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Corn borers develop taste for potatoes

Canadian potato growers found a new insect foe in the 2015 season — European corn borer. Ordinarily the pest prefers maize and other grain crops, but when conditions are right it will move on and hit other crops hard, including potatoes. Ian MacRae, an extension entomologist at Minnesota’s Northwest Research and Outreach Center, told Manitoba […] Read more

Biosecurity a good business decision

Getting biosecurity right prevents losing money to disease and pests

Biosecurity should be top of mind for potato growers, according to Prince Edward Island potato producer Gary Linkletter. Linkletter brought his grower’s perspective to a presentation on biosecurity at Manitoba Potato Production Days, held in Brandon, Man. from January 26 to 28. Offering examples from his own experiences on his fourth-generation, 1,700-acre potato operation, Linkletter […] Read more

Use only local seed to slow Dickeya and other pathogens

Europe has been grappling with a similar problem for years and we should learn from its experience

Imported seed bearing new pathogens is a threat to the Canadian potato industry, according to a U.S. researcher. Neil Gudmestad, a distinguished professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University, was in Brandon this January to deliver a lecture on the importance of planting locally produced seed at Manitoba Potato Production Days. “There are […] Read more

Cover crops breaking out of livestock niche

Benefits of cover crops shown to accrue to grain portion of mixed operations, causing some without livestock to consider them

Cover crops could be a game changer for Manitoba, and not just for mixed crop and livestock operations. Typically those farms have been the earliest adopters of this new technique, said Michael Thiele, who works with the province’s grazing clubs through a Ducks Unlimited program. “These guys growing cover crops are finding that using and […] Read more

New research raises red flag over buffer strips

A University of Manitoba researcher says riparian buffer strips may not be the answer to preventing nutrient run-off

New research from the Univer­­sity of Manitoba raises questions over the effectiveness of buffer strips often used around cropland to filter out nutrients before they reach waterways in run-off. David Lobb, senior research chair for the Watershed Systems Research Program and a University of Manitoba soil science professor, says riparian buffer strips are “highly inefficient” […] Read more

Phosphorus recovery can complement source reduction

Globally, it's estimated that one-third of all phosphorous applied is lost to water due to erosion, leaching and run-off

A Manitoba engineer says phosphorus (P) recovery methods can be an important addition to the province’s phosphorus management strategies. Francesco Zurzolo, an engineer specializing in nutrient management and reduction with Dillon Consulting, says Manitoba is dealing with eutrophication and destruction of important ecosystems due to P buildup. Zurzolo spoke at the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association’s […] Read more

Business needs to communicate sustainability better

Companies that have embraced sustainable practices also tend to be better performers

Canadian businesses must learn how to better communicate their progress in sustainable development, according to Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation in the University of Waterloo’s faculty of environment. Feltmate was in Winnipeg November 19 to deliver his keynote address, “Emerging sustainable development challenges and drivers,” at the Manitoba Environmental Industries […] Read more

potato crop

Manitoba potato acreage seen steady in 2015

Demand for processing potatoes is stable to up slightly in North America

It’s too early to make definitive statements about potato acreage in Manitoba in 2015, but Keystone Potato Producers Association manager Dan Sawatzky expects that if anything, it may go up slightly. “I think we’re pretty confident that we can say that,” he says. In 2014, Manitoba acreage totalled 63,340 acres, of which 45,000 were processing, […] Read more

potatoes with pink rot

Cultural practices important for managing pink rot and leak

Environmental conditions can influence the appearance from year to year

Manitoba growers know there are plenty of differences between “wet” rots and “dry” rots in storage — but both can cause devastating losses each year. According to Neil Gudmestad, a distinguished professor at North Dakota State University’s department of plant pathology, important rots in storage include dry rot, late blight tuber rot, pink rot, leak […] Read more

red potatoes

Phosphorus acid a strong option for disease control in potatoes

Both foliar or post-harvest application are options, depending on circumstances

Phosphorus acid was a much-discussed topic at Manitoba Potato Production Days in Brandon this year, and for good reason. A variety of phosphorus acid treatments, registered in Canada under the labels Phostrol, Rampart and Confine, are useful additions to growers’ tool boxes for disease control. Susan Ainsworth, a potato specialist for Syngenta in Manitoba, offered […] Read more