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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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Keep up to date with the latest HZPC news and global potato news.




Potato News

Finally: New ‘Super Carb Diet’ is proof that cutting carbs isn’t necessary for weight loss

For years, the diet industry has promoted the idea that carbs are ‘bad’ for our waistlines. If you want to be slim and fit, say goodbye to rice, potatoes and pasta (ignoring the fact, of course, that professional athletes often a mix of fast and slow release carbs into their diets). That is, until now. Because someone’s come up with the ‘Super Carb Diet’, which promotes the eating of ‘fibre-dense’ carbs.
8/8/2018

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‘Fertitato’: Fertilizer company Yara assisting potato growers with knowledge and new products

Norwegian based international fertilizer giant Yara has extensive crop knowledge created from more than 100 years of research and development in more than 150 countries around the world. The company has recently developed a working guide for producers on the nutritional needs of the potato crop in eastern Canada. Potatoes require 17 different nutrients, each playing a unique role in plant nutrition. 
8/8/2018

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is stepping down

Indra Nooyi, 62, will make way for company insider Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year PepsiCo veteran, but she will remain chairwoman until early 2019, the company said. Joining Pepsico as a young executive, she was promoted to chief financial officer (CFO) in 2001 and was named CEO in 2006. “Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I’m incredibly proud of all we have done over the past 12 years to advance the interests not only of shareholders, but all our stakeholders in the communities we serve,” said Nooyi.
8/8/2018

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Indian-Dutch cooperation to set up centre for excellence for potato seed development

A centre for excellence for potato-seed is all set to become a reality in India’s Gujarat province, through a collaboration between Indian and Dutch companies. The setting up of the centre for excellence is being facilitated by the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), with a view to helping produce better quality potatoes which will help improve the marketable yield of potatoes.
8/8/2018

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The drought issue: Canadian specialist shares information on second growth of potato tubers due to heat and drought stress

Dr Eugenia Banks is a potato specialist and works as consultant for the Ontario Potato Board in Canada. In a recent newsletter, she notes that second growth of potato tubers is a physiological potato problem induced by soil temperatures of 24 degrees Celcius or above, especially when coupled with water stress. “These two factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate causing second growth,” Dr Banks says. “Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth. European varieties appear to be more susceptible because they were bred and evaluated in countries were the growing seasons are rarely hot. It is interesting to see that the current heat wave and drought conditions in Europe cause problems that European growers had rarely seen before, but we are familiar with them here in Ontario.
8/7/2018

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US: Dry conditions having small impact on potato growth in Maine

Although it has been a dry, hot summer, the annual potato growing season appears to be right on schedule, according to industry officials in the state of Maine. “As a whole, quality is good everywhere,” said Don Flannery, president of the Maine Potato Board. “There has been no diseases, but it has been dry and hot, and drier in some areas than others.” Flannery said southern Aroostook County has probably fared the best in terms of securing what little bit of rainfall there has been so far this summer, 
8/7/2018

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Carbs, Sugar and the Truth: Misleading BBC1 program on negative ‘sugar’ content of potatoes debunked

Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar? According to information presented during a BBC1 program which aired in early June, it does. But the information has since been debunked as misleading. The information presented in this program however led to several dubious news stories published by major news outlets, such as this one by the Daily Mail in the UK...
8/7/2018

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Precision agriculture technology detects late blight with help from IBM Watson

PlantLink is a research network in the area of plant sciences in Sweden, joining Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). One of the regional projects uses precision agriculture techniques to detect late blight. Scientists at SLU were looking for an automated, efficient and environmentally friendly way to detect late blight early. IBM helped the scientists develop a prototype decision-support system...
8/6/2018

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The drought issue: European heat wave as seen from space and its effect on crops

We can feel it, hear it and we can even see it from space. Europe is hit severely by a heat wave. Everybody is sharing images and comparisons of landscapes before and during the drought connected to this heat wave. But what is actually going on? How extreme is it? And most importantly, what is the impact on our agricultural sector?
8/6/2018

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Irrigation debate in the spotlight as Cavendish Farms closes Canadian packaging plant

