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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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

VITO launches the 2020 interactive online crop map for Belgium

In a recent blog post, VITO Remote Sensing announced that it has produced an annual interactive crop map for Belgium for the third consecutive year. The crop map shows the main crop type on each individual field cultivated in the 2020 growing season and is openly available via an interactive online viewer. Just as was done for the 2018 and 2019 maps, VITO Remote Sensing deployed its automatic field boundary detection tool based on Sentinel-2 imagery and a convolutional neural network to precisely delineate the fields.
9/16/2020

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Canada’s Prince Edward Island potato farmers still feeling summer drought into September

Many potato fields across Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) are not in the condition they are usually at this time of year due to the hot and dry conditions for much of July and August, reports John Robertson for CBC News. He reports that the Canadian Drought Monitor had much of central P.E.I. in extreme drought condition as of Aug. 31. While there has been more rain in September, in the first half of the month it is only about half of normal rainfall.
9/16/2020

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Idaho’s famous potatoes: By the numbers

Forget pizza. The potato is America’s favorite food, next to dairy products. Idaho is the undisputed leader in the U.S. potato industry and that makes our famous potatoes the top crop in the state. But it hasn’t always been that way. Science and modern technology have transformed potato production from the labor-intensive endeavor it used to be when the crop was hand-picked and sacked in the field.
9/16/2020

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Washington State potato losses top $1 billion, according to study

Total losses from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the Washington State’s potato industry is estimated to top $1 billion, according to a study by Washington State University. Farmers have lost about $29.2 million from the drop in demand and quality of the 2019 harvest, according to the release. Acreage for the 2020 fall harvest dropped 13%, which represents a drop of more than 729,000 tons of potatoes, according to the commission.
9/15/2020

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Post-CIPC: Potato storage experts give tips on how to minimise losses this season

British potato growers have entered some uncharted waters this season, as they cope with the first season without desiccant diquat for many years. In addition, spuds are now being loaded into store, with no prospect of treatment using the cheap, but now-banned sprout suppressant CIPC, adding further uncertainty to the production process this year. Two potato storage experts give tips on how to minimise losses as we enter the 2020-21 storage period: Norfolk-based storage specialist Tim Kitson of Potato Solutions, and Adrian Cunnington, head of AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.
9/15/2020

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Early seed potato harvest presents dry rot risk

With the Scottish seed potato harvest beginning a fortnight ahead of normal, SRUC consultant Dr Stuart Wale has reminded growers of the threat from dry rot, according to a news article published by Potato Review magazine. He recommends two fungicide options in this situation: Gavel (imazalil) and Storite Excel (thiabendazole) which can be used alone or in mixture. Dr Wale urged growers to have a conversation with their seed suppliers sooner rather than later to discuss treatment.
9/15/2020

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AHDB: 5 ways for British farmers to get involved in education

If you’re a British farmer looking to engage with your local school, AHDB says it is ready to help. In a recent news release, AHDB says it provides tools and resources that help farmers educate schoolchildren about farming and where food comes from. There are five different ways farmers can help children learn more about farming.
9/15/2020

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Opinion: The mysterious complexity of the common French fry

“Whether you call them French fries, pommes frites, or chips, the fried potato is one of the most elusive of foods to get right, though countless entities try and most fail on a nearly daily basis,” writes David Todd McCarty in this delightful article published in The Standard. “The fact they they appear so simple, yet seem to be so difficult to master, may be one of the reasons we are so drawn to them,” McCarty figures. “They are a bit like good summer corn, random sex, or a perfect golf shot…
9/15/2020

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Innovative Farmers programme: Deceiving potato cyst nematodes with trap crops

Through the Innovative Farmers programme, four farmers located in Shropshire and Lancashire in the UK are looking at an alternative control method that uses plants known as trap crops that naturally ward off potato cyst nematodes (PCN). Trap crops are better described as ‘deceiving’ rather than ‘trapping’ plants. The chemicals released from the trap crop roots signal the presence of suitable food and trigger the nematodes to emerge from their safe hiding place in the cyst. The nematodes begin feeding on the trap plant roots instead of the potatoes, ahead of potato cropping.
9/15/2020

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Important potato diseases and tips to manage them in storage

This article was written by Canadian potato specialists, Dr Eugenia Banks (Ontario Potato Board) and Mark VanOostrum (WD Potato Ltd). They write: An essential requirement for a long storage period is that the storage conditions match the needs and the end use of the crop. The storage requirements of the crop can be assessed before harvest by doing several test digs which allow to determine – if present – the distribution and level of tuber infection. If there are risky areas in a field such as low spots that have blighted potatoes, skip those areas, do not harvest them.
9/15/2020

