Canada
Potatoes are eating up a growing slice of Alberta's agriculture sector. The province has about 21,500 hectares of farmland dedicated to potatoes and produced just over two billion pounds of spuds last year, putting the province third in the country behind Prince Edward Island (36,000 hectares) and Manitoba (27,235 hectares). With Cavendish Farms slated to open a new Lethbridge processing plant in 2019 — adding another 3,800 hectares — the potato industry is expecting another bump in growth in the coming years. | READ MORE
Published in Markets and Marketing

Robert Anderson and Jill Ebbett, fifth-generation potato farmers from East Glassville, N.B., were named Atlantic’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018.

Published in Business & Policy
A UPEI research project aimed at making potato farming more efficient has received funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. | READ MORE
Published in Research

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist Louis-Pierre Comeau is sifting his way through New Brunswick soil in search of answers to one of the biggest issues facing local farmers: the loss of soil organic matter and the decrease of soil health in farm fields.

Published in Soil
Patates Dolbec, a family business created in 1967 based in Saint-Ubalde, Que., recently completed an expansion and modernization project through an investment under the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. 

This project, supported with a federal government investment of up to $4.5 million, includes the purchase and installation of new robotic equipment that will sort, grade, and pack more fresh potatoes in less time, enabling the company to improve their product quality, lower operational costs and develop new markets in the United States.

The company specializes in potato packaging and employs more than 125 people. The new plant is intended to give Patates Dolbec more flexibility and allows the company to track data in real-time for better decision making and a more organized workplace. 
 
Published in Business & Policy
Inside Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) high tech Canadian Potato Genetic Resources (CPGR) lab in Fredericton, N.B., hundreds of small glass test tubes contain vital keys to Canada’s potato growing future. The gene bank – a living library of almost 180 potentially high-value potato breeding lines – is an important component of Canada’s ongoing potato research, proof of our commitment to global food security, and our last line of defence against potato disease or natural disaster.
Published in Traits and Genetics
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership was launched April 1, with the intent to chart the course for government investments in the sector over the next five years. The partnership aims to continue to help the sector grow trade, advance innovation while maintaining and strengthening public confidence in the food system, and increase its diversity, according to a press release from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments have been working collaboratively since 2016 to develop the next agricultural policy framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. FPT governments consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including producers, processors, small and emerging sectors to ensure the partnership was focused on the issues that matter most to them.

In addition, under the partnership, business risk management programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage, the release states.

Ministers of Agriculture will convene inVancouverthis July for the annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture.
Published in Business & Policy
Although still in the early stages, this weed control solution is being designed as an advanced spot-spraying precision technology that will help farmers reduce input costs and add another management tool to their integrated management systems.
Published in Weed Control
Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Fredericton Research and Development Centre have developed two potato varieties resistant to the Colorado potato beetle, writes Atlantic Farm Focus. | READ MORE
Published in Traits and Genetics
Last year was an "optimistic year'' in P.E.I. agriculture, with successes coming in the potato, dairy and blueberry industries, says the minister of agriculture.
Published in News
A major expansion project has been announced for a Manitoba potato-processing plant that's expected to create about 90 new full-time jobs.
Published in News
The potato industry saw 15 selections from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's potato breeding program at the annual potato selection event on February 14 at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre. 

There are five french fry potatoes this year, two for the potato chip sector, six fresh market selections, and two potatoes with coloured flesh.

The star of the show may be a potato with the potential to replace the Russet Burbank, the king of potatoes. As the primary choice for french fries, Russet Burbank accounts for 70 per cent of potato sales to North American processors, and 20 per cent of the overall potato market. The new potato boasts a higher yield, adaptability to a variety of growing conditions, and good storage results.

This potato stands up well to Verticillium, a soilborne fungus that can cut into yield, especially in Atlantic Canada. It is also less prone to tuber defects, reducing the amount of waste in the field. 

“The tuber defect in this new variety is up to 50 per cent less than tuber defect in Russet Burbank,” says potato breeder Benoit Bizimungu. 

These improved features add up to higher profits for growers.

One of this year’s potato chip potatoes does well in various growing conditions and is ready for harvest early in the season - welcome news, especially in Ontario, where growers have been looking for locally adapted chip varieties to supply the lucrative snack food industry in the region.

There is even a potato with pink flesh for specialty markets.

