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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

News

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




Potato News

Study found that potato based diet does not disturb blood sugar control in diabetes

Researchers have found for the first time in a rigorously controlled clinical trial that people with diabetes don’t need to avoid potatoes. It is often said that potatoes with high glycemic index should be avoided by diabetics as they may adversely affect blood sugar. But the study indicates that glycemic index is not an accurate surrogate for an individual’s glycemic response (GR) to a food consumed as part of an evening meal. The researchers concluded that potatoes are a vegetable that is sustainable, affordable and nutrient-dense, and thus, they can play an important role in modern diets irrespective of metabolic health status.
10/28/2020

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Scotts introduces conversion kit for the GRIMME GT 170 harvester

Scotts Precision Engineering in the UK has launched an innovative conversion kit that allows owners of the GRIMME GT 170 trailed harvester to convert seamlessly to a fully functioning windrower without modifications to the host machine. Designed in response to local growers where the Grimme GT170 is their preferred choice of harvester, the Scotts GT170 Windrower conversion kit directly replaces the elevator module. As the kit is attached to the harvester through existing elevator fixing points, there is no need to modify the host machine and thus can be returned to its original set up quickly.
10/28/2020

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The Potato Field podcast: RJ Andrus of Idahoan Foods

RJ Andrus isn’t just in one potato field, he’s in many fields. As the senior manager of raw procurement for Idahoan Foods, Andrus works closely with contract growers to make sure there are always potatoes to process. He’s also a member of the National Potato Council’s executive committee. Andrus talks about his upbringing, challenges facing growers, his advocacy work and what it was like trying to find John Keeling’s replacement.
10/27/2020

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Ireland’s $1m thank you for Native American act of kindness during potato famine in 1847

Irish donations to a Native American community battling COVID-19 with limited resources have now topped $1m (£768,000), reports David Blevins, senior Ireland correspondent at Sky News. In 1847, at the height of the potato famine, the struggling Choctaw community had sent $170 (£130) across the Atlantic to Ireland. The act of kindness is remembered in Ireland.
10/27/2020

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Potato Virus Y: Specialist provides overview of testing facts, methods and interpretation of test results

Testing your potato seeds for Potato Virus Y (PVY) is an important step in developing healthy, disease-free crops. In this article Adrian Fox, Senior Plant Virologist at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in the UK, discusses what is involved in testing and answers questions (FAQs).
10/26/2020

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CIP scientists developing digital tools to optimize irrigation water use in potato production

Potato has good potential to help the world meet that challenge, since it produces more calories per liter of water than other major staple crops. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are trying to enhance that potential through the development of digital tools to optimize the use of water in irrigation. A team of researchers led by crop ecophysiologist David Ramírez has used a combination of conventional and thermal cameras to study how potato plants react to water stress. They also developed open-access software called Thermal Image Processor (TIPCIP) to analyze those images.
10/26/2020

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Smooth harvest, but short yield for Canada’s Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba’s potato crop won’t be breaking yield records, reports Alexis Stockford for Manitoba Co-operator. Then again, at least the crop is off the field. It has not been the case for the last two years. Producers were forced to abandon a significant portion of their crop in both 2018 and 2019 due to wet falls and damage from frost. Dan Sawatzky, manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Association, says 2020 yields have been mixed, although the harvest has also dodged those weather issues from last year. “Some are close to what they were anticipating or expecting, but the majority of them will be short, will be down,” he said. Some yields may be down as much as 15 per cent, he estimated.
10/24/2020

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McCain Foods US to support 750,000 meals for No Kid Hungry campaign

Following the announcement of McCain Foods US partnership with the No Kid Hungry organization, the company says on its LinkedIn channel that it is delighted to share that its financial donation will provide the equivalent of 750,000 meals. This donation is part of the No Kid Hungry ’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts that will help provide children with the most important school supply: Food.
10/24/2020

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Brexit: British seed potato sector on brink of EU and NI export ban

Britain’s seed potato sector is in turmoil, with just 10 weeks before exports to Europe and Northern Ireland (NI) face a total ban under a no-deal Brexit, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. As an EU member state, Britain has exported 30,000t of seed worth £13.5m to mainland Europe each winter. However, after 31 December, Britain will be classified under EU trade rules as a “third country” unless a trade deal is reached with the EU.
10/23/2020

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.
10/23/2020

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.
10/23/2020

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Haith bags global enquiries after Facebook video goes viral

Haith Group has seen a resurgence of interest in its innovative bag filling machine after a video posted on social media was viewed more than one million times. The twenty second video which shows the Haith Supa-Bag 10 mobile bagging trailer filling ten one-ton jumbo bags was posted by the company last month. One week later, video views had exceeded 100,000, and the company had received seven sales enquiries from people in the UK, New Zealand, North America, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The already popular video was later posted by Pro Horizon and viewings rocketed to over one million.
10/22/2020

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Upcoming event: HZPC Potato Days 2020 Live

Potato Days in the Netherlands is an internationally known event on the annual potato industry event schedule. Every year in November, the event is organized by several companies, including potato breeder HZPC. This year the event will be hosted as a virtual event on Wednesday, November 4th. The theme is “Let’s connect!” Professionals from across the potato chain will come together from all corners of the world virtually to experience the latest potato varieties and to network. The digital domain offers potato breeder HZPC many opportunities to help even participants to connect in creative ways.
10/14/2020

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Brexit reality dawns for Ireland’s potato growers

The potato trade in Ireland has been warned to have all seed potatoes for next year’s crop imported from Britain by December 31, according to a report by Declan O’Brien, published in the Independent. A trade notice issued by the Department of Agriculture said imports of “certified seed and ware potatoes” from Britain will be prohibited from the end of 2020 when the UK leaves the EU. The notice “strongly encouraged” importers to have all shipments of seed potatoes and ware from Britain landed in Ireland before January 1.
10/14/2020

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GROPRO: Providing growers with the efficacy needed for an organic IPM program

The importance of organic production in the USA continues to rise with total sales of organic products in 2019 hitting $55 billion. Currently, it’s the biggest global market for organic products (# 2 is Germany and #3 is France). To meet this growing market demand, GROPRO. a USA based producer and supplier of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers, has been approved for 6 OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed materials. With these certifications, GROPRO brings a wide and effective portfolio into the organic agricultural market.
10/14/2020

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Australia: Former plant protection officer delivers review into potato imports into Tasmania

Approval to grant a South Australian company a licence to import potatoes into Tasmania will remain unchanged following an independent review, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis of The Exminer. Jarvis reports that former federal chief plant protection officer and plant pathologist Lois Ransom handed her findings into the controversial decision on Monday. Ms Ransom found the decision to approve a conditional import licence for “ware potatoes” – or potatoes for human consumption – to Mitolo Group was technically sound.
10/12/2020

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US: Ongoing drought shrinks Aroostook County potato yields

This year’s potato harvest was met with an unrelenting drought that diminished crops and tied up water resources for Aroostook County, Maine farmers. “We’re in trouble,” said Kevin Grass as he steered a 15-ton potato harvester forward while jotting down notes on the crop and monitