movement makes sure that the weight distribution is equal on all four wheels. The chassis enables a 2,100 US gallon tank and booms up to 180 feet. Due to the design of the tank, no rest liquids stay behind, and the EcoTronicPlus display is the spray computer as well as the interface for machine settings. For more information on Agrifac and on the self-propelled sprayers, check out www.agrifac.com or www.agrifac.ca.

March 3, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – With its highest attendance in a decade, the 2016 edition of the International Potato Technology Expo – held Feb. 26-27 – was a resounding success.

Approximately 3,200 industry professionals walked the show floor to check out the diverse grouping of local, regional, national, and international exhibitors. Potato growers, together with the leading manufacturers of equipment and product solutions from across the Maritimes and beyond were in attendance.

Matt Mitchell, show manager, said he was very pleased with the outcome of the event.

“We were happy to see that this year’s edition drew the show’s highest attendance since 2006,” he said. “I think the excellent conference program really contributed to that, given that it was so well attended. Likewise, we certainly couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the addition of the tractors was a great draw for potato farmers.”

Exhibitors echoed the positive sentiments.

“This year’s show was another very successful event,” said Brian Beaton, potato industry coordinator with the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. “All the major suppliers to the potato industry were there and attendance by potato growers was very high. I heard many positive comments about the speakers at the conference and many said that they picked up some valuable information for their farm.”

“The potato expo provided an excellent opportunity to connect with our customers and others in the ag industry,” said Karen MacInnis Larter, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) marketing program manager.

“We were proud to be the major sponsor for this year’s event,” she added. “It was a great showcase and an excellent learning event for producers. They could find industry related information pertinent to their operations and hear top-notch speakers. It was a quality event from start to finish.”

“We found the expo extremely beneficial,” said Trent Cousins, Allan Potato Handling Equipment Ltd. “We feel there was a huge attendance from our industry. Having our exhibit in the show put us in touch with many customers, both new and existing, that we may not have had the chance to meet with. We will definitely be attending again in the future.”

“I can honestly say that this year show was by far better for us in quality lead generation and people coming to visit our booth; industry interest was like we haven’t seen in a few years,” said Marco Gagnon, GOW Group Inc. “All in all, we qualify this event a success for us.”

This year, a full educational conference program was offered alongside the tradeshow portion of the event. It featured seminar presentations from leading experts, including Dr. Tom Wolf, Agrimetrix Research & Training, Saskatoon, SK; Dr. Bernie Zebarth, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fredericton, NB; Dr. Gefu Wang-Pruski, Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus, Truro, NS; and Lane Stockbrugger, Farm Credit Canada, Englefeld, SK. The conference was well attended with 173 registrants and strong attendance for both the morning and afternoon sessions.

The next edition of the International Potato Technology Expo will occur in February 2018 and information will be posted online at www.PotatoExpo.ca as it becomes available.

Jan. 25, 2016, Ontario – Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, says farmers are being subsidized by not having to pay taxes on diesel fuel designated for field-equipment use.

Dyed reddish-purple, the diesel is bought by farmers in bulk for use in farm machinery. It’s not allowed in farm trucks or other vehicles used mainly on roads.

But maybe that subsidy — gasoline tax breaks in Ontario amount to $190 million a year — should be replaced by something that supports agriculture, but doesn’t also encourage the use of climate-changing fossil fuels, Saxe said in an interview. | READ MORE

January 4, 2015, Carberry, Man – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development officials recently announced an investment of nearly $380,000 for the McCain Foods Canada potato processing plant in Carberry.

The governments' investment, provided under Manitoba's Growing Forward 2 Growing Value program, will be used to install new and innovative equipment at the facility. The plant processes about 430 million pounds of Manitoba-grown potatoes every year, mostly into French fries.

"In order to stay competitive, it's important to have equipment that runs efficiently, allowing maximum productivity and minimal waste,” said Dean Melnic, plant manager with McCain Foods, Carberry. “We export 80 per cent of the products we make at our plant, so investments in equipment help support our employees, local growers, and the surrounding communities."

The governments' investment represents half of the total equipment cost. McCain Foods Canada has invested more than $30 million in other upgrades to the Carberry facility over the last 10 years, including a $23 million wastewater upgrade. The potato processing plant employs about 220 people, with another 10 positions to be created over the next three years as a result of the new equipment.

Manitoba is Canada's second-largest potato producer behind PEI, supporting 120 potato growers and employing 1,500 full-time and casual workers. In 2013, 70,000 acres of potatoes were grown in Manitoba, valued at about $192 million.

Oct. 29, 2015, Charlottetown – After 10 years of operation in Stratford, P.E.I., HJV Equipment, the specialized agriculture equipment company that has a particular focus on potato equipment, plans to move across the Hillsborough Bridge to Charlottetown, writes The Guardian. | READ MORE

October 29, 2015, Charlottetown, PEI – As P.E.I.'s potato harvest winds up, there's a distinctly different look to many Island warehouses: they've installed shiny new metal detectors, at a cost of between $50,000 to half a million dollars each.

Last fall, steel needles and other sharp metal objects were detected in P.E.I. potatoes at processing plants and in bags sold throughout Atlantic Canada. A number of metal objects were found in potatoes again this spring. READ MORE

June 22, 2015, Charlottetown, PEI – The Province of Prince Edward Island is providing additional funding support of $500,000 to the Prince Edward Island potato industry to address foreign material detection technology and training, says Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac.

“The integrity of Prince Edward Island’s potato crop is of the utmost importance and lack of consumer confidence in the safety of our potatoes would have significant impact on potato sales,” said Minister McIsaac. “This additional funding will help ensure that our province’s potato industry can move forward from these malicious and criminal acts.”

Through the Growing Forward 2 Canada-Prince Edward Island agreement, the industry will receive financial assistance of $1.4 million for the purchase and installation of foreign material detection equipment. This additional provincial funding of $500,000 will be used for such work as on-site security assessments, training, equipment and continued strong compliance with food safety requirements associated with the detection of foreign material. The federal government has also committed an additional $1.5 million to the industry.

Potatoes represent the single largest agriculture commodity in terms of farm cash receipts ranging from $203 to $257 million annually over the past five years. Economic spin-offs of the industry exceed $1 billion annually.

“The PEI Potato Board is pleased to be working with the Province of Prince Edward Island to ensure the right strategies and technologies are in place to help our farmers address the challenge posed by the criminal act of food tampering,” said PEI Potato Board chairman, Alex Docherty. “Farms that have already been affected by food tampering have incurred losses of more than one million dollars, and the costs associated with installing foreign material detection equipment will exceed five million dollars. The production of safe, high quality potatoes has always been our top priority, and this support, along with existing involvement in CanadaGAP food safety programs, will help our growers maintain and exceed those high standards.”

“Prince Edward Island’s potato industry is vital to our provincial economy and any incident that could affect the livelihood of the industry would have severe repercussions to our province,” said Minister McIsaac. “It is important that we continue to work together – industry and both levels of government – to ensure that measures can be put in place to maintain consumer safety and confidence in our products.”

By Farm Focus

Nov. 4, 2014, PEI – Agronomy consultant Steve Watts trying to improve the province's potato business one row at a time. Watts is now harvesting single-row, 10-yard long test plots with a miniature potato harvester he designed himself. Farm Focus reports. | READ MORE

Feb. 27, 2014, Orwell Cove, P.E.I. – A potato grower and two of his employees from Orwell Cove, P.E.I. are banking on a new piece of equipment they've designed to stop the food from bruising, writes CBC News. | READ MORE

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