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MountainKing adds longtime fingerling farmer, packer Cindy Adkins to sales team

MountainKing has added Cindy Adkins, a former owner and operator of the nation’s largest certified organic packer of fingerling potatoes, to its team of sales representatives. Based in Colorado, where she started growing and harvesting fingerlings back in 1997, Adkins will be responsible for helping MountainKing’s retail partners increase sales of the company’s small round varieties and fingerlings. “As a vertically integrated company, MountainKing can compete with any major producer and packing house.” Cindy says.
9/9/2020

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NEPG urges growers to reduce planted area in 2021, although current harvest total expected to be average

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total and final potato harvest for its members for the 2020 season will be on par with the 5 year average total. NEPG says the total planted area has increased with 1,4 % in 2020 compared to last year’s planted area. It estimates the total harvest to be 27,9 million tons, compared with 26,9 million last year. NEPG is advising its growers in member countries to “take control and be masters of their own destiny”. Growers are urged to reduce next year’s planted area.
9/9/2020

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Potato storage without CIPC: AHDB specialists suggest 5 ways to make sure you’re ready

According to AHDB in the UK, the 2020/21 potato storage season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet for the British potato industry. With storage season fast approaching, harvest provides the best opportunity to familiarise yourself with your crop and refine your storage plans accordingly. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Unit are providing the key aspects that growers and storage operators should focus on during the onset on the 2020/21 storage season.
9/9/2020

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Wageningen UR offers PhD project for potato sustainability research

Wageningen UR in the Netherlands is now offering a PhD research opportunity – in principle a 4-year PhD position – for the study of potato sustainability. This project is said to be about understanding the effects of extreme weather events on potato development and on the yield and quality of the tubers. These effects can be viewed in relation to soil quality management and its implications for crop climate resistance and nutrient-use efficiency.
9/9/2020

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INTERPOM event postponed until November 2021

Although the Belgian government decided that trade fairs could be organised once again from 1 September 2020 provided they comply with measures as currently applicable to commerce, Kortrijk Xpo and Belgapom have jointly decided to postpone INTERPOM for a year until Sunday 28, Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 November 2021 in Kortrijk Xpo. At the moment, businesses in the potato sector are mainly preoccupied with reorganising themselves as they restart operations.
9/7/2020

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Restrain launches unique online potato storage training course

Restrain offers solutions for the maintenance of low level ethylene gas in potato and onion storages, as well as tomato ripening on the vine. According to John Hutchison, Restrain Manager in the UK, the Restrain sprout inhibition solution is being applied by more than 1.500 growers and other customers in potato storage facilities in 38 countries around the world. A total of more than 1.3 million tonnes of stored potatoes are being treated with the Restrain technology. “This makes Restrain not only a lot cheaper compared to the other alternatives to CIPC, but also more user-friendly,” Hutchison says.
9/7/2020

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Opinion: What’s behind the drop in acres in potatoes in the US?

USDA released its report on the number of potato acres planted in 2020. Potato growers planted only 921,000 acres in 2020, more than 47,000 acres fewer than in 2019 and 105,000 acres fewer than in 2018. It’s the lowest number of acres recorded by USDA in at least 100 years. Both processing and fresh markets are down. To better understand what’s behind the drop, American Vegetable Grower asked Washington State University’s potato specialist, Carrie Wohleb, what’s behind the trend.
9/7/2020

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Largest ever export order leaves Scotts for Canada

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has exported its largest-ever order. Scotts Precision Manufacturing sent 14 Evolution Separators to Allan Potato Equipment Manufacturing Ltd., Canada’s largest designer and manufacturer of potato harvesting equipment. Before this shipment, the most Evolutions Scotts had supplied in one order was seven.
9/7/2020

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Europatat welcomes new Secretary General

The Board of Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, is pleased to announce the appointment of Berta Redondo Benito as the new Secretary General of the association, with effect as of 1st of September 2020. She will succeed Raquel Izquierdo de Santiago who has successfully led the association for the last 6 years. The Board and the whole membership of Europatat warmly thank Raquel for her excellent work during these years.
9/7/2020

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UK: Slight increase in demand as schools restart; ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme ends

The week has been described as relatively quiet across the board, with many supplies across all sectors utilised mainly on contract, writes AHDB Analyst Anthony Speight in today’s issue of the Potato Weekly report. He says slight increase in demand for certain sectors as schools start again after many months of being shut. However, stakeholders within the industry say this is not necessarily being felt as we head into a conventionally quiet spell.
9/7/2020

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LOCKWOOD/Double L hire Larry Benzel for Columbia Basin Sales

