Environment
Late last week, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), a division of Health Canada, released its final decisions on the pollinator re-evaluations of three neonicotinoid insecticides: clothianidin (Titan, Clutch), imidacloprid (Admire), and thiamethoxam (Cruiser, Actara).

Health Canada determined that the continued registration of imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam products are acceptable; however, certain uses have been cancelled to address possible risks to pollinators. Many of these cancelled uses affect Canadian fruit and vegetable growers.

Bees and other pollinators are vital to the production of Canadian fruits and vegetables, and growers are intimately aware of the need to protect their pollinators and their mutually beneficial relationship. As such, growers do not make decisions that would hurt their pollinators. As an organization, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) will work with its members to support farmers during this transitional phase resulting from these long-awaited final decisions.

The PMRA did a thorough science-based risk assessment and accounted for real exposure risks such as plant pollinator attractiveness. For these reasons, most uses on non-attractive crops such as root and tuber vegetables (including potatoes), brassica leafy vegetables, leafy vegetables, and (indoor) greenhouse vegetables remain unchanged. All seed treatments were also approved for continued use.

Many uses of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin were modified or cancelled so as to reduce risk to pollinators during bloom, due to the systemic nature of the chemistries. As such, many horticulturally significant uses have been cancelled or restricted, including:

· Cancellation of most foliar applications before bloom
· Cancellation of foliar applications to pome and stone fruit, strawberries, and some tree nuts
· Cancellation of soil applications on berries, fruiting vegetables, legume vegetables, and cucurbits
· Modified application timings for potatoes, berries, tree nuts, fruiting vegetables, cucurbits, and legume vegetables.

The PMRA included a chart of pollinator mitigation which is a valuable quick-reference guide for growers to see what changes will occur and how it will affect their crops.

Cancellations and label modifications will come into effect over the next two years. However, the PMRA acknowledges the lack of alternatives for certain pests, such as brown marmorated stink bug, European chafer, cucumber beetle, leafhoppers (on berries), and berry weevils (black vine weevil, cranberry weevil, strawberry root weevil). Use of neonicotinoids to address these serious pest issues is being granted an additional year to the cancellation deadline in order to find workable alternatives.

While these final decisions have a significant impact on many horticultural uses of the neonicotinoid insecticides, there are two more rounds of final decisions coming up in 2019/2020 – the general re-evaluation of imidacloprid, and the aquatic invertebrate special reviews of clothianidin and thiamethoxam. All of these reviews and decisions are being made independently of each other. The CHC will continue to monitor the progress of the PMRA re-evaluations and decisions.

In the meantime, the Canadian Horticultural Council urges the government to commit additional resources to PMRA for pesticide regulation, a recommendation that the government’s own Pest Management Advisory Council has made repeatedly in recent years. Additionally, PMRA requires more data to understand actual use patterns of crop protection tools, based on Canadian crops, climate, and labels, something the CHC strongly recommends to ensure the federal government works across government departments to collect and share pesticide use data.

With adequate resources, PMRA can deliver the credible and effective regulatory regime needed to maintain a strong agricultural sector, prevent unacceptable risks to human health and the environment, and maintain public confidence.
Published in Chemicals
With renewed funding, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) will continue to run pest and disease programs to help the Alberta potato industry during the 2019 growing season, according to an update by agricultural director Thomas McDade.
Published in Crop Protection
The Alberta Irrigation Districts Association (AIDA) announced the release of the Irrigation District Water Quality data tool which provides online access to water quality information collected within Alberta irrigation infrastructure. The information accessed shows that the quality of Alberta’s irrigation water is generally excellent.
Published in News
Hundreds of potato growers gathered in February at the P.E.I. Potato Conference to talk about everything from soil health to alternative irrigation as well as the effects of climate change.
Published in News
Cavendish Farms is working to develop potato seeds that can thrive in dry growing conditions on P.E.I., said the company’s president Robert Irving during P.E.I. Youth Farmers annual general meeting.
Published in News
As of Feb. 5, 2019, 250 Canadian potato growers have participated in the Canadian Potato Council’s survey on mancozeb use, which will be submitted to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to assist with the re-evaluation of the fungicide.

