Canada
Ontario's hot weather keeps late blight in check but some growers are seeing sunburnt stems and heat stress in their potato crop. 
Published in Diseases
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) completed its re-evaluation of mancozeb and found the continued registration of products containing mancozeb acceptable for foliar application to potatoes in Canada.
Published in Diseases
The results from Ontario spore traps, in Alliston, Leamington, Simcoe-Delhi, and Shelburne areas, returned negative detecting no late blight spores, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.
Published in Diseases
Yellow Sun, Red Smile, Kiss-me-a-lot and Lobster Red are four unique varieties of potato to be grown in Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time. 
Published in Traits and Genetics

Manitoba, in general, had a slightly delayed start of planting in 2018; about a week later thanin 2017, reports Vikram Bisht in the first Manitoba Potato Disease Report of the season. The majority of planting started in first week of May, and mostly finished by the end of May. Early planted fields have good emergence. June 1 has been set for initiation/accumulation of P-Days and late blight Disease Severity Values. P-day is a measure of heat available for crop growth and development, and values accumulate when temperatures range between 7 C and 30 C.

Weather conditions since planting have been very warm, with a few days over 30 C. Precipitation has been below normal for May, except for a few scattered heavy rain events towards end of May. This week’s rain should help ingood emergence and stand.

The current soil temperatures are 2 C to 5 C warmer than end of May last year. These warm soil temperatures and may speed up emergence.

Cull piles are an important source of inoculum for many diseases including late blight. It is important to dispose of properly the cull piles before thunderstorms arrive.

Published in Soil
The most recent reports coming out of a 20-year study on P.E.I. soil health are showing a general decline in soil organic matter (SOM). The news is causing alarm, but for Vernon Campbell, a potato farmer, the headlines aren’t all that shocking. In fact, he said it’s a situation Island producers are already actively working to fix. | READ MORE
Published in Soil
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
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