GFM Network News

Finding the right niche

If it makes you shake your head that these two large, sophisticated farms are focusing on, of all things, sweet potatoes as the right crop to build their futures on, listen to them explain why

Reading Time: 7 minutes In just a couple of pockets across the country, it’s estimated Canada is growing about 1,800 acres of sweet potatoes. About 1,100 of them are grown by Berlo’s Best. Why? The reason is partly what you might expect. Canadian demand for sweet potatoes has skyrocketed. Ethnic markets are booming, sales of new products like sweet […] Read more

Laus Stiekema (middle), his son Lauran (left) and son-in-law Jaco are process-potato growers from Vauxhall, Alta., in the heart of southern Alberta’s irrigation country. Laus says they had an “average” crop this past year, missing much of the precipitation that hammered the province throughout the spring and summer.

Alberta potatoes mostly escape the deluge of 2016

A bit of luck, combined with tile drainage, helped Alberta potato growers survive the province’s wet 2016 season

Reading Time: 5 minutes For Alberta potato growers, the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons could not have been more different — hot and dry followed by cold and wet. Despite that, 2016 yields were more or less consistent with the past several years. “Our acres are flat — they have been for the past couple of years,” says Terence […] Read more

Malawian subsistence farmer Rozaria Hamiton plants sweet potatoes near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi February 1, 2016.

Sweet potato experts win World Food Prize

The foursome has worked to improve nutrition in sweet potatoes

Reading Time: < 1 minute Four scientists who specialized in sweet potatoes were named the winners of this year’s World Food Prize on June 28 for their work to make foods more nutritious. Maria Andrade of Cape Verde, Robert Mwanga of Uganda and American Jan Low, who all are from the Lima, Peru-based International Potato Center, and American Howarth Bouis […] Read more

S. tarijense F1 hybrids beside a normal cultivated potato (S. tuberosum).

Wild varieties

A set of wild South American potato varieties with Colorado potato beetle resistance have donated genetic material to their North American cousins

Reading Time: 4 minutes When European explorers to South America first brought potatoes back to their home countries, it was a select few varieties they chose: those that could grow under longer day lengths. Most of the varieties at the Equator tuberize under short day lengths and can’t grow in the global North. As a result, the potatoes we […] Read more

The neat thing is that you kill the wireworms before the next crop even gets there.”
— Bob Vernon, AAFC

Hard wired

Several factors are encouraging the return of an old pest enemy — the wireworm group — that had long been a thing of the past for Canadian farmers

Reading Time: 5 minutes They live quietly in your fields for as long as two or three seasons, silently but slowly damaging your crops and undermining your farm’s profitability. Their top hosts are grassy crops such as corn, but they’ve even been known to feed on potatoes, scarring the tubers with long feeding holes. Wireworms damage grassy plants in […] Read more