Vegetables
June 23, 2017, Ontario - For nearly four months, farmers in Ontario who grow processing vegetables have been silenced after the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission shut down our organization – Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG).

As a result, the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance was formed to represent the interests of growers of the 14 different processing vegetables grown in Ontario, in the absence of OPVG.

Our goal, as an alliance of growers, is to restore a fully elected OPVG board with the authority to negotiate prices, terms, conditions and contracts for Ontario’s processing vegetable growers.

But on June 15, 2017, the commission posted proposed amendments to Regulation 441 (Vegetables for Processing – Plan) that impact governance of OPVG.

We have very serious concerns about the proposed amendments that would effectively allow the government to take control of the OPVG board for another year. OPVG currently has no expert advisory staff or board, and is operated by a commission-appointed trustee.

Our sector is best served by the grassroots growers who produce the 14 different processing vegetables grown in Ontario. And a fully elected grower board is in the best position to accurately and adequately represent our sector.

The proposed amendments to OPVG board governance will put the voice of the processing growers at a minority, with government appointees making up the majority of the OPVG board until the end of 2018.

It is unacceptable that the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission intends to appoint more than 50 per cent of the OPVG board positions (board chair plus four board members) with no requirement that these board members are active processing vegetable growers in Ontario.

We are encouraging all processing vegetable growers in the province to take the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments by the July 31, 2017 deadline date.
June 16, 2017, Bradford, Ont. - After watching greenhouse tomatoes and creamer potatoes move from commodity to cool thanks to great flavor and marketing, Quinton Woods thinks carrots are next.

“Everyone sees carrots as the cheap option on the shelf and retailers love promoting them,” said Woods, sales manager for Gwillimdale Farms in Bradford, Ontario, which has just completed a company-wide rebranding.

“Last summer’s consumer research told us that shoppers aren’t concerned about price,” he said, “but they do want their carrots to be sweet, clean and crisp.”

Gwillimdale’s new bag plays up the carrots’ attributes, he said.

“Consumers don’t want traditional carrots,” Woods said. “With all the different nationalities in Toronto in particular, there’s more pressure every year for new offerings in the category.”

Gwillimdale is one of several Ontario farms growing Nantes carrots, which have gained popularity, especially at farmers markets. READ MORE
June 15, 2017, New Zealand - Potatoes are an integral part of a Kiwi diet, whether mashed up or sliced into chips, but there's always been a very distinct issue with them: they're not particularly healthy.

But now some New Zealand farmers have invented a new kind of potato they claim has 40 percent less carbs.

Farmer Andrew Keeney told Three's The Project that the Lotato, as it's been called, is grown in Pukekohe and Ohakune, and created by cross-breeding other varieties. READ MORE
June 12, 2017, Malden, N.B. - A family of New Brunswick potato farmers are getting into the booze business by making vodka from spuds.

Blue Roof Distillers has joined a small handful of distillers in the country making the product.

The Strang family has been farming in the community of Malden, N.B. since 1855. For decades, the blue roofs on their barns have symbolized potatoes. But now they also represent their new line of ultra-premium Blue Roof vodka.

Potato vodka has been around since the days of the backyard still, but this is a first for New Brunswick. READ MORE
June 9, 2017, Fredericton, N.B. - Housed in Canada’s centre of excellence for potato research along the Saint John River Valley in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s scientists maintain a living library of nearly 180 potentially high-value potato gene resources.

Canada’s potato gene bank, or Canadian Potato Genetic Resources, is part of an international commitment to global food security.

If disease or a natural disaster strikes and potato crops are devastated, researchers from anywhere in the world can turn to the gene bank to rebuild the stock.

Researchers can also call on the gene bank for resources to help them develop stronger, more disease-resistant and environmentally-resilient varieties.

"We preserve some potato varieties that are of unique value to northern latitude climates, varieties that are adapted to shorter seasons with longer daylight hours. Only certain star varieties are grown by the potato industry so in the interest of preserving genetic diversity, an important part of our role as gene bank curators is to back up our genetic resources," said Dr. Benoit Bizimungu, Gene Resources Curator, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Unlike other gene banks that preserve seed-propagated crops like grains, the potato gene bank is made up of live tissue cultures or tubers which are perishable and require- constant maintenance.

Plantlets are grown in aseptic conditions in test tubes that are stored in temperature-controlled growth chambers for six to eight weeks at a time. The collection is then refreshed,continuously monitored and periodically tested for contaminations.

