Noordoostpolder – Subsidie voor aardappelkenniscentrum

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Een consortium van bedrijven uit Noordoostpolder krijgt ruim 430.000 euro om een digitaal kenniscentrum voor de aardappel en de ui op te richten. De bedoeling van het project genaamd e-OPTIMA is dat er een grote database komt waar alle informatie over de teelt, opslag en bewerking van de aardappel en ui wordt vastgelegd. De subsidie komt grotendeels uit de pot van de Zuiderzeelijngelden. Dat geld is beschikbaar gesteld door het Rijk, toen die spoorlijn niet werd aangelegd. Bijna drie ton komt van het rijk, de provincie doet daar bijna 80.000 euro bij en de gemeente voegt daar nog bijna 60.000 euro aan toe. Eerder vroeg e-OPTIMA 2.5 miljoen euro subsidie, de gemeente Noordoostpolder vond dat te veel.

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Understanding Potato Blight Evolution May Help Farmers Protecting Crops

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Scientists have discovered vital clues as to how the pathogen responsible for the Irish potato famine adapted to spread between different plant species. Researchers at Oxford University and The Sainsbury Laboratory (Norwich, UK) looked in unprecedented detail at how Phytophthora infestans, a…

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US: President Obama visits MSU Potato Breeding Program

During his trip last week to sign the 2014 Farm Bill at Michigan State University (MSU), President Obama took time to visit some of the university’s cutting-edge research facilities, including its potato breeding program. Dr. David Douches, the principle investigator of the MSU Potato Breeding and Genetics Program, and Dr. Robin Buell, professor of plant biology who led an international consortium of scientists to sequence the potato genome, hosted the president and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Continue reading

Researchers: Volunteer plants not a source of in-season spread of zebra chip disease

Volunteer potato plants growing from seed infected with zebra chip are likely too few in number and survive too briefly to contribute to the spread of the crop disease, according to new Oregon State University research findings. According to OSU plant pathology laboratory manager Jordan Eggers, “It looks like volunteers won’t be a source of the bacterium for in-season spread. The biggest source is migrating psyllids that have the bacterium.” More

Study shows PVY costs Idaho $34 million

Spud yield losses caused by potato virus Y cost Idaho’s economy about $34 million per year, according to results of a recently completed economic impact study by University of Idaho agricultural economist Chris McIntosh. The estimate includes $6.5 million in lost wages from 184 Idaho jobs that would otherwise be filled if not for PVY. McIntosh estimates direct losses to Idaho’s economy caused by PVY at $19.5 million, and indirect losses at $14.5 million. Based on his findings, McIntosh advises growers, “You need to be sure to not only look at current-season test results on seed lots but also ask for winter test results and make sure there wasn’t a differential between summer and winter tests.” More

US: Potatoes thrive under higher carbon dioxide levels

Although some plants may suffer under global climate change and increased carbon dioxide levels, potatoes appear to thrive. Under trials that simulated elevated CO2 levels, potato tuber yield was as much as 60 percent greater than from plants growing under current CO2 levels, according to a news release. The studies, conducted by an Agricultural Research Service group led by agricultural engineer David Fleisher, involved growing potatoes in two outdoor chambers that simulated long-term drought and increased CO2 levels. More

Canada: Scientist warns Prince Edward Island farmers about wireworm

Farmers packed Charlottetown’s Dutch Inn Tuesday to hear the science surrounding wireworms. It’s a tiny pest that’s difficult to eradicate and is a serious threat to the Island’s potato, vegetable and cereal crops. Bob Vernon, an Agriculture Canada scientist, spoke to about 300 farmers. He’s been researching wireworm for 20 years. The tiny pest burrows into crops and leaves holes that make them unmarketable. “You can have a single wireworm put four or five holes in a tuber. Back in British Columbia, where I come from, if you have two holes in a tuber, that’s a cull and you throw it out,” Vernon said. More

US: Potato Board Chip Committee funds Zebra Chip Variety Research

Dr. Creighton Miller from Texas A&M University has been working with the United States Potato Board (USPB) varieties and the Zebra Chip defect. Dr. Miller is developing a variety testing process to help identify varieties with tolerance to the Zebra Chip Defect. In his first year doing this work for the USPB, it appears three varieties are showing more tolerance to obtaining the Zebra Chip Defect than others. The varieties showing tolerance in our initial testing are the following: MSL 292-A (Manistee), W2717-5 (Lelah), and W2324-1 (Accumulator). Other varieties that were tested but did not display a high a level of tolerance include: Atlantic, Snowden, W5015-12, MSH228-6, Lamoka, Nicolet, and NY138 (Waneta). It is the plan of the USPB Chip Committee to continue this work to see if varieties can be identified which display consistent resistance to the Zebra Chip Defect. If varieties with consistent tolerance can be identified, it may provide suppliers with another method of reducing the impact of this complex defect. (Source: USPB)

