Yield predictions for Canadian potato production is expected to be slightly less than last year for some provinces that have been hit hard by the hot dry summer, according to the latest potato crop report from the United Potato Growers of Canada.
Published in Harvesting
McCain Foods appoints Danielle Barran to country president of McCain Foods's Canadian division, who assumed full responsibility on August 20, 2018.
Published in News
An automated spore trap has been developed in the U.K. which could change the way disease monitoring is done for crops and help farmers target fungicide applications better. 
Published in Diseases
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
Leading U.K. agronomy specialists, Levity CropScience, based at Myerscough College in Bilsborrow, recently unveiled their industry changing research at the British Potato exhibition in Harrogate.

Based on independent field trials, from 2015 to 2017, Levity has demonstrated that their product, Potato Lono, increases potato yields by up to $1,000 per hectare. Trials were held in England, Ireland, Netherlands, and France.

Potato Lono improves photosynthesis, and helps crops increase carbon efficiency during times of stress, improving tuber initiation and bulking. This can result in increased tuber numbers, when applied during tuber initiation, with trials showing increases of over 60,000 extra tubers per hectare across various potato varieties.

"We're excited to have revealed this groundbreaking data" said David Marks, Joint MD, Levity CropScience. "Our hard work has paid off and now growers around the world will be able to benefit from this research and our innovative application of this knowledge into unrivalled, pioneering fertilizer products."

Anne Weston, Joint MD, Levity CropScience added: "Over the next few weeks, we will be attending several exhibitions to meet farmers and their advisers to highlight and discuss our results, including the fantastic benefits Levity CropScience's products offer the farming and horticultural industries throughout the world. It is another example of how our innovative Lancashire company is driving research into increasing crop yields throughout the world, which will ultimately benefit both the environment and the local population."
Published in Research
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
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 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
The Japanese government has lifted an 11-year-old ban on importing fresh Idaho chipping potatoes, officials of the Idaho Potato Commission announced earlier in September.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries imposed a ban on importing all U.S. chipping potatoes in April 2006 in response to the discovery of a quarantined pest, the pale cyst nematode, in a small area of Eastern Idaho.

Trade was restored with other U.S. chipping potato states about a year later, but restrictions on Idaho were left in place.

This spring, IPC officials said Japanese chip makers experienced a shortage following a poor domestic harvest and had to stop selling some products. Japan will continue to exclude any Idaho chipping potatoes from Bonneville and Bingham counties, which encompass the PCN quarantine area. READ MORE
Published in News
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) have sent a joint letter to Canadian, American and Mexican government officials, reiterating their calls that re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.
Published in Business & Policy

Nov. 3, 2016, Alberta – The Government of Canada has secured market access for Alberta seed potatoes to Thailand.

Effective immediately, Alberta becomes the third province to have an export agreement with Thailand, joining Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which secured export agreements in 2009. Combined, these three provinces form about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports.

Alberta’s seed potato exports to Thailand could be worth up to $2 million annually, according to industry experts, adding to the $5 million on average exported annually to that country. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the seed potato sector.


Published in Markets and Marketing

Oct. 27, 2015 - Genesys, a resource for plant genetic resources data, has been improved and updated to help people develop climate-smart crop varieties needed to overcome future environmental challenges. Scientists will benefit from improved access to data on more than 2.8 million plant samples from genebank collections from all over the world.

Genesys users can search the global holdings of 446 institutes around the world. Genesys includes three of the world's largest networks: the EC/PGR, the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, and the CGIAR genebanks, which together hold the most important crop diversity collections in the world.

Genesys brings genebanks together, making passport and characterization data available by using - and reinforcing - established standards for data exchange in the genebank community. Data providers can easily sort and display the information they hold, compare their collection with those held in other genebanks. This allows them to avoid duplication and focus their resources and efforts in filling gaps in their collections.

Genesys also lets breeders know which genebanks hold the seed varieties that might have the traits they need to develop the crops that will feed the world in the future. 

New features include video tutorials, as well as the recently launched newsletter and @GenesysPGR Twitter account. 

Published in Traits and Genetics

June 16, 2015, Limestone, ME — Canadian and Maine potato growers and McCain Foods executives travelled 12,000 miles south this winter to visit with their counterparts in Argentina to see what they could learn from each other.

The group of 10 New Brunswick and six Maine growers, all of who have contracts with McCain Foods, traveled to the country in January to observe how they grow potatoes for processing in Argentina. Information about the trip was only recently mentioned in the company’s June newsletter. READ MORE

Published in News


Oct. 16, 2014, Calgary – Canadian potato producers can now apply Delegate Insecticide to control Colorado potato beetle and European corn borer on product that could be destined for Japan.

Published in Pest Control

July 24, 2014 – Anne Fowlie, executive director of the Canadian Horticultural Council, has been appointed a member of the board of directors of the World Potato Congress, joining Ron Gall of New Zealand and Dr. Nora Olsen of the United States. 

