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.
March 14, 2016, Prince Edward Island – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist Dr. Christine Noronha has designed a simple and environmentally green trap using hardware store items that could be a major breakthrough in the control of wireworms, an increasingly destructive agricultural pest on PEI and across Canada.
The Noronha Elaterid Light Trap, or “NELT”, is made with three pieces - a small solar-powered spotlight, a plastic white cup and a piece of screening. The light is set close to the ground to attract the source of the wireworms, the female click beetles that emerge from the ground in May and June. Each of these beetles can lay between 100 and 200 eggs that produce the larvae known as wireworms. In a six-week test with 10 traps, more than 3,000 females were captured in the plastic cups, preventing the birth of up to 600,000 wireworms. The screening prevents beneficial predator insects from being caught in the trap.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Office of Intellectual Property is trademarking the trap name and design and work is underway to find a manufacturer who might be interested in mass-producing the trap.
The NELT is the latest in a series of wireworm control measures being developed by a team that includes Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the PEI Potato Board, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Cavendish Farms, the PEI Horticultural Association, growers and consulting agronomists. Wireworms live in the soil and drill their way through tuber and root crops like potatoes and carrots. The PEI Potato Board estimated wireworm damage to the province’s potato crop alone at $6 million in 2014.
To learn more about the NELT, be sure to sign up for an exclusive webinar with Christine Noronha, hosted by Potatoes in Canada magazine, on May 12.
March 11, 2016, Edmonton, Alta – Mike Harding doesn’t usually favour sensational titles for the presentations he gives to farmers.
On March 1, the Alberta Agriculture crop pathologist made an exception with his talk to potato growers on Fusarium: The Silent Storage Killer. He said fusarium in potatoes “flies under the radar” be-cause it can develop slowly in stored product and do major damage before it is noticed. READ MORE
March 9, 2016, Prince Edward Island – The Island’s staple potato industry may be experiencing a slump, writes The Guardian. At least one Island potato grower who recently attended the International Potato Expo says farms like his are struggling to sell potatoes because there are just too many of them. | READ MORE
March 7, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – A research team has discovered that Prince Edward Island is exporting more than just potatoes.
It turns out that 95 per cent of the nitrates that are emptying into the Northumberland Strait are coming from this province. And of these, 91 per cent are coming from the Island's agriculture industry. READ MORE
March 3, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – With its highest attendance in a decade, the 2016 edition of the International Potato Technology Expo – held Feb. 26-27 – was a resounding success.
Approximately 3,200 industry professionals walked the show floor to check out the diverse grouping of local, regional, national, and international exhibitors. Potato growers, together with the leading manufacturers of equipment and product solutions from across the Maritimes and beyond were in attendance.
Matt Mitchell, show manager, said he was very pleased with the outcome of the event.
“We were happy to see that this year’s edition drew the show’s highest attendance since 2006,” he said. “I think the excellent conference program really contributed to that, given that it was so well attended. Likewise, we certainly couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the addition of the tractors was a great draw for potato farmers.”
Exhibitors echoed the positive sentiments.
“This year’s show was another very successful event,” said Brian Beaton, potato industry coordinator with the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. “All the major suppliers to the potato industry were there and attendance by potato growers was very high. I heard many positive comments about the speakers at the conference and many said that they picked up some valuable information for their farm.”
“The potato expo provided an excellent opportunity to connect with our customers and others in the ag industry,” said Karen MacInnis Larter, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) marketing program manager.
“We were proud to be the major sponsor for this year’s event,” she added. “It was a great showcase and an excellent learning event for producers. They could find industry related information pertinent to their operations and hear top-notch speakers. It was a quality event from start to finish.”
“We found the expo extremely beneficial,” said Trent Cousins, Allan Potato Handling Equipment Ltd. “We feel there was a huge attendance from our industry. Having our exhibit in the show put us in touch with many customers, both new and existing, that we may not have had the chance to meet with. We will definitely be attending again in the future.”