The proposed final re-evaluation decision for mancozeb, which suggests cancelling all uses of mancozeb except on tobacco due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment, was published on Oct. 5, 2018, with a three-month consultation period. The Canadian Horticultural Council and the Canadian Potato Council were granted an additional 60-day period after the consultation deadline to gather more information on how growers use mancozeb for horticultural crops, including potatoes.

The council released a survey that Canadian growers could complete online or by hard copy to gather more information during this period. The purpose of the survey is to gather grower provided data that is “highly representative of how mancozeb is used in potato production overall across Canada and within each province.”

“Specifically, mancozeb use rates, number of applications, the use of aerial application under irrigated and non-irrigated potato production and the effectiveness of chemical and non-chemical alternative controls will be determined,” explained David Jones, manager of potato industry coordination with the Canadian Potato Council.

As of Jan. 25, 2019 , only 16 of 135 total survey responses were from Manitoba. During Manitoba Potato Production Days in Brandon, producers, especially from the province and Alberta, were encouraged to participate in the survey to include how they use mancozeb so the PMRA could make a nuanced decision.

In the Prairie provinces, producers often use aerial applications for fungicides because of the nature of the landscape and the lower population compared to Eastern Canada. “But Manitoba has higher humidity, somewhat similar to some of the eastern provinces, so we’ve got a situation where we have a lot of fungicide applications due to our climate, but we also do those by air because of our topography,” said Darin Gibson, president and research agronomist at Gaia Consulting and presenter at Manitoba Potato Production Days.

The grower survey sought to include the variety of ways producers use the fungicide so that PMRA’s decision would be reflective of the fungicide’s use in Canada. “[Aerial applications] will be considered differently and I’m not sure how that affects the final outcome, but it’s important that PMRA has the best information possible about how these products are used across the country, otherwise they make assumptions about the worst case scenario,” Gibson said.

“[The survey’s] highly representative data will provide quantitative information that PMRA can use to verify or correct assumptions that they have previously used in their assessment of risk associated with mancozeb use in potatoes,” Jones added. “The desired outcome is that the collected data will contribute to revised risk assessments that are favourable to the continued use of mancozeb in potatoes.”

The proposed re-evaluation decision removed the original exception that allowed for foliar application of mancozeb on potatoes and will have a great impact on potato growers.

Currently, mancozeb is one of the most economical broad-spectrum fungicides for early and late blight. Not only is the price point attractive, but because it is a multi-site fungicide, there is a low risk of diseases developing resistance to mancozeb.

“One of the problems is when you lose some of these products to regulatory issues, you end up depending on some of these single-site fungicides, which have a much higher risk of resistance,” Gibson said.

Currently, multi-site fungicides, like mancozeb, chlorothalonil, or metiram, are the base for any potato fungicide program because there’s little risk of diseases developing resistance to these fungicides. Gibson explained that if mancozeb is removed from the growers’ toolbox, growers would have to switch to single-site products, such as either an early blight product or a late blight product. The cost of production will increase because growers will have to tank mix two products; each of those products being more expensive than mancozeb.

Mancozeb is not banned in the European Union or in the United States, having undergone its own re-evaluations in those countries in 2018 and 2005 respectively. Gibson said he’s cautiously optimistic. “It's going to end up in somewhat of a compromise where it'll be maybe three to five applications, hopefully more, but I'm optimistic that it's not going to end up at zero.”

The mancozeb use survey is available until Feb. 8, with anything submitted on Feb. 8 being accepted.

Since the low Prairie producers response numbers reported at the end of January, Jones said growers organizations in Manitoba and Alberta (KPPA, Peak, PGA) have made good effort to remind growers directly about the importance of participating in the Council’s survey. “The response from growers in Alberta and Manitoba has been excellent, representing about a third of the total responses received to date. The response rate is similar to the percentage of planted acres in those two provinces as a percentage of the total Canadian acres planted. This would indicate that the survey responses are highly indicative of potato production in Alberta and Manitoba,” Jones said.