Potato breeder Benoit Bizimungu believes these latest breeding innovations are poised to deliver "quantity" and "quality" to growers and processors, and "taste" to consumers.
Published in News
It will now be elementary for a P.E.I. raw potato preparation operation to inspect the inside of potatoes with new technology called the Sherlock Separator-2400.
Published in Technology
Chemicals in the leaves of potato plants, produced naturally by the plant, may hold the key to a new way in controlling Colorado potato beetles. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist, Helen Tai (pictured here) has turned to the leaves growing on wild potato relatives – leaves that Colorado potato beetles won’t eat – as a new approach to keep the pest away.
Published in News
The Government of Canada is investing in science and innovation to help meet increasing global food demand, grow exports for Canadian farmers and producers, and create good paying jobs that help grow Canada's middle-class.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, recently joined newly hired researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Harrington Research Farm to announce the completion of a $6.8-million upgrade of the world-class facility.

The Government of Canada is commitment to discovery science and innovation, and to reaching its goal of growing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

The upgrades included $2.97 million for 10 new and renovated laboratories and the purchase of a $1.3-million nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the Charlottetown Research and Development Centre, and $2.54 million for an expansion of the Harrington Research Farm greenhouse. The spectrometer allows scientists to study farm soil at the molecular level, which will help farmers improve the soil health and productivity of their land.

Three of the five scientists hired by the research centre over the past 18 months occupy new positions that expand the facility's areas of research. The five specialists are a microbial ecologist, an agro-ecosystem modeler and data scientist, a weed specialist, an environmental chemist and a cereals and oilseeds biologist.

"Having farmed on P.E.I. and travelled around the world as Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I see how science and innovation opens markets and creates new opportunities for our farmers and ranchers. This government is committed to innovation through world-class science and to helping farmers have access to the most current tools and knowledge to continue to grow the best food in the world," said MacAulay.
Published in News
A "Dig In, Do Good" campaign by a West Prince business, in partnership with Sobeys and The Grocery Foundation of Atlantic Canada, is raising funds for Atlantic Canada's children's hospitals.

WP Griffin Inc., a family-owned farming operation based in Elmsdale, has been supplying Sobeys, Foodland and Co-op stores in Atlantic Canada with the 10-pound bags of Dig In Do Good small russet P.E.I. potatoes since December. The campaign, which also includes a website with potato recipes and tips for cooking the Dig In Do Good spuds, runs until late January. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Green Meadow Farms Inc. in Morell, P.E.I. is purchasing three pieces of automated equipment with the help of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) funding that will improve efficiency and make the workload easier for employees.

The farm received a $155,141 repayable contribution from ACOA to help purchase the equipment.

Two pieces of equipment are automated 10-pound potato bagger machines. The other piece of equipment is a master baler that packages 10, five-pound potato poly bags into a larger bag. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Lso (zebra chip pathogen) has been detected in small numbers of potato psyllids in two sites in Alberta, but no zebra chip symptoms or pathogen has been found in any potato plant tissue yet.

During three years of sampling for potato psyllids (Bactericera cockerelli) across Canada, we found
small numbers in Alberta (2015-2017, increasing annually), Saskatchewan (first time in 2016), and
Manitoba (first adults, 2016). No potato psyllids have been found on sample cards from any sites
east of Manitoba.

In southern Alberta, the range of potato psyllids has expanded to sites throughout the potatogrowing area, where in 2017 they appeared on sampling cards of over 70 per cent of 45 sites regularly sampled (we thank the growers for co-operation and access to University of Lethbridge samplers at 45 sites, with a minimum of 4 sampling cards per field, and Crop Diversification Centre South for managing two additional sites and sending sample cards). For the full story, click here

Published in Crop Protection
P.E.I. has experienced a lower potato crop yield than usual this year and has been forced to ship in spuds from other areas of the country to make up for it.​
Published in News
Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Member of Parliament for Delta and Minister of Public Services and Procurement, recently announced a $1.8 million investment with the University of British Columbia to determine carbon sequestration and GHG emissions, and develop beneficial management practices (BMPs) for increasing the efficiency of fertilizer use in blueberry, potato and forage crops.

This project with the University of British Columbia is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

"This project will provide new science-based knowledge on net GHG emissions by accurately measuring GHG emissions and developing mitigation technologies for blueberry, potato and forage crops in the Lower Fraser Valley. The research team will use state-of-the-art instrumentation and automated measurement techniques to quantify annual GHG emissions. While the specific research objectives are targeted to fill regionally identified gaps in knowledge, they will be applicable more broadly to similar agricultural production systems across Canada and Global Research Alliance member countries," said Dr. Rickey Yada, Dean, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC.
Published in Research
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