Canada
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
While there are no "silver bullets" for combating wireworm, with ongoing research, Island farmers do have more options.

Christine Noronha, of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has unveiled an effective wireworm trap. "The trap is a very simple light trap, called the NELT. It uses a solar powered light source to attract the adults of wireworms, click beetles. The beetles walk to the light and fall into a cup buried in the ground under the light,"  Noronha explained.

This is the first trap that catches female click beetles. Trapping the egg-laying females will gradually help reduce the wireworm population in the field. For the full story, click here.
Published in Crop Protection
A sixth-generation farmer from Malden, N.B. has found a market for potatoes too small to sell to grocery stores.

Blue Roof Distillers is the first Canadian farm-to-bottle distillery making vodka from potatoes.

The family used to donate the tiny taters from its 350-acre farm to local cattle farmers for feed or sell them to a dehydration plant that would turn them into potato flakes.

But an oversupply of small potatoes meant the dehydration plant's prices were low, so the family needed a new business venture, says Devon Strang. For the full story, click here

Published in Markets and Marketing
While he maintains there will be a market for potatoes well into the future, Ghislain Pelletier predicts the future of the industry will bear little resemblance to the past.

The global vice-president for agronomy for McCain Foods was one of the keynote speakers at the recent annual meeting of the PEI Potato Board. Pelletier told the meeting he has spent virtually his entire life in the industry as he grew up on a farm near Grand Falls, N.B.

He said the 21st century marks an expansion of the age of technology that began in the 1960's and 1970's with the a growth in mechanization. Pelletier noted those decades also sowed the seeds for farm consolidation while the 1980's and 1990's saw more specialization on farms as well as the introduction of the agronomy practices and the introduction of sustainable farming practices. For the full story, click here
Published in News
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board has a new executive as a result of its December 4th board of directors meeting.

Darryl Wallace of Cascumpec was elected as the new chairman of the board. Wallace and his family own and operate Wallace Family Farms. He represents the processing sector for the West Prince District on the board.

The new vice-chairman of the board is Jason Hayden of Pownal. Hayden and his family own and operate Eastern Farms Ltd. He represents the tablestock sector for the Charlottetown District.

The third member of the executive committee is John Hogg of Summerside who was elected secretary-treasurer. Hogg represents the processing sector for the Summerside District.

Also joining the board is Chad Robertson of Marvyn's Gardens. He will be representing the Tablestock sector for the Montague/Souris District.

The remaining board directors are Rodney Dingwell, Alex Docherty, Fulton Hamill, Glen Rayner, Wayne Townshend, David Francis, Mark MacMillan and Harris Callaghan. Ashton Perry of Elmsdale also participates in Board meetings as a representative of the PEI Young Farmers Association.

The Board also recognized the efforts of retiring Board member Owen Ching, tablestock representative for the Montague/Souris District, for his service over the past few years.

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board represents Island potato farmers and assists in growing the markets for PEI Potatoes locally, nationally, and internationally. The Board supports the production of high quality potatoes in an environmentally responsible manner, and is funding and conducting research in the areas of soil health, pest and disease management, quality and yield.

Directors are elected to represent four districts across the province, and each district is represented by a seed grower, a tablestock grower and a processing grower. Directors serve three year terms and are eligible for re-election to serve a second three year term. The directors serving on the PEI Potato Board are all from family farms with a heritage of growing potatoes and other crops for many years.
Published in News
The PEI Potato Industry has released a 30 second commercial highlighting the industry. The farmers from the Island are proud of what they do and want to showcase the positive work.

The project was filmed over the summer and early fall on different farms and field locations all over Prince Edward Island. It was directed and produced by Furrow Creative in Charlottetown PEI. The video features Island potato farmers and their families doing what they do best – growing the best quality potatoes in the world.

"We have so much to be proud of and thankful for in our potato industry here on PEI. It's the backbone of our economy, it's a major part of our culture and PEI wouldn't be the same without it." says Rodney Dingwell, Chairman of the PEI Potato Board.

