Dan Johnson at the University of Lethbridge says research on potato psyllids will help control the insect’s spread.  |  File photo

Insect found in Alberta but disease not present

The psyllid story sets up like a good news-bad news scenario. The bad news is that the potato psyllid, a tiny insect that can carry zebra chip disease that is harmful to potato production and appearance, has been found in Alberta. The good news is that it isn’t carrying the disease. Dan Johnson, an entomologist […] Read more

Melanie Kalischuk, an instructor in the environmental sciences program at Lethbridge College, installs a Burkard trap at an Alberta potato farm to monitor the levels of Phytophthora infestans.  |  Lethbridge College Photo

Spore ID helps prevent late blight

Identifying the different genotypes will help growers select the right fungicide

Traps designed to identify potato blight spores could help potato growers prevent infection of their crops. Researcher and Lethbridge College instructor Melanie Kalischuk is in the second year of a three-year project to erect a network of volumetric traps that will help her and her students identify the presence of late blight spores. The information […] Read more

Each potato fruit can contain up to 400 true potato seeds. Research at Broderick, Sask., is looking at developing hybrid varieties for potato production around the world.  |  Karen Briere photo

New potato seeds could spark revolution

True Potato Seed technology Green fruit grows on potatoes and provides an alternative to seed potatoes

BRODERICK, Sask. — Research underway in Saskatchewan is part of a worldwide revolution in potato production, say officials at Tuberosum Technologies Inc. At a recent open house at the company’s facility in Saskatchewan’s irrigation district near Broderick, TTI showcased its work with true potato seed (TPS) technology. “True seed is basically a sexually produced seed, […] Read more

Canadian producers are estimated to have planted more than 348,000 acres of potatoes in 2013, down slightly from last year.  |  File photo

Canadian potato exports show signs of life

Market rebounding | Asian demand for fries results in increased exports of frozen potatoes

After a decade of declining domestic demand, North America’s potato industry may have a reason to feel hopeful. Kevin MacIsaac, United Potato Growers of Canada general manager, said North American processors exported near record amounts of frozen potatoes to Asia this spring. “There have been some interesting things happening in the frozen market in the […] Read more

Ground application of fungicides is the most effective way to treat late blight, say officials.  |  File photo

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

TABER, Alta. — Don’t treat late blight. Instead, prevent it from ever occurring. That is the key message from plant pathologists and potato industry officials in this region, where the fungal disease caused major losses last year. Late blight kills potato plants and causes tuber rot in storage. It also affects tomatoes, which can be a […] Read more

Processors have severed contracts with several Manitoba growers this year as they reduce volumes in the province.  |  File photo

Potato acres likely to drop as contract talks continue

Manitoba still without agreement | Companies aiming to lower prices

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — Manitoba potato growers and processors haven’t reached an agreement on price, but both sides know fewer potatoes will be grown in the province this year. Keystone Potato Growers Association manager Dan Sawatzky said processors have completely cut ties with several growers, and overall volume will be down. “We don’t have […] Read more

Canadian potato growers planted 12,000 fewer acres this year. | file photo

Smaller potato crop meets lower demand

Fewer acres planted | Manitoba growers are seeing good yields, but Alberta suffered late blight and hail

This year’s potato crop should be in harmony with consumer demand after a year of overproduction and depressed prices, says a United Potato Growers of Canada spokesperson. General manager Kevin MacIsaac said the crop will be significantly smaller than last year because Canadian growers planted 3.2 percent fewer acres and American acres are down seven […] Read more

Potato growers say the cost of production has gone up and they can’t afford to accept a lower contract offer.  |  File photo

McCain irks Man. spud growers

Contract dispute | Manitoba producers offered five percent less while Alberta growers get raise

Manitoba’s potato growers usually know in a normal April how much they will be paid for a hundred pounds of potatoes. However, this year they still don’t have a price because McCain Foods has offered a contract price five percent lower than 2012. “We normally have our contracts in place and producers know the acreage […] Read more

Growers and industry representatives look at potato varieties during a field tour held August 17 at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre near Carberry, Manitoba. Even with extreme heat and lack of rainfall in July, potato fields in Manitoba will likely generate above average yields in 2012. | Robert Arnason photo

Manitoba expects above average potato yields

CARBERRY, Man. — Manitoba potato producers will likely harvest an above average crop this year, says a provincial potato specialist. That’s despite record temperatures and arid conditions in July that pushed irrigation systems to their limits. Following a tour of potato research plots at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre north of Carberry, Man., Manitoba Agriculture […] Read more

Late blight hits spuds

Manitoba’s first case of late blight in 2012 has been found in a commercial potato field near Carberry. Manitoba Agriculture announced late last week that the affected parts of the field have been disked under. As well, growers have applied the appropriate fungicides to the remainder of the field and nearby potato crops. The risk […] Read more