“It's an important issue for Manitoba growers and it's just one of the important tools that growers have for protecting their potato crop and if they were to lose that one, they'll still be able to grow potatoes, but it's going to be more difficult and more expensive,” Gibson said. “So it's really important that growers get their information to the Hort Council so that can be passed on to PMRA, so they can hopefully keep an important tool for their production.”

The survey is available online, or by hard copy that could be submitted via email or fax. To complete the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/TWW76JJ.
Published in News
It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish – and this potato season is not over yet. Canadian potato producers endured a tough harvest season, especially Prairie and east coast producers who were faced with abnormally cold wet weather that delayed harvest until early November.
Published in Storage
Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, attended a BASF meeting discussing several pesticides for potatoes will be coming through the pipeline for producers.
Published in Chemicals
decreaseinpotatoproduction dec2018

Overall potato production in Canada dropped by 2.6 per cent, according to the latest estimate from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPG).
Published in Harvesting
From stalled harvests to abandoned acres, to potential storage problems, Canadian potato growers have not had an easy harvest.
Published in Harvesting
Above average rainfall across P.E.I. has made this year's potato harvest particularly difficult. The average rainfall for October at Charlottetown Airport is 112.2 mm, and as of Sunday 165.8 mm had fallen this month. The rain has been steady, with just six days with no rain recorded. | READ MORE
Published in Harvesting
Health Canada is proposing to cancel all uses of mancozeb, except for use on greenhouse tobacco, due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. The re-evaluation removes the exception that allowed foliar application of mancozeb on potatoes.
Published in News
Barcelona, a yellow-fleshed variety with smooth skin, was the highest yielding variety in a non-irrigated trial just northwest of Hamilton, Ont., according to Eugenia Banks' latest potato update. 
Published in Traits and Genetics
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
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
Digging early in the morning is fine, but the combination of high temperatures and humidity in the afternoon makes harvesting potatoes very risky. I have started digging the variety trials, and some of the new entries look promising. They all yield well, but I have had these varieties in trial for only one year. I have attached a few photos of these 4 promising varieties. Field notes below:
Published in News
All the isolates of late blight -Phytophthora infestans tested were US-23 for 2017. No new late blight incidence has been reported in the last week, which has generally been dry, warm and windy. The 7-day DSV accumulation for late blight risk has been essentially minimal. Harvest has begun in many areas.

The warm conditions has slowed the harvest of some processing fields, to prevent bringing warm tubers into storage. The seasonal accumulated precipitation has been 50-70% of normal in the potato growing areas (Fig1). The soils are generally on the dry side (Fig 2), but irrigated fields have sufficient moisture for a good harvest. READ MORE
Published in Diseases
A company started by six Mount Allison students sees a place for potato peels in furniture, flooring and ceiling tiles.

Enviroot's goal is to reduce waste by using food remains, especially potato peelings, to make a safe material for use in the home.

The company received a national business prize of $20,000 from Enactus Canada, a student-led entrepreneurial organization, and the McCain Social Enterprise Project Partnership to get the project going this summer.

"We use the potato peels that we get from McCain Foods here in New Brunswick in our particle board as a kind of filler," said Justin Trueman, Enviroot CEO and fourth-year biology student.

The potato peels are plasticized by melting them a little bit, and a bond between the potato peels' particles is created.

This allows them to bind products together without need of formaldehyde, which is the glues of some household furnishings, walls and stairs made from composite wood materials. READ MORE
Published in News

Researchers are hoping Canadian potato growers will soon be able to use an innovative approach to control wireworms. This method uses just a few grams of insecticide per hectare applied to cereal seeds that are planted along with untreated seed potatoes. It provides very good wireworm control for the whole growing season, with a lower environmental risk than currently available insecticide options.

Published in Crop Protection
Potato growers are hoping for some warmer temperatures and sunny skies in the coming days after two weeks of rain have brought planting to a halt across most of Prince Edward Island.

"We're into our second week of wet weather and really there's nothing being done at the present time," says Rodney Dingwell, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board. | READ MORE
Published in News
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