On July 30, potato processor Cavendish Farms announced that it will be closing its fresh potato packaging facility in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), citing “limited availability of potatoes on the Island.” But provincial Agriculture Minister Robert Henderson says there is no shortage of potatoes on P.E.I. Asked by CBC News: whether the Island is facing a shortage, Henderson said, “I would say not...
8/6/2018

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Processing woes: British potato processors brace for significantly lower volumes; quality concerns

The UK Potato Processors’ Association (PPAUK), representing crisp and french fry manufacturers, issued an official response to a British government announcement of support for farmers during dry weather, saying that whilst this is an important step, it will not in itself resolve the issue. “The reality is that the UK potato processing sector faces significant challenges this year, resulting from the current weather conditions...
8/6/2018

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US: Water a concern, but Oregon potato crop looking good

As potato growers in Oregon prepare for harvest, the Oregon Potato Commission was looking forward to a successful year with a high-quality crop. “The production in Oregon this year is probably going to be similar to what it has been in the past,” said Bill Brewer, the commission’s executive director. “We’ve got a little bit of a shift where the production is taking place.” Part of that shift is taking place in southern Oregon near the California border, where Brewer said production has decreased slightly.
8/5/2018

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The drought issue: British potato farmers advised on dealing with haulm desiccation in dry conditions

In a recent article posted on the AHDB Potatoes website, it is noted that Syngenta has issued updated advice on the use of Reglone for burn-off (desiccation) due to ‘the extremely dry conditions’. The advice is: “Due to the exceptionally dry conditions being experienced this year we will not be supporting 1.0 l/ha Reglone without a valid SMART test pass (as per the Reglone label).  Should conditions return to a more normal rainfall level we will review the advice as appropriate.”
8/5/2018

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The drought issue: Dealing with in-field sprouting and secondary growth

At a recent AHDB Potatoes event in the UK, Dr Mark Stalham of NIAB CUF discussed calls he has received regarding the prevention of in-field sprouting and secondary growth. With thunderstorms in the forecast, these are genuine risks. He said: “Many crops, particularly those that are unirrigated, will have effectively stopped growing in the last week or ten days. A deluge of water could cause growth cracks.
8/5/2018

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Belgian fries to exhibit at WOFEX Manila 2018

From August 1 to 4, 2018, the Flanders Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM) will bring together five major Belgian fries exporters to exhibit as a group at WOFEX Manila 2018 (World Food Expo). They will gather under the banner “Belgian Fries” with the purpose of widening their networks, increasing their share in the Philippines’ growing market for processed potato products, and heighten awareness of Belgian fries in the Philippines and the region.
8/4/2018

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No-go: British farmers scale down on potato plantings; area third-lowest on record

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK estimates that the total area in Great Britain planted with potatoes is 119,000 hectares(ha), a fall of three per cent on the previous year. This would represent the third-lowest planted area on record. The news comes in a challenging season for potato growers, with an agricultural drought likely to affect yields.
8/4/2018

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Big issues in the Irish potato sector are coming home to roost this summer

The continuing drought conditions have provided further evidence of the systemic weaknesses in Irish agriculture, particularly our potato and vegetable industry. Potato crops are suffering badly this year. Yes, they are suffering from the drought, but the drought is also revealing how poorly structured the industry is.
8/3/2018

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Irrigation debate in the spotlight after Cavendish Farms closes Canadian packaging plant

On July 30, potato processor Cavendish Farms announced that it will be closing its fresh potato packaging facility in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), citing “limited availability of potatoes on the Island.” But provincial Agriculture Minister Robert Henderson says there is no shortage of potatoes on P.E.I. 
8/3/2018

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US: Noted potato expert Joseph Sieczka passed away

Joseph Sieczka was a valued colleague and friend to many in the US and international potato industry. For more than two decades, Mr. Sieczka worked as coordinator at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research Center in Riverhead, where his research involved various crops, but focused primarily on potatoes. He was a renowned potato expert and had served as president of the Potato Association of America and co-authored two editions of its handbook.
8/3/2018

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McCain Foods Australia being investigated for “unconscionable conduct towards growers”

A Northern Tasmanian farmer has lashed out at McCain Foods (Australia) over contract potato pricing, as the consumer watchdog begins its investigation into the vegetable processor. The farmer, who has a contract with McCain, doesn’t wish to be identified due to potential backlash, said growers were sick of the low prices they were being paid by the processor for their product. “We are being paid $26 less that what we were being paid 10 years ago,” he said.
8/3/2018

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R.D. Offutt Farms and environmentalists’ potato war in Minnesota may have hit turning point

Maybe it’s just a breather, but the long-simmering controversy between the R.D. Offutt Farms’ potato field expansion project and environmentalists concerned about groundwater and lake pollution in Minnesota may have come to an end or at least reached a turning point. After Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources gave a two-week notice last week that the Fargo-based company’s irrigation water well permits in some of the eight northern Minnesota counties it operates in would require an environmental study, the company announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, that it has withdrawn its request for the final three permits.
8/2/2018

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Scientists discover new knowledge that could provide a method to combat late blight disease

New research from the Birch lab in the University of Dundee’s Division of Plant Sciences, based at the James Hutton Institute, has discovered a mechanism that could combat late blight disease in potato crops. Professor Paul Birch, Head of the Division of Plant Sciences, said: “To be a successful pathogen, microbes need to suppress or otherwise manipulate host defences.
8/2/2018

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New decision on GMOs and CRISPR: EU court tries, but fails, to clarify rules

Steven Salzberg writes in Forbes magazine that a European Union court just issued a new decision about GMOs. Disappointingly, this decision is likely to further confuse rather than clarify this complex and contentious issue. The court announced that plants whose genomes have been modified with CRISPR technology, a very precise form of genome editing, are subject to the EU’s very strict restrictions on genetically modified crops.
8/2/2018

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Restoring order following Japan’s potato shortage boosts Calbee’s bottom line

The Japanese snack giant reported net sales of $551m for the first three months of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, due to increased sales of snack foods in the domestic market. Analysts expected the company to report $5.43bn, an increase of 6.92% over the prior year quarter.
8/1/2018

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Potatoes in Practice looks to the future of tatties

The next generation of the potato industry will debate the future of the humble spud at this year’s Potatoes in Practice. Potatoes in Practice is the largest field-based potato event in the UK, held on Thursday 9th August at Balruddery Farm, Invergowrie, near Dundee. The event is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with AHDB Potatoes, SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) and Agrii and is also supported by Potato Review.
8/1/2018

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At least a quarter of German potato crops doomed to fail this season, Association warns

Sustained high temperatures and a lack of rainfall have hit German farmers hard, including the country’s important potato sector, reports Deutsche Welle (DW). The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) warned on Sunday that the ongoing drought means potato harvests will be “dramatically” reduced this year.
8/1/2018

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Canada: Shortage of potatoes leads Cavendish Farms to close fresh packaging facility

Cavendish Farms announced today that they will be focusing on the frozen potato processing business on Prince Edward Island in Canada due to the limited availability of potatoes. The decision will result in the closure of their fresh produce packaging facility in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island at the end of the year. “Cavendish Farms has had to make this difficult business decision based on ongoing demand, and limited availability of potatoes on the Island,” said Ron Clow, General Manager, Cavendish Farms.
7/31/2018

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Top management changes at McCain Foods (GB)

McCain, the UK’s number one frozen potato brand, has announced that Nick Vermont will be retiring from the business after an outstanding 35-year career at McCain. Howard Snape will replace Nick as regional president, McCain Foods GB and Ireland. Nick steps down having secured a major upgrade of the McCain facilities in Scarborough, following the announcement to invest over £100m renovating the plant last year, and secure its operations in GB for generations to come.
7/31/2018

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Ireland: Potatoes stop growing in parched earth

David Rodgers, the second generation of his family growing potatoes in Ballyboughal, and his father have never experienced anything like it. So parched is the earth in this famously lush and fertile north Co Dublin countryside that potatoes are not growing at all. “There is definitely going to be a scarcity of potatoes and vegetables in Ireland, ” he says gloomily,
7/30/2018

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Critical drought conditions: Up to 20% potato loss expected in Ireland

As drought conditions continue, Teagasc has estimated that up to 20% of potato crops could be lost in some parts of the country. The lack of rain has halted growth in regions and fears are growing that losses could be greater than 20% in some regions as only a quarter of the crop has been irrigated.
7/30/2018

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German Potato Processing Industry Association expects crop shortage due to drought