Microtubers, or tiny potatoes about the size of a raisin, are also produced in test-tubes and preserved for up to a year as a backup. A duplicate collection of microtubers is kept at AAFC's Saskatoon Research and Development Centre.

"It's well worth it," says Dr. Bizimungu of the work involved in conserving high-value potato genetic diversity. "There are many potato varieties that aren't grown today that have traits that are of current or future interest to researchers and educators. Preserving these varieties ensures valuable attributes, and even those with known susceptibility to certain diseases, are kept for the development of future, better varieties."

The collection is comprised of heritage varieties, modern Canadian-bred varieties, as well as strains known to show differential reactions to certain diseases and breeding lines with specific traits scientists are interested in studying.

In addition to Canadian varieties, the collection also includes varieties from the U.S., Peru and many European countries including Ireland, the Netherlands and Estonia.

Canadian Potato Genetic Resource is part of Plant Gene Resources Canada (PRGC). The mandate of PGRC is to acquire, preserve and evaluate the genetic diversity of crops and their wild relatives with focus on germplasm of economic importance or potential for Canada.
May 25, 2017, P.E.I. - There will be no commercially grown GMO potatoes on Prince Edward Island this year, according to Simplot Plant Sciences, the company that developed the Innate potato.

Innate potatoes bruise less and have less black spots than conventional potatoes.

Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said the company is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there's a proven market for them. READ MORE
May 19, 2017, Holland Marsh, Ont. - Environment Canada says a downburst destroyed a barn and caused all sorts of damage in the Holland Marsh and York Region.

Wind gusts stronger than 85 km/h accompanied a band of thunderstorms that moved east across central Ontario on Thursday evening.

The hardest hit areas were in the Holland Marsh, where winds obliterated a barn, tossing debris across a large field. Winds also forced a tractor trailer to flip on Highway 400 north at Canal Road. READ MORE


Video: Drone footage of the Holland Marsh following the May 18 storm system
May 15, 2017, Augusta, ME – With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control recently approved the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company.

The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. READ MORE
May 9, 2017 – Laboratory testing can detect Dickeya — but is there enough of it present to justify the higher costs?

It’s a relatively new threat to North American potato production. The invasive pathogen Dickeya dianthicola — not to be confused with blackleg causing Dickeya solani — was first spotted in Canada in Ontario fields, having come in on seed potatoes from Maine. READ MORE
May 4, 2017, Brandon, Man – Whether fresh or processing potatoes, any issue in storage needs to involve partnership with your end-user, says Mary LeMere, an agronomy manager with McCain Foods based in Wisconsin.

LeMere was at Manitoba Potato Production Days in Brandon, Man., January 24 to 26 to deliver “lightning advice” on three key topics – managing late blight in storage, the impact of pile height on potato quality, and tips for using FLIR cameras to detect issues in the pile. READ MORE
April 19, 2017 – Healthy seed is a key factor in growing a quality potato crop. Several diseases affect seed tubers and have the potential to reduce plant stand early in the season.

It is extremely important to examine all seed lots carefully immediately after receiving the seed.
If you detect diseases or defects, check the standards set by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA). There are tolerances both for shipping and for receiving.

If diseases or defects appear to be a problem, growers may request that an inspector from CFIA re-inspect the seed, but this must be done within 48 hours of receiving the seed.

Disinfesting the seed cutters often is strongly recommended to reduce the spread of pathogens.

Important seed-borne diseases that reduce plant stand.

Fusarium dry rot (Fusarium spp)
This is the most common disease causing seed piece decay. Infected seed pieces may be partially or completely destroyed. A single sprout may emerge if only part of the seed piece is infected, but the resulting plant will be weak and will produce few marketable tubers.

Fusarium lesions are sunken and shriveled with concentric wrinkles. The internal rotted tissue is brown or grey to black, dry and crumbly. There is no noticeable smell. Fusarium often rots the center of the tuber, forming a cavity. The walls of the cavity are often lined with rotting tissue, producing spores that may be white or yellow or pink. Fusarium spores can contaminate healthy seed at cutting and spread the disease to healthy tubers. There are seed-piece treatments to prevent the spread of Fusarium during seed cutting, but no seed treatment can turn bad seed into good.

Rhizoctonia (R. solani)
Rhizoctonia can reduce plant stands and cause serious losses especially in cool springs. Affected tubers have sclerotia, which are black, irregular lumps stuck to the tuber skin. These black sclerotia germinate producing a fungal growth that infects sprouts causing dark brown cankers. Infections that kill sprouts before emergence cause severe damage. New sprouts will emerge, but they will be less vigorous than the first sprouts resulting in weak, uneven stands. Rhizoctonia is more prevalent if the weather is cool and wet. These conditions slow plant emergence and favour the growth of the fungus. Quadris in-furrow is a good management tool to control Rhizoctonia.