LOCKWOOD Manufacturing has expanded its sales and service reach for customers in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Collaborating with Double L, Larry Benzel will represent both companies as the area’s regional salesman. “LOCKWOOD and Double L enjoy a great working relationship and we are proud to work with Double L to better serve the potato growers of the Columbia Basin,” said Dan Birrenkott, president of Crary Industries and LOCKWOOD Manufacturing.
9/7/2020

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New Zealand: Health Ministry refuses Covid exemption for potato crisp and biscuit workers

The Ministry of Health is moving to counter criticism that it is using its powers to exempt trucks and workers moving in and out of Auckland to restrict workers going to jobs in potato crisp factories. The chief executive of the Food and Grocery Council, Katherine Rich, is particularly critical that the role of granting the exemption to cross in and out of the Auckland Council region has shifted from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to the Ministry of Health.
8/24/2020

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‘British potato crops at risk of disease during slower desiccation’, say specialists

Potato growers in the UK are at risk of virus and disease threat if they do not follow an integrated approach to new desiccation regimes, say experts working on the third year of desiccation trials taking place across AHDB Farm Excellence sites. Results and observations at the trial sites have shown that the slower ‘kill’ achieved by the chemical and mechanical alternatives to diquat means that green stems and leaves can still be present up to three weeks after desiccation sprays. Even very small amounts of ‘green material’ remain a viable target for virus-carrying aphids and diseases.
8/24/2020

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Novel decision support tool under development for preventative in-field potato disease testing

Dr Sarah Sommer and her research team is working on multiplexed potato virus lateral flow assays at the Newcastle University. The aim is to develop a simple but effective preventative disease testing kit that combines with a smart phone app. Sarah would like to know how the tool can be used in a practical environment and connect with interested potato industry people with whom she can discuss the concept, its further development and eventual application.
8/24/2020

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Processing markets in Britain look to the return of education sectors; exports started strongly

Free-buy potato markets in the UK continue to see pressure on prices. Increasingly available supply for markets has met a widespread muted level of demand. Trade has remained on a steady level, consisting of mostly repeat orders. Processing markets have been reported as steady this week, with some better levels of demand for frozen potato products following the government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher scheme. Processing markets look to the return of education sectors for an increased level of demand in the next few weeks.
8/24/2020

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France: Pandemic brought uncertainty to potato markets; focus need to be on quality, says UNPT

Covid-19 has shaken up all predictions and profoundly changed the fundamentals of the 2019 campaign in France and the rest of Europe. On the French fresh market, it has meant a revival in terms of household consumption. For the industry, on the other hand, it has caused factories to slow down due to the very sharp decline in restaurant activity all over the world. So says the National Union of French Potato Producers (UNPT) in a recent press release. The organization urges the industry to stay focused on quality products, and not quantity.
8/24/2020

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Kooljet: Equipment designed to maintain relative humidity in storages and avoid product weight loss

Relative Humidity (RH) is the measure of the quantity of water vapor in the air at a certain temperature. Maintaining desired pile temperature is important but equally important is to maintain the optimum humidity, explains JD Wasir, Sr. Vice President at Ontario, Canada based Kooljet Refrigeration Systems..“Kooljet Systems helps to maintain high RH levels in the storage facility, and minimizes water loss from the produce, maximizing product quality and value.” JD Wasir notes that Kooljet indeed has a global footprint, and has been assisting farmers since 2001.
8/24/2020

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UPGC report: Drought conditions in Eastern Canada; crop behind schedule in Western Canada

United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) issued its latest crop update report today. General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac says at press time parts of Eastern Canada are facing moderate to severe drought conditions. Rainfall is critical for this crop. In Western Canada, the crop is running behind schedule as processors push to get new crop harvest underway. Prairie yields currently look average at best, MacIsaac reports.
8/20/2020

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How to make a potato store more efficient and get better sprout control

A well-sealed store will decrease your energy bills, and increase the efficiency on sprout suppressants like ethylene and spearmint oil. In this article, Adrian Cunnington, Head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research at AHDB Potatoes shares some tips for assessing and improving your potato store. The loss of approval of CIPC will inevitably mandate change within the potato industry. For many it may mean using alternative sprout suppressants. Others may choose to go chemical-free, moving to varieties with a longer dormancy period, or by storing at lower temperatures. For all though, optimising storag
8/20/2020

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World Potato Congress Inc recognizes Zaotong as ‘Potato Plateau Seed Potato Capital of the World’