Potatoes could step up performance under climate change pressure

New research shows that potatoes – often cultivated as a rainfed crop with little or no irrigation – are still the go-to tuber when times get tough. Agricultural Research Service agricultural engineer David Fleisher and colleagues wanted to measure how potato plants would respond to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and the increasingly erratic rainfall patterns expected to result from global climate change. So the team conducted two outdoor-chamber studies to evaluate effects of short-term drought cycles at current and elevated CO2 levels. Fleisher and his research partners – plant physiologist Richard Sicher, soil scientist Dennis Timlin, research leader V.R. Reddy, and research associate Jinyoung Barnaby—all work at the ARS Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. More

US: Maine Potato Board, UMaine partnership unveils two new potato varieties

The Maine Potato Board and University of Maine this week announced the creation of two new potato varieties targeted at the french fry and potato chip industries. The new varieties — the Easton and the Sebec — were developed in partnership with the University of Maine over the past several growing seasons, Tim Hobbs, director of grower relations for the potato board, said Friday. “The Easton is the one that is the new french fry processing potato variety and it was named after the town,” he said, speaking of the potato farming community in northern Aroostook County. The variety was created at UMaine’s Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle. Field evaluations conducted since 2004 indicate that the Easton potato will produce higher yields and lighter-colored french fries than the current standard french fry variety. While french fry processing is expected to be the primary market for that variety of spud, it also has excellent flavor and is very good boiled, mashed or baked, according to the potato board. More

Washington State University potato researchers seek new fresh pack varieties

Washington State University researchers are examining new potato varieties as an alternative for the leading fresh pack variety, the Russet Norkotah. WSU research assistant Rhett Spear says newer varieties can offer farmers more disease resistance and improved yields. The Russet Norkotah is fairly uniform with good yields and economic return, said Rhett Spear, Washington State University research assistant. But it’s also susceptible to Potato Virus Y and to verticillium wilt. The variety has poor flesh color and flavor after long periods in storage. Researchers in Pacific Northwest trials examine new varieties for economic value, even distribution of sizes, good yields, culinary attributes and storage capability, comparing them with varieties commonly grown in the Columbia Basin. The study includes taste tests at WSU. More

Idaho researcher helps set up Kenyan spud seed test

Jonathan Whitworth spent much of last summer helping one of the major certified potato seed providers in Kenya establish laboratory testing to back up visual field inspections for diseased plants. Now Whitworth, a research plant pathologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, hopes the Kenyan potato industry will reciprocate by sending breeding cultivars he saw in their fields with late blight resistance, as well as some other virus-resistant lines. Upon arriving in the U.S., Whitworth explained the cultivars would have to remain in quarantine, undergoing tests for up to a year and a half to confirm they’re clean. He’ll also search for brown rot-resistant material in his own breeding cultivars to help the Kenyans address one of their common diseases. More

Canada: Corn-based product to preserve sliced potatoes

An Ontario company in Canada is working on a preservative for fresh-cut potatoes. Guelph based Wellington Agribusiness Investments is using a natural corn protein extract in it’s sulphite-free Potato Saver. They recently completed an extensive set of research trials at the Craig Richardson Institute of Food Technology at Conestoga College. Those tests suggest the product is effective at preventing browning in whole peeled potatoes for 12 to 15 days, when the potatoes are kept refrigerated in a vacuum bag. The company says that research is the last stage before full commercial testing of Potato Saver. The federal government invested in this project through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program. (Source:

US: Sanitation trailers kept PCN program on track

Pressure-washing trailers built to aid growers facing special regulations for pale cyst nematode arrived in the nick of time last fall, PCN program coordinator Tina Gresham said during a recent update on efforts to eradicate the pest in eastern Idaho. In 2012, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service began allowing growers with non-infested, regulated fields to wash and sanitize their own equipment, and to certify their own work, upon completing training. The Idaho Potato Commission obtained a $50,000 farm bill grant to build sanitation trailers, which were made available for regulated growers to use at no cost in 2013. “These trailers give them autonomy they don’t have when they have to make appointments with the PCN program and work within our schedule,” Gresham said. More

Secrets of potato blight evolution could help farmers fight back

Scientists have discovered vital clues as to how the pathogen responsible for the Irish potato famine adapted to spread between different plant species. Researchers at Oxford University and The Sainsbury Laboratory (Norwich, UK) looked in unprecedented detail at how Phytophthora infestans, a pathogen that continues to blight potatoes and tomatoes today, evolved to target other plants. The study, published today in the journal Science, is the first to show how pathogens switch from targeting one species to another through changes at the molecular level. Researchers examined the biochemical differences between Phytophthora infestans and sister species Phytophthora mirabilis, a pathogen that split from P. infestans around 1300 years ago. More