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans)
This is the most devastating fungal disease of potatoes. Infected seed is an important source of inoculum. Try to reduce the risk of planting infected seed by inspecting seed lots carefully. Look for slightly sunken, purplish areas of variable size on the surface of tubers. A granular, reddish brown dry rot develops under the skin. CFIA allows seed lots with one per cent of late blight and Fusarium infection combined. If there is one per cent late blight infection, you will end up with approximately 150 infected plants per acre. Some of the seed will rot before emergence, but cutting infected seed will spread the disease to healthy tubers. If more than one per cent of late blight is detected in a seed shipment, it is advisable not to plant the seed.

The fungicide Reason is registered as a seed treatment for late blight. Curzate applied at 80 per cent plant emergence is recommended if the seed originated in an area where late blight was problem the previous season.

If the growing season is cool and wet, it is impossible to eradicate the disease no matter how good the spray program. In 2016, late blight did not develop in Ontario, but it was detected in some seed-production areas both in Canada and in the US. Thus, check carefully for late blight when your seed shipment arrives.

Soft Rot (Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum)
Bacterial sot rot can cause serious losses. If about one per cent of the tubers in a seed lot show visible rot, excessive bacterial seed-piece decay may develop. The rotted tissues are wet and cream to tan in colour with a soft, granular consistency. Rotted tissues are sharply delineated from healthy ones by a blackish border. Secondary bacteria invade infected tubers rapidly causing a fishy smell.

Healthy seed tubers may be infected during cutting, and infected tubers will rot rapidly once planted. There are no seed treatments to control soft rot.

The Old Blackleg (Pectobacterium atrosepticum)
Symptoms on tubers are sunken, circular, black, rotted lesions extending from the tuber stem end into the pith. Rotting tissue is cream-coloured, but darkens with time. In an advanced stage, the infected tissue turns greyish black, mushy and smelly. Blackleg is more common in cool, wet seasons with temperatures below 250 Celsius.

There is no seed treatment for blackleg. Grade out infected tubers and make sure you disinfest the seed cutter often to reduce the spread of the disease to healthy tubers.

The New Dickeya Blackleg (Dickeya dianthicola)
The symptoms of tubers infected with Dickeya are similar to those caused by the old blackleg. The only difference is that the rot is slimier.

Seed tubers infected with Dickeya may appear healthy when coming out of storages. Dickeya’s optimum temperature for development is above 250 Celsius. Tubers infected at harvest will not develop symptoms in seed storages.

When seed tubers with latent infection are planted in the spring, they will rot quickly when the soil temperature increases in June.

The new Dickeya blackleg is much more aggressive than the old blackleg, and tubers are not often invaded by the secondary bacteria that cause rotting tubers to smell fishy. Thus, Dickeya infected tubers are usually odorless.

A specific, DNA-based test is necessary to distinguish Dickeya from the old blackleg. A & L laboratories in London, Ont., conducts PCR tests to identify Dickeya dianthicola.

It bears repeating that disinfesting seed cutters often reduces the spread of the pathogens that cause seed piece decay. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Plant healthy seed.
March 27, 2017, Ridgetown, Ont – The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has released its 2017 schedule for integrated pest management (IPM) workshops for those who will be scouting horticultural crops this year. To register, please contact OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

Planning is also underway for scout training workshops for hops, hazelnuts and berry crops. Details for these workshops will be available soon.          

Introduction to IPM
May 2, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Conference Rm 1, 2 and 3, 1st Floor, 1 Stone Rd. West, Guelph
Workshop Leader: Denise Beaton
Notes: Lunch on your own. Handouts provided. Pay parking ($12/day).
 
Tomatoes & Peppers
April 28, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.          
Room 126 (Main Floor), Agronomy Building, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
Workshop Leader: Janice LeBoeuf
Notes: Lunch on your own. Handouts provided. See Resources for Vegetable Crop Scouts.

Asparagus    
Field sessions available upon request
Email: Elaine Roddy, Vegetable Specialist – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cole Crops    
May 8, Time: TBD
Conference Rm 2, 1st Floor, 1 Stone Rd. West, Guelph
Workshop Leader: Dennis Van Dyk
Notes: Lunch on your own. Handouts provided. Pay parking ($12/day). See Resources for Vegetable Crop Scouts.

