Canadian research looks at the use and loss of nitrogen fertilizer in potato crops

Image result for potato nitrogenPotato plants need a lot of nitrogen to produce tubers at optimum levels, but with more applied nitrogen comes an increased risk of nitrogen loss to the atmosphere. Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, is studying the use and loss of that fertilizer in potato crops. He is testing various nitrogen fertilizer formulations and biostimulants to gauge their effect on potato productivity and nitrous oxide emissions. “In potato crops we want to be able to figure out what’s the environmental footprint and one of the main components of the environmental footprint is actually greenhouse gas emissions,” Ramirez said during a late August field day at the Crop Diversification Centre in Brooks. A biostimulant called HYT-A, has been tested on potatoes and other high-value crops in Europe, and this was included for the first time in a North American study  More

Aqua-Yield revolutionizes phosphorus retention

Image result for Aqua-YieldWith drastically improved phosphorus retention and application rates at only 4 ounces per acre, Aqua-Yield introduces NanoPhos, now available for a worldwide release. Established research and development results indicate what farmers have been waiting for and wanting for years; NanoPhos maximizes crops’ responses to phosphorus utilized in root, flower and general growth. It improves soil structure and organic matter, and is a critical ingredient in soil microbe populations’ health. “Aqua-Yield is taking a huge step with the release of NanoPhos,” says Clark Bell, CEO and Aqua-Yield co-founder “Why? Because we simply have to become a more efficient nation in how we apply phosphates to our crops. Today’s application methods for phosphorus make it the most wasted crop nutrient in use. More

Global potato processors wring efficiency from eco-friendly upgrades

Image result for drip irrigation potatoesEuropean processors have worked to align themselves with the environmental goals passed by their home countries. Their innovative responses to those new rules have led, in some cases, to increased efficiency and greater productivity. One of those companies, Netherlands-based Lamb Weston/Meijer, wanted to know if using drip irrigation would be an economically feasible solution to water issues for some of their growers. Jolanda Soons-Dings, senior manager sustainability, said the company saw the biggest opportunity for drip irrigation in the United Kingdom where water scarcity and stricter legislation, such as water quotas set by local governments, make water a hot commodity. Company trials in the UK (2015) showed, on average, a 5–10 percent increase in yield using the same amount of water. The potatoes, noted Soons-Dings, were also of better, more consistent quality. More

Data leads to smarter center pivot irrigation

Information is one of the most powerful tools growers have in their arsenal – and the methods we use to gather it are always advancing. These days, growers can gather data about soil moisture, aerial imagery, weather conditions, yield mapping and more. They can enter their data into a program or hub to analyze it, and then use that information to decide how and where to plant, what to plant, the best time to fertilize, and of course, the best way to irrigate. Ashley Anderson, Valley Irrigation Product Manager, says irrigation data is easy to gather with today’s technology. “Both AgSense® and BaseStation3™ gather near real-time data from the field,” she says. “Center pivot irrigation growers use this data to determine when to irrigate and the proper amount to apply, using water and power more economically.” According to Anderson, a challenge that growers face is how to use the data they collect. More

British Potato 2017: Latest technical updates from potato event

The latest potato agronomic developments were showcased and industry concerns aired at BP2017, held in Harrogate, North Yorks. More data is needed to assess and respond to the threat posed by the Dark Green 37 blight strain, which has shown resistance to fluazinam. David Nelson, field director, Branston said more understanding of the Dark Green 37 strain was needed. “It is the biggest challenge in blight control since metalaxyl resistance in the 1980s. We don’t understand it really and need to collect information in the next 12 months. We need a lot more blight scouts. Loss of glyphosate could limit land availability for growing potatoes, warned Paul Colman, technical director, Greenvale AP. “It is a critical herbicide for controlling volunteer potatoes. Landowners renting out land may make the decision they don’t want potatoes in the rotation anymore.” BASF has launched an SDHI fungicide, Allstar (fluxapyroxad) for control of rhizoctonia in potatoes. Continue reading