Fowlie embarked on a career in agriculture (1978) in New Brunswick, Canada. After 21 years contributing to the growth the potato industry there, she accepted the position of executive director of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) in Ottawa, where she currently serves as executive vice-president.

Throughout her career, Fowlie has been involved in myriad agricultural sector issues including sales and marketing, organizational and sector strategic planning, trade dispute resolution, food safety and traceability and government relations. She has also participated in Team Canada trade missions and was a member of the Canadian industry delegation to the 2005 WTO negotiations in Hong Kong.

As a member of the International Federation for Produce Standards, she is well informed on issues related to the potato industry world-wide. The global potato industry is of particular interest to Fowler. She has attended numerous WPC events and is optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead for the industry, as well as the role WPC Inc can play in the future.

Ron Gall was a business manager with Horticulture New Zealand for more than 20 years until his retirement in 2012. He joined the New Zealand Vegetable & Potato Growers’ Federation in 1991.

As business manager of Potatoes New Zealand Inc., from 1994 until his retirement in December 2012, Gall focused on four core activities:
• Seed certification
• Export access to new markets and growing existing markets
• Research and development
• Education and marketing the nutritional & health value of potatoes

Gall has presented papers at various international conferences and represented the New Zealand Potato Industry at numerous World Potato Congresses. He was appointed to the International Advisory Committee of the World Potato Congress and in 2009 was congress manager for the 7th World Potato Congress in Christchurch.

Dr. Nora Olsen is a professor and extension potato specialist for the University of Idaho, located at Twin Falls. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from Washington State University with emphasis on potato physiology and production. Her research and extension programs for the past 15 years, at the University of Idaho, have focused on potato field and storage management, sprout and disease control in storage, seed physiology and performance, cultivar evaluation, and food and farm safety. She has been the program director for the University of Idaho Kimberly Potato Storage Research Facility since 2003.

Olsen is currently serving as president of The Potato Association of America (PAA) and is the first woman elected as president of the organization. She has also served as a director of PAA and chair of the physiology and extension sections of this organization.

Olsen is also a processing editor for Potato Research, the journal of the European Association of Potato Research. She also served as the United States member of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) Technical Advisory group on Sprout Inhibition.


Published in News

A new diagnostic system will test for soil-borne threats to potato crops.


July 2, 2014, Australia – Scientists at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) have created a diagnostic system that tests for six soil-borne pathogens that threaten potato crops. 

PreDicta Pt was launched commercially last August and has received widespread support from growers, processors and agronomists across Australia.

Potatoes are particularly susceptible to soil-borne disease that can damage their appearance or reduce yield, and field losses are estimated at around $80 million a year across Australia.

The basic technology behind PreDicta Pt is based on a well-established commercial service offered by SARDI for cereal crops called PreDicta B.

“Potatoes are a big investment and you don’t want to get it wrong,” said SARDI sustainable systems research chief Dr. Kathy Ophel Keller.

“Based on what our test tells them, farmers may choose to plant different parts of their land differently and to ignore some completely. If they lease land, it may help them choose between options.

“The next step is to test seed pieces as well so you can match clean seed with clean ground. The last thing you want to do is put dirty seed into clean ground. That’s a real issue with a crop like potatoes.”

Ophel Keller and colleague Dr. Alan McKay began developing their testing regime soon after she joined SARDI (the research arm of Primary Industries and Regions SA) from Australia’s Co-operative Research Centre for Soil and Land Management in 1996.

“We were extracting DNA from soil and using fairly crude hybridisation techniques to measure the pathogens and we quickly realised we need to change the technology pretty radically,” she said.

Working with engineers at the University of South Australia, they developed equipment that was sufficiently robust to test 500-gram soil samples (large enough to deal with spatial variability across a paddock) rather than the 10 grams that is usual for research and, more importantly, could produce clean DNA.

“What we have focused on is how to take a representative sample and, once you've got it, how to extract clean DNA every time and to put the quality systems in place to ensure that that is always the case,” Ophel Keller says.

PreDicta Pt and PreDicta B, which were developed with funding support from Horticulture Australia Ltd and the South Australian Grain Industry Trust and Grains Research & Development Corporation respectively, are offered commercially to farmers through agronomists trained to analyze the findings and help farmers make follow-up decisions.

For more information, contact Dr Kathy Ophel Keller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in Crop Protection

Feb. 20, 2014, United Kingdom – British scientists have developed genetically modified potatoes that are resistant to late blight, according to BBC News. | READ MORE 

Published in Diseases
September 23, 2013 – Top chef Simon Gault has branded a new hybrid plant that grows both potatoes and tomatoes a “gimmick.”

But the Master Chef judge is intrigued enough by the 'Potato Tom', which hits garden centre shelves in a worldwide first this week, to want one for his own garden. READ MORE



Published in Research

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