On August 18, 2020, a meeting was held in Zhaotong city, China. World Potato Congress (WPC) President Roman Cools, Dr. Peter VanderZaag, WPC Secretary and Brian Douglas, General Manager attended virtually. At this meeting, a ceremony was held to recognize Zhaotong as the “Potato Plateau Seed Potato Capital of the World”. Yang Yalin, Party Secretary of the Zhaotong Municipal CPC Committee spoke at the ceremony. Li Zhiping, Deputy Director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also attended the ceremony.
8/20/2020

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Canada’s Alberta potato growers concerned as 2020 harvest gets underway

While the 2020 potato harvest is well underway in southern Alberta, the Potato Growers of Alberta say lingering concerns about global french fry markets due to COVID-19 is putting a bit of a damper on an otherwise joyful time of year for local potato farmers. “The 2019 crop is now complete and done,” says PGA executive director Terence Hochstein. “It has been processed. But due to the COVID situation, not only here in Canada but also in the U.S. and globally, there is no guarantee what we put in the shed this year will be used completely.
8/20/2020

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Morrisons sets Haith its biggest ever challenge

Haith’s relationship with WM Morrison Produce plc dates back to the late 1990s, but it was in June 2017, that the supermarket set the company its biggest ever challenge. Realising that the layout of its Rushden factory was impacting on efficiencies, WM Morrison Produce’s head of operations Jason Kelly and managing director, Andrew Thornber arranged to meet Haith’s sales director, Duane Hill. Morrison’s wanted to modernise their Rushden facility, increase their potato packing capacity, improve product quality, grading accuracy and minimise forklift movements.
8/17/2020

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GRIMME’s RH-receiving hoppers now come with optimised intake and increased output features

For more than 20 years GRIMME has been offering powerful and crop-protecting technology for storing potatoes, carrots, onions and other vegetables and has set the standard with electro-hydraulic drives. For the 2020 season, the RH-receiving hoppers series has been extensively revised and equipped with new practical features.
8/17/2020

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Canada: High incidence of second growth of Ontario’s fresh market potatoes

Harvest of Ontario’s fresh market potatoes continues, but not without some heat-related issues, according to Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. Banks relays that one Simcoe grower says the incidence of second growth and misshaped tubers is high. This observation is also echoed by other fresh-market growers in Ontario. The heat wave earlier this summer disrupted the physiology of potato plants, resulting in knobs, sprouts and off-shaped tubers.
8/17/2020

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Global potato statistics: Regional production data

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains a databasis on many different crops, named FAOSTAT. It provides free access to food and agriculture data for over 245 countries and territories.I extracted potato production data from FAOSTAT for countries located in four broad regions in the world (based on FAO’s classification criteria), and present the data in the tables below. The data pertains to countries located in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.
8/17/2020

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Videos: The magic of modern potato planting and harvesting equipment in North America

If you care to watch the few short YouTube videos on this page of Potato News Today, I believe you will agree that modern day potato planting and harvesting machines used by some of North America’s leading farming operations are second to none… The machines featured here were designed and manufactured by Spudnik Equipment Company. All “iron” lovers and farmers alike – enjoy…
8/17/2020

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Agrico East Africa goes digital – and Kenyan potato farmers love it…

The Agrico East Africa team was working hard the past few months to produce video tutorials on ‘Profitable Potato Farming in Kenya’. They did this in a well-rewarded effort to continue their work of rendering agronomic support to smallholder farmers in Kenya, despite the debilitating COVID-19 restrictions that was imposed on Kenyan citizens during the pandemic. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed.
8/14/2020

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COVID-19 impact: ‘Potatoes in Practice’ a sorely missed event

The UK’s largest field-based potato event – Potatoes in Practice – is missing from this year’s calendar and will be sorely missed by growers, agronomists, researchers, and manufacturers, who would come together to discuss the direction of the industry for the months ahead. Potatoes in Practice has grown arms and legs since it began over three decades ago, writes Claire Taylor for The Scottish Farmer. During pre-COVID times, organizers of the event was in the habit of welcoming between 650 – 800 visitors yearly to its site in Balruddery in Scotland.
8/14/2020

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Trending: Potato prices are rising in the US

Potato prices are rising as last year’s crop finishes from storage and the new crop gets higher volume into the pipeline. The summer is a contrast to 10 weeks ago when the potato market was reeling from the effects of the pandemic, which saw foodservice demand drop and prices cut in half from March to May, according to a report published by Blue Book Services. Compared to the last two years, the volume for this period is very similar, said Raul Lopez, agronomist and vice president of Agtools Inc.
8/14/2020

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Dutch group creates low carb french fry which is healthier than a traditional fry