UK: “Potato Lono” fertilizer promises major yield uplift

Potato Lono promises major yield upliftLevity CropScience has unveiled new research claiming its product Potato Lono can increase potato yields by up to $1,000 per hectare. The UK-based business said that independent three-year field trials held in England, Ireland, the Netherlands and France had proven the uplift in yields. The company announced the results at the British Potato Show in Harrogate. “We’re excited to have revealed this groundbreaking data” said joint MD David Marks. “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 fertiliser products.” Lono for Potato is described by the company as “a smart fertiliser that focuses the plants growth on tubers, by supplying nitrogen in a form that encourages reproductive growth. Lono hold nitrogen in the amine form, and also contains calcium and important micronutrients. Applied in low doses through the season Lono lifts tuber numbers and improves grading, skin finish and quality.” More

ESN “smart nitrogen” controls release rate of nitrogen

Image result for esn smart nitrogenPotato growers know their crop doesn’t grow like every other crop out there. When it comes to nitrogen uptake, they’re an entirely different animal from grains, oilseeds and other crops. Potatoes like to have nitrogen in steady supply, but that’s complicated by the fact that each seed piece contains enough nitrogen for the plant for approximately the first 40 days of growth. After that, they rely on what can be found in the soil. That means conventional nitrogen that is put down early won’t be used, leaving it to leach into the surrounding environment. Enters ESN “smart nitrogen”, whose polymer coating prevents nitrogen loss when potatoes are using less, but provides the steady release of nitrogen they crave after that initial 40-day period. This leads to better tuber quality and higher yields. More

Idaho Potato Commission takes steps to address quality concerns

University of Idaho Plant Sciences Professor Mike Thornton demonstrates how proper cushioning within equipment can reduce potato bruising Nov. 14 during the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting. Thornton and UI Extension storage specialist Nora Olsen are helping the commission evaluate the possible causes of fresh potato quality concerns by some customers.

The Idaho Potato Commission is collaborating with researchers, major buyers, growers and shippers to address recent quality concerns about some of the state’s fresh potato shipments. Much of the discussion during IPC’s Nov. 14 Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting, hosted at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center, focused on the need to reduce bruising and other imperfections in fresh shipments. IPC President and CEO Frank Muir explained the commission is partnering with Walmart and a major food service buyer to learn more about the causes of quality problems, in response to an increasing number of customer complaints since the 2015 harvest. Muir said IPC also plans to conduct quality-improvement workshops for growers and shippers, is developing a handbook outlining best practices for handling potatoes and has commissioned University of Idaho potato researchers Nora Olsen and Mike Thornton to study the supply chain and determine causes of damage. More

UK: AHDB Agronomists’ Conference gets more interactive

Ag Conf Banner Top To encourage dialogue on pressing agronomic challenges, the 2017 AHDB Agronomists’ Conference promises to be the most interactive yet. Taking place on 5 to 6 December 2017 at Peterborough Arena, opportunities to discuss new ways of working will be provided and speakers will showcase how research is becoming more connected – from the lab to the field. For the second year running, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds will combine forces with AHDB Potatoes and the full two-day programme is now available from the conference web pages. Due to the shifting nature of plant protection product availability and efficacy, a key debate will be on how to protect chemistry. Building on papers on fungicide efficacy against potato blight on day one, a session entitled ‘fungicide futures’ on day two will explore whether the UK needs to work better together to manage product efficacy. Collaboration on soil health will also be in focus, with papers on the AHDB GREATsoils rotations and soil health partnerships. View the full programme

New tools for growers to be launched at British Potato 2017

British Potato 2017 is an occasion for launching and introducing working tools for growers. The event takes place in Yorkshire Event Center, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, UK, during November 22-23. For example, Fera, an international center for interdisciplinary in investigation and problem solving across plant and bee health, will present a new in-field diagnostic tool for potato nematodes. On the other hand, AHDB Potatoes will launch a tool which allows growers and those in the supply chain to examine data on price, variety, planted area, market sector and yield. Senior nematologist Tom Prior will discuss Fera’s new in-field diagnostic tool, scheduled to be launched in 2018, which is able to rapidly identify root-knot nematodes from plant material, in addition to soil analysis service. AHDB Potatoes will launch Potato Data Center (PDC) at BP2017. The tool allows growers and those in the supply chain to examine data on price, variety, planted area, market sector and yield. More

