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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
Zebra chip is a serious disease that can kill potato plants, significantly reduce yields, and make infected tubers unmarketable. It was first documented in Mexico in 1994 and in Texas in 2000. Since then, it has spread northward through much of the Western United States, as well as to Central America and New Zealand.
Published in Diseases
When you think of China, do you think of potatoes? Maybe not, but in the Loess Plateau region of northwestern China, potato is the main food crop.
Published in Soil
Every year, Potato Days is a three-day event where Dutch potato-breeding companies, and a few companies from Germany and Denmark, showcase new potato varieties. The event took place from Nov. 7 to 9 and was held in the Emmeloord-Joure areas of Friesland.
Published in News
A shortage of potatoes across Europe is pushing up the cost of crisps and chips for British shoppers.
Published in Consumer Issues
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
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