Leon de Winter wasn’t impressed when his doctor told him he couldn’t eat french fries anymore. The Dutch writer had been diagnosed with diabetes and was put on a strict new diet — and french fries weren’t included. The writer quickly decided he would find low carb fries, however his internet searches turned up zilch. That didn’t deter de Winter and he enlisted his cousin León Eisman, a cardiac doctor, for help, writes Ashley Robinson in an article published by Spud Smart magazine.
8/14/2020

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McCrum just opened North America’s newest fry processing plant

Growing potatoes in northern Maine is nothing new to the McCrum family. However, opening North America’s newest fry processing plant during COVID-19 was something the McCrum family was not expecting when they started planning for their expansion in early 2019. Now with six generations of farming in Aroostook County in Maine to their name, the McCrums started processing their own potatoes in Belfast, Maine, in 2004 after purchasing Penobscot Frozen Foods. This acquisition made them one of the largest suppliers of specialty potato products in North America. As the business grew, opening a fry plant was the natural next step.
8/14/2020

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.
8/10/2020

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CIP’s 2019 annual report celebrates a year of discovery, innovation and impact

Technology to accelerate potato breeding in Lima… state of the art tools to diagnose crop diseases in the fields of Uganda… and fresh hearty varieties to boost incomes for smallholder farmers in India. These are just a few of the accomplishments of the International Potato Center (CIP) in 2019, which is commemorating those feats, and others, in its annual report, released this week. The annual report presents compelling snapshots of CIP’s work with 161 partners in 19 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, telling stories about relief work with sweetpotato in Mozambique and simple storage innovations that are putting more income in the pockets of Ethiopian farmers.
8/10/2020

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World Potato Congress Inc Industry Award Nominations now open

President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), Mr. Romain Cools, Belgium and the Chairman of the WPC Industry Awards Committee, Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin, USA are pleased to announce that nominations are now being called for the 2021 World Potato Congress Industry Awards. The World Potato Congress Industry Awards is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. These awards recognize a lifetime of contributions to the potato industry. Prominent past Industry Award recipients include: Mr. J.R. Simplot and Mr. Harrison McCain.
8/10/2020

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AVR’s foldable ridger meets demand for mechanical weed control

Mechanical weed control is more and more becoming an essential part of farmers cultivation practices, and is no longer limited to biological cultivation only. For years now, AVR has been successfully designing and selling its combination ridging machine, which consists of a base chassis with a characteristic ‘weight transfer’ system, to which different elements can be added. This way the machine can be used as a speed ridger, hoe-rake ridger or an ‘eco ridger’. AVR introduces a foldable version to be able to remove weeds from even more ridges in one working pass.
8/10/2020

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Australian family farm has three generations of history with McCain

Callum Murphy is a Ballarat potato grower whose family’s relationship with McCain Foods Ballarat spans three generations. Callum, his father, and his grandfather have worked with McCain for 40 years to streamline production and create a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Callum Murphy of AP Murphy and Sons in Dunstown is proud to uphold his family’s relationship with McCain Ballarat for the third consecutive generation. “The relationship has been solid and it’s reliable to work with McCain. We work with them each year to improve output,” Callum says.
8/10/2020

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New herbicide approved for control of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops in New Zealand

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority for use in New Zealand, subject to certain conditions. Boxer Gold is intended to be used as a herbicide for the treatment of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops. Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers.
8/10/2020

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UK late blight fungicide trials: ‘No significant decline in sensitivity found’

Results from blight fungicide testing show no significant decline in sensitivity according to research supported by AHDB. Data taken from trials carried out throughout 2019 means no changes in recommendations for blight control issued by the Fungicide Resistance Action Group (FRAG). Research leader David Cooke said: “…this data does not show any immediate cause for concern for potato growers that newer blight genotypes are causing problems for fungicide programmes.
8/10/2020

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Idaho Farm Bureau Federation: Revisions to farm relief program could help some potato growers

The recent revisions that USDA made to its coronavirus farm relief program are expected to provide some relief to potato farmers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Sean Ellis reports for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. The federal CFAP program, which was announced April 17, will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID. The initial parameters of the program meant Idaho spud farmers, as well as most wheat and barley growers, would have received little if any of the funds.
8/6/2020

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Market upturn in Canada means Cavendish deal now off the table

An agreement reached earlier this spring that would have seen Cavendish Farms receive $4.7 million from Prince Edward Island taxpayers to help store and transport processing potatoes will not be activated due to an uptake in restaurant sales. When the PEI deal was finalized in March, there were approximately 100 million pounds of processing potatoes in storage. Figures released by United Potato Growers of Canada in mid-July showed that figure had been reduced to 3,725 hundredweight (417,000 pounds).
8/6/2020

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