Due to the long ongoing drought and heat wave, the potato harvest in Germany and Europe will be significantly reduced in quantity, as well as quality compared to the previous year. This is the current assessment of the BOGK (German Association of Fruit, Vegetables and Potato Processing Industry). Based on the available reports from the crop growing areas the BOGK is expecting a significantly lower potato harvest for this year.
7/30/2018

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Dutch growers sound the alarm over small potatoes, chips are set to shrink

Potato growers have written to agriculture minister Carola Schouten urging her to relax the rules on watering their crops, even in areas where there is a ban. The continuing drought threatens to slash the size of this year’s potato crop, and this means french fries are likely to be smaller and more expensive this autumn and winter, the Telegraaf reported.
7/30/2018

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US-China trade war: Idaho may be the biggest victim, but not for its potatoes

Idaho is the state most exposed to fallout from the U.S.-China trade war, even though its most famous product, potatoes, has so far been spared from the wrath of Beijing’s retaliatory strikes, according to a new study. China buys Idaho’s frozen potatoes for its fast-food restaurants. China and Canada have spared frozen potatoes from tariffs. Both countries are major buyers of American frozen potatoes, primarily for the fast-food industry.
7/30/2018

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PAA Symposium: Data, monitoring help fight potato pests worldwide

Early detection and reporting often help keep potato pests in check even if regulators ultimately don’t order eradications and field quarantines as a result. Field data are the lifeblood of so-far successful efforts to isolate and remove major yield-reducing pests in Idaho, New York and various countries, speakers at a July 23 Potato Association of America symposium in Boise said.
7/30/2018

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US: Helpful tips on scouting potato fields for insect pests

According to Carrie Huffman Wohleb, “the insect monitoring network in potato fields I operate across Washington’s Columbia Basin provides growers information about where and when insect pests are showing up in the region and warns them about potential pest problems. It’s not intended to replace a grower’s scouting activities but is a guide for what to look for. Similar programs are found throughout North America. They can be very helpful since pest populations often vary within a region and from year to year.”
7/24/2018

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Bullish: Mostly optimistic outlook for 2018 Canadian potato crop

For most of the past decade, potato production in Canada has been relatively stagnant. The economic crash of 2008 reduced demand for Canadian spuds in some markets and the industry struggled to regain its lost footing. With the 2018 growing season well under way, there now seems to be a renewed sense of optimism among many Canadian potato growers. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), says the increase is largely attributable to processing companies like McCain and Simplot expanding their production lines in this country.
7/21/2018

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Farm24: British farmers tell their stories on social media on August 9

24 Hours in Farming is the British farming industry’s biggest online event. On August 9, everyone involved in the industry have the opportunity to post pictures and videos to highlight the work they are doing – and they can do so on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat). The idea is to show consumers the vast effort and care that it takes to produce the food we all love to eat.
7/21/2018

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The K-factor: Scientists take a closer look at the critical role of potassium in plant stress response

Scientists in China published a research paper a few years back on potassium and its influence on plants, in particular how plants respond to stress. “Potassium (K) is an essential nutrient that affects most of the biochemical and physiological processes that influence plant growth and metabolism. It also contributes to the survival of plants exposed to various biotic and abiotic stresses,” they wrote. 
7/21/2018

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‘Canadian potato growers made wise planting decisions,’ says grower organization

Statistics Canada released the first official estimate of planted Canadian potato acreage for 2018. Planted acreage nationally is slightly up +0.5% and is estimated to be 347,416 acres, compared to 345,817 acres planted in 2017. “It overall reflects improved demand for processing products,” says the general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, Kevin MacIsaac (@UniSpud).
7/20/2018

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Bug squad on the move: Natural pest control under review in Canada

A research scientist at Agriculture Canada in the province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) on the east coast of Canada is looking for natural ways to deal with pests that cause damage to cabbage, canola and potatoes. Entomologist Christine Noronha has planted multiple plots at the Harrington Research Station this summer. One of Noronha’s key areas of research is how to prevent click beetles and wireworm that are extremely harmful to P.E.I. potato crops.
7/20/2018

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World’s first wireless NPK sensor is state of the art

