Future Planning
Canadian potato storage holdings, with includes all sectors, are the lowest of the last five years, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada’s update on April 1.
Published in News
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) unveiled its new Starter Loan to help young borrowers involved in the agriculture sector access the financial capital and knowledge they need to start and grow their business.

The Starter Loan Program is open to applicants from 18-25 years of age, and can provide up to $50,000 to help new entrepreneurs start their farming operations. Loan funds can be used to finance the purchase of assets such as livestock, equipment, or an existing business and is available to both primary producers and agri-businesses.

Coupled with this, FCC is offering their farm management software, AgExpert Accounting Premium, for free, with the intent that young borrowers can have the financial independence and knowledge they need while establishing a solid credit history.

“Farm operations are a generational business, often passed down through families with succession plans for children that want to follow in their parent’s footsteps,” said Ron Bonnett, president of The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, in response to the announcement. “But not all aspiring farmers have that kind of support or knowledge to draw from. Starting a farming operation has huge capital costs and an intense burden of knowledge. The FCC Starter Loan program can help new, young farmers break into the sector. Programs like these are pivotal for the next generation of farmers and the future of Canadian food production.”

“The FCC Starter Loan shows our commitment to supporting our customers throughout their lifetime. A young borrower may have the goal of starting a cattle herd or purchasing some quota. Another may take their entrepreneurial vision to the next level with a vertical farming system or decide to purchase their first piece of equipment. It’s a start to a lifetime of possibilities,” said Micheal Hoffort, FCC president.

In 2018, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) launched its own loan program for Canadian farmers 35 years of age or younger. The BMO Young Farmer Program provides higher advance rates to invest in equipment, new technologies or the overall infrastructure of a farm operation.
Published in Business Management
The federal government unveiled its 2019 budget on March 26, including several announcements that are notable for the agriculture sector.
Published in Business & Policy
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
The impact of the difficult harvest on the industry will be felt across all sectors - seed, table stock and processing. Crop stress, reduced yields and unharvested acres will all contribute to a national decline in potato production.
Published in Business Management
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering support to customers in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick whose potato crops were impacted by an unusually wet, cold fall, causing a loss in revenue.
Published in News
EU-funded scientists have discovered genetic markers that could allow potatoes to be selected for their ability to be stored at low temperatures, keeping them fresh and avoiding the use of anti-sprouting chemicals.
Published in Research
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
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
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
Israel's NRGene recently announced it was working with a team of researchers from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands as well as commercial partners to create multi-genome mapping of potatoes.
Published in News
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
A genetically improved potato designed to have resistance to a devastating global plant disease has successfully come through the first year of field trials.

The field trial conducted by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich involves incorporating late blight resistant genes from a wild potato relative into a cultivated Maris Piper potato. READ MORE
Published in News
Researchers from Ohio State University and the Italian National Agency for New Technologies have developed a "golden" potato with significantly increased levels of vitamins A and E.

Findings from a new study were published recently in PLOS ONE in an article entitled "Potential of Golden Potatoes to Improve Vitamin A and Vitamin E Status in Developing Countries."

The research team found that a serving of the yellow-orange lab-engineered potato has the potential to provide as much as 42 per cent of a child's recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 34 per cent of a child's recommended intake of vitamin E. For the full story, click here
Published in Technology
Examining the ancestors of the modern, North American cultivated potato has revealed a set of common genes and important genetic pathways that have helped spuds adapt over thousands of years.

Cultivated potatoes, domesticated from wild Solanum species, a genetically simpler diploid (containing two complete sets of chromosomes) species, can be traced to the Andes Mountains in Peru, South America.

Scientific explorer Michael Hardigan, formerly at MSU and now at the University of California-Davis, led the team of MSU and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University scientists. Together, they studied wild, landrace (South American potatoes that are grown by local farmers) and modern cultivars developed by plant breeders. For the full story, click here.
Published in Traits and Genetics
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
A $25,000 Ignition Fund grant in 2016 helped Deep Roots Distillery owner Mike Beamish create a new line of buckwheat whiskey, which could have added benefit for area potato growers. 

"Buckwheat is beneficial to potato farmers especially as a rotation crop that aids in soil health and reduces certain pests – and as it happens, it makes a very fine whiskey," said Beamish, who is hosting the 2017 Ignition Fund award ceremony at Deep Roots Distillery. To read the full story, click here.
Published in News
In September, potato storage began in the Netherlands. Many crops, including potatoes, are harvested. These potatoes are then stored for several months.

A new atomiser, specifically for sprout inhibitors during this 'storage period', has been designed.

The atomiser, known as the Synofog, uses a new technique - electro-thermal atomisation. The advantage of this new piece of apparatus is that it does not have an open flame. This ensures its safe use with all kinds of sprout inhibitors. READ MORE
Published in Technology
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
Chinese scientists will attempt to grow potatoes on the moon as part of a forthcoming lunar mission.
Published in Research
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