The video will air primarily on local television with a digital campaign airing in the Ontario and Atlantic Canadian markets.

So what does it take to grow a quality potato? For the PEI Potato industry, it takes an Island! For more information, visit: https://www.peipotato.org/

Published in Markets and Marketing
Cavendish Farms has officially opened its new potato storage facility, which will mean the company can supply potatoes year-round.

The new facility, says a statement, is 88,000 sq. ft. and has a refrigerated potato storage capacity of 48 million pounds. The facility is split into two separate buildings with each building being 44,000 sq. ft.

Cavendish Farms is using the Tolsma System, which will allow the company to maintain consistent quality potatoes all year for use at its two processing plants on the island. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
In an effort to shine a light on the current status of herbicide resistance in Canada, Top Crop Manager (TCM) has launched the Herbicide Use Survey!

As an industry leader providing up-to-date information and research, TCM is looking to gather input from producers across the country in order to develop a more thorough understanding of the state of herbicide resistance in Canada.

TCM's Herbicide Use Survey will offer participants the ability to help tell the story of these important crop protection tools by having farmers like you share how herbicides are being used.

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and will ask details like soil and farm acreage, types of weeds being targeted, as well as management practices. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Those who complete the survey will be entered into a random draw for a $500 visa card! Complete the survey here.

The Herbicide Use Survey ends December 8th. Results will be collected and presented at the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit in Saskatoon, Sask., on February 27 and 28.

Published in News
For the first time, evidence of the zebra chip pathogen has been found in potato fields in southern Alberta.

An infected potato psyllid insect carries the Lso (Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum) pathogen that can cause zebra chip disease in potato crops.

Zebra chip has affected potato crops in the U.S., Mexico and New Zealand and caused millions of dollars in losses. Potatoes with zebra chip develop unsightly dark lines when fried, making affected potatoes unsellable.

The first detection of Lso came from sampling cards collected at one site south of Highway 3, near Lethbridge, Alta. For the full story, click here
Published in Diseases
McCain Foods (Canada) has officially opened its new $65M state-of-the-art potato specialty production line, expanding the company's flagship potato processing facility in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick.

The new 35,000 square foot McCain Foods potato specialty production line addition represents the largest capacity expansion investment in Canada in nearly 10 years. The investment is reflective of the continued growth of the North American frozen potato and potato specialty segments in both the retail and food service businesses.

"Florenceville continues to be the French fry capital of the world. The official opening of the new production line reflects McCain's ongoing commitment to invest in the needs of our consumers and customers today, and also the company's focus towards future product development and innovation," said Jeff DeLapp, president, NA, McCain Foods Limited.

"During our 60th year of business, investment in the Florenceville-Bristol facility is a testament to the importance the community holds as the birthplace of McCain Foods," added DeLapp. "In addition to the more than 40 new jobs created, the construction build stimulated economic activity within the region, and an additional demand of 4,000 acres of potatoes is to be supplied to the facility by New Brunswick potato farmers."

A strong, sustainable Canadian business

Since the company was founded in 1957, McCain's leadership in the Canadian frozen potato market segment across all retail, food service and quick service restaurants (QSR) channels is undisputed.

All of McCain's potato products are made from 100% real potatoes grown on farms close to our facilities, which are spread across the country in New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Alberta.

"McCain is proud to partner with over 150 farming families across the country" stated Shai Altman, President, McCain Foods (Canada) "Our delicious products are a direct result of the quality potatoes grown by farmers, many of whom share a multi-generational partnership with McCain, some dating back to our start 60 years ago."

For the past 60 years, McCain Foods has grown proudly from its Florenceville, New Brunswick roots. With 30 employees and sales of $150,000 in its first year of business in 1957, the company has grown to become a global enterprise with more than 20,000 employees operating out of 53 production facilities on six continents with sales in excess of CDN $9 billion, while remaining Canadian headquartered and family-owned.

Published in News
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