Lettuce, Celery, Onions, Carrots    
May 10, Time: TBD
Conference Rm 2, 1st Floor, 1 Stone Rd. West, Guelph
Workshop Leader: Dennis Van Dyk
Notes: Lunch on your own. Handouts provided. Pay parking ($12/day). See Resources for Vegetable Crop Scouts.

Sweet Corn, Bean and Pea
May 11, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Room 126 (Main Floor), Agronomy Building, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
Workshop Leader: Elaine Roddy
Notes: Lunch on your own

Cucurbit Crops
May 11, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Room 126 (Main Floor), Agronomy Building, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
Workshop Leader: Elaine Roddy
Notes: Lunch on your own

Apples
May 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Auditorium, Simcoe OMAFRA Resource Centre
Workshop Leader: Kristy Grigg-McGuffin
Notes: Lunch on your own. Handouts provided. If possible, bring OMAFRA Publications 360 & 310 (available for purchase as well).

Tender Fruit and Grape      
May 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Rittenhouse Hall, Vineland OMAFRA Resource Centre
Workshop Leader: Wendy McFadden- Smith
Notes: Bring a laptop with WiFi capability. Lunch on your own.

Ginseng (IN-FIELD)  
June 15, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Rain date: June 16, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
C&R Atkinson Farms Ltd., 228 Charlotteville Rd. 1, St. Williams
Workshop Leaders: Sean Westerveld and Melanie Filotas

March 24, 2017, Mitchell, Ont – Ontario growers and processors of fruits and vegetables have successfully concluded an agreement for the 2017 vegetable season, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processing Association (OFVPA) announced.

"For the first time we could sit down directly with our partner growers and resolve many issues," said Steve Lamoure, president of OFVPA. "This happened because the Wynne government stepped in to get both parties to the table. We were within hours of losing significant parts of the growing season."

"The results of working with our grower partners, the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and the Ontario government yielded positive results," he added. "The professional handling of the negotiations of all crops made for a more constructive dialogue on the issues that affect us all. We will continue to work with all parties for the advancement and growth of all processing vegetables."

As part of the deal, growers successfully negotiated to get back more than 100,000 tons of tomato production previously cut.

"The changes to the negotiation process was never about price,” said Lamoure. “This was about a working relationship that can protect and grow the industry. Our workers, growers, companies and communities all benefit. This is a major win for the growers, worth approximately $10 to $11 million.”

"Cooperation, trust and willingness to work together does make a difference," said Don Epp, executive director of the OFVPA. "Hopefully we have marked a turning point that will allow us to focus on growing our industry and open new opportunities for growers and processors. This will benefit everyone and strengthen the local economies of Southwestern Ontario."

The agreements cover fruits and vegetables processed in Ontario.

December 9, 2016 – Potato storage sheds in Manitoba are full, thanks to blockbuster yields this fall.

In fact, yields were so large that a portion of Manitoba’s potato crop is still in the ground. Consequently, about 1,300 acres of potatoes weren’t harvested this year in Manitoba out of 65,000 total acres. READ MORE

December 1, 2016, Guelph, Ont – Bayer recently announced the launch of Velum Prime nematicide, the first non-fumigant nematicide registered for potatoes in Canada.

Velum Prime is a new mode of action and chemical class (pyridinyl ethyl benzamide) for nematode protection. It offers growers effective nematode protection that helps sustain plant vigor and maximize crop yield potential.

“The launch of Velum Prime in Canada provides protection against a yield robbing pest that, for many growers, didn’t have a viable solution outside of fumigants,” said Jon Weinmaster, crop and campaign marketing manager for horticulture and corn at Bayer. “Potato growers have made great advances in increasing yields and quality and this tool will help them take it a step further.”

Recent trials of Velum Prime demonstrated consistent yield and quality increases and reduction in plant parasitic nematodes, including root lesion, root knot and potato cyst nematode.

“Velum Prime is another tool for use in a complete nematode management program,” said Weinmaster.

Velum Prime is applied in-furrow at planting. It comes in a liquid formulation that offers reliable efficacy at low application rates, making it ideal for use with existing in-furrow application equipment. Plus, applied in-furrow, Velum Prime offers the added benefit of early blight protection.

Available in 4.04L jugs, Velum Prime is easy to apply, with minimal use restrictions, including flexible tank mix compatibility.

Maximum residue limits for Velum Prime applied in-furrow are in place supporting trade in North America and Europe. Additional MRLs supporting trade in other key export countries, including Japan, are expected early in 2017.

 

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