Soil analytics company Teralytic has released a limited number of its wireless soil probes to be delivered in time for the 2019 planting season. The Teralytic probe contains 26 sensors, including the world’s first wireless NPK sensor. Probes are available worldwide and can be pre-ordered now through the Teralytic website. “The collection of data in real time allows growers to make more informed decisions regarding fertilization and irrigation,” says Meagan Hynes, Teralytic’s vice president of soil science.
7/20/2018

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Gobbled up: German snack company bought UK-based Popchips

German food company Intersnack Group has snapped up UK-based potato crisps maker Popchips. The company  revealed that its British arm, KP Snacks, which makes KP nuts, Hula Hoops, Butterkist popcorn and Tyrrells crisps, had bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
7/19/2018

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US: Potato exporter big on Colorado spuds; expanding to Mexico

Epic Produce Sales LLC will be involved in the Colorado potato deal, shipping from San Luis Valley storage and packing facilities until mid-August, according to Art Miller, president of the firm. Miller said about 95 percent of these spuds will be shipped into Mexico, consistent with Epic’s broad business plan. He noted that by using his Epic Potato brand he is increasing domestic sales. In late August and early September,
7/19/2018

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Dutch retail chain working to boost sustainability and biodiversity in the Netherlands

Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has signed a cooperation agreement with some of the Netherlands’ largest agricultural companies to enhance biodiversity around potato production in the country and boost the industry’s sustainability. The group’s vice-president for produce, canned food, flowers and plants Said Belhassan was on hand to underline its commitment during a special signing ceremony, joining representatives from leading potato companies.
7/19/2018

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Pesticide ban looming in the EU: Will diquat, thiram and pymetrozine be lost early 2019?

According to a news item published by the National Farmers Union (NFU) in the UK, the pesticides diquat, thiram and pymetrozine look set to be lost as a vote on pesticides legislation in a Brussel’s Appeal Committee last week delivered a ‘no opinion’ position. this decision will have significant implications for potato production in the UK. Diquat is much more effective than other available alternatives. Pymetrozine is an important insecticide which is used by most seed potato growers and in ware crops. 
7/18/2018

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Potato prices in Ireland ‘set to soar’ as yields face up to 50% drop

The price of potatoes “will be significantly higher this year” according to the Country Crest co-founder, Michael Hoey. Speaking to AgriLand, Hoey explained that as a result of the difficult year  – which has led to the potato crop performing poorly – he believes “potatoes will go over the €500/box mark”.
7/18/2018

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‘When it comes to soil testing, we’ve only scratched the surface’

Remi Schmaltz is CEO of Decisive Farming, a Canadian software program for farms offering precision agronomics, data management, crop marketing, and telematics services. In a recent article published on Agfunder.com, Schmaltz writes about soil analysis, where it started, and how it’s changing. “Soil analysis know-how has grown by leaps and bounds,” he writes.
7/18/2018

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The mustard cure: Potato growers fight potato pests and boost yield with mustard crop

Potato growers in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) say they’ve planted more mustard than ever in 2018. They’re finding the bright yellow crop does more than fight wireworms — it also gives them a nice bump in potato yields in fields where mustard was planted first. “We have a bit of a problem with wireworm out in this area, as do a lot of areas, and this seems to be giving us some help with that,” said potato grower Hans Wilting. “It’s also giving some good results on some other diseases too, soil-borne diseases. And as a rotational crop, it’s adding a lot to the soil.”
7/18/2018

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Skin deep is great: The underrated nutritional value of potato skins

Potatoes are filling, delicious, and an incredibly diverse ingredient, which has made them a staple in plant-based diets. This is mainly due to the symbiotic and highly nutritious relationship between the potato meat, or ‘flesh’, and the potato skin. Potatoes are filling and versatile and the flesh offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy carbs. Yet, potato skins are completely underrated. When it comes to the nutrition facts, what the meat lacks the skin provides and vice versa, including essential nutrients.
7/17/2018

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HZPC: Growing demand for organic potatoes encourages breeding

Organic potatoes are on the rise, especially now that the large supermarkets have embraced the product. But what to do against the dreaded disease Phytophthora? ‘The market share of organic products is growing rapidly. There are now only a handful of varieties available that are resistant to late blight. However, the ‘technical’ restriction of these varieties is that they contain only one resistance gene. Breeder Peter Vos of HZPC is concerned.
7/17/2018

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