UK: DIY soil testing

GREATsoils June 2017 5 (1)Farmers will be advised to get into DIY when it comes to the health of their soils at an upcoming GREATsoils meeting in East Lothian on 16 November. The event – Soil health – measuring, monitoring and managing – will outline the key findings from the GREATsoils programme, which has been funded by AHDB Horticulture to inspire and support growers to assess and manage the health of their soils. GREATsoils is part of AHDB’s Farm Excellence Platform and is focused on helping businesses drive productivity, through farmer-to-farmer and stakeholder collaboration. As well as highlighting current best practice in soil management, the event will explore other soil testing methods which, for project manager and soil expert Audrey Litterick, haven’t yet proved they are a good financial investment. More

The International Potato Centre expands to Georgia in Eurasia

The International Potato Center (CIP) has opened its regional office covering Central Asia and the Caucasus, in Tbilisi, Georgia. CIP plans to implement innovative methods of potato growing and will introduce new potato breeds. It will also focus on providing educational and professional development possibilities to scientists, farmers and producers in the sector. Michael Gerba, International Potato Center Chief Operating Officer, addressed the audience, saying potatoes, like wine, are part of Georgia’s great culture. “I’m very glad to be in Tbilisi. Our organisation will promote potato-growing not only in Georgia, but throughout the region,” he stated. More

UK: Protect potato crops from day one in storage

Concern about how well tubers will store once liftedAs wet weather proves challenging for potato lifting in some regions of the country, growers are being urged to consider management practises to prevent these conditions causing quality issues once crops go into storage. “Persistent rain across the UK has caused water logging in some areas and there are concerns about how well tubers will store once lifted,” said Morley Benson, Certis’ field sales manager. “This year reports of scab, black leg and tuber blight are not uncommon and harvest delays are likely to increase this pressure. Therefore, it’s even more important for growers to protect their crops to ensure quality is maintained from storage, to point of sale or planting as seed. More

Key considerations for potato farmers: The importance of crop rotation

When making decisions about how to achieve optimal product and yield, many potato growers turn to crop rotation. This method has proven time and again to help growers manage diseases that might affect their crop. “If you continually grow potatoes on the same ground, you’re going to get buildup of diseases that could lead to yield or quality problems,” said Curtis Rainbolt, Technical Service Representative at BASF. “You’re going to see benefits from planting a crop that isn’t a host for the same diseases potatoes are prone to.” If a grower rotates from a broadleaf crop susceptible to many of the same diseases as potatoes to a grass crop that is not so susceptible, then Rainbolt’s advice rings especially true. Whether growers decide to grow a broadleaf crop like sugar beets or a grass crop such as corn, it’s important for them to have diversity in their operation. “The more diversity you have in your rotation, the more you’re going to lower the disease pressure,” said Rainbolt. More

Idaho potato crop returns to average volumes

Idaho has bounced back to a more normal potato crop this season from its bumper crop last year. Last season, Idaho had more potatoes available for the fresh market than any other year in its history, said Ryan Wahlen, sales manager for Pleasant Valley Potato Inc., Aberdeen, Idaho. The United Potato Growers of Idaho reported that planted acreage statewide is down nearly 15,000 acres, from 322,629 in 2016 to 307,776 in 2017. Total fresh potato production in Idaho last season was 38.2 million cwt., according to the group. This season, it’s estimating production between 31 million and 32.5 million cwt. — a potential decrease of nearly 19%. “We expect that, as harvest finishes, shippers will realize how much lower yields were this season compared to last season and will adjust their pricing to reflect their reduced inventory,” Wahlen said. “The 15,000-acre decrease in potato acreage coupled with the lower yields we’ve experienced should translate to better grower returns this year.” More