“I can honestly say that this year show was by far better for us in quality lead generation and people coming to visit our booth; industry interest was like we haven’t seen in a few years,” said Marco Gagnon, GOW Group Inc. “All in all, we qualify this event a success for us.”
This year, a full educational conference program was offered alongside the tradeshow portion of the event. It featured seminar presentations from leading experts, including Dr. Tom Wolf, Agrimetrix Research & Training, Saskatoon, SK; Dr. Bernie Zebarth, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fredericton, NB; Dr. Gefu Wang-Pruski, Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus, Truro, NS; and Lane Stockbrugger, Farm Credit Canada, Englefeld, SK. The conference was well attended with 173 registrants and strong attendance for both the morning and afternoon sessions.
February 23, 2016, West Prince, PEI – A West Prince potato farmer is hoping a new variety of spud with distinctive pink markings will be a big hit in Island stores, and eventually make its way to the U.S.
Johnny MacLean, from West Devon, bought the exclusive North American rights for the seed. But the potatoes didn't have a name – just a number. So he dubbed them Smilin' Eyes Irish Gold. READ MORE
Feb. 12, 2016, Canada – Double Nickel biofungicide is now available for use by Canadian growers of fruiting and leafy vegetables, potatoes, grapes, strawberries, tree fruit and other crops. Double Nickel represents a new generation of fungicides and bactericides that have biologically based active ingredients, are of low risk to the environment and are sustainable crop protection solutions, according to a press release. Manufactured by Certis USA, Double Nickel is registered for use in five countries, including the U.S. where it has been used by American growers for more than two years.
Double Nickel is a naturally occurring strain (D747) of the beneficial rhizobacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. B. amyloliquefaciens rapidly colonizes roots, leaves and other plant surfaces to prevent establishment of disease-causing fungi and bacteria, such as powdery mildew, Botrytis, bacterial disorders, damping off, and root and crown diseases, such as ythium, rhizoctonia, Fusarium and sclerotinia.
The release adds that Double Nickel uses multiple non-toxic modes of action to control and suppress diseases. 1) Its metabolites kill fungal pathogens by damaging cell membranes. 2) The metabolites control bacterial pathogens by disrupting cell walls. 3) Double Nickel triggers a SAR/ISR response from the plant prompting it to defend itself against pathogens. 4) Double Nickel prevents infection from pathogens through competitive exclusion. These multiple modes of action make the FRAC 44 biofungicide highly effective in the field.
Double Nickel is of low risk to bees and beneficials, according to the press release. It has a four-hour re-entry, can be applied up to and including the day of harvest, at low use rates. Double Nickel is residue exempt, so there are no minimum residue level (MRL) issues limiting the export of treated crops.
The biofungicide is available as Double Nickel 55 WDG and in a liquid concentrate (LC) formulation. Double Nickel 55 leaves no visible residue on the crop.
Double Nickel 55 WDG and Double Nickel LC will be distributed exclusively by UAP Canada.
February 12, 2016, Calgary, Alta – Potato growers across Canada have the option of applying Delegate insecticide by air for control of Colorado potato beetle and European corn borer.
“If a seed treatment was not used, or is not offering sufficient control of insects, plan to use Delegate insecticide in your crop,” says Mark Alberts, product manager at Dow AgroSciences. “Delegate is a non-neonic product which provides rapid foliar control of target pests. This aerial application registration is an opportunity for applicators and growers to integrate an excellent new control measure with a unique mode of action into their programs.”
The active ingredient in Delegate is Spinetoram, a member of the spinosyn class of chemistry (Group 5) and controls a broad spectrum of pests by both contact and ingestion. It provides knockdown and residual activity in many fruit, vegetable and field crops, including potatoes. According to the company, Delegate affects the insect nervous system. It does not interact with the known binding sites of other classes of insecticide. Because of Delegate’s mode of action, it is an excellent rotational product that can be used in an IPM system.
Further information on Delegate is available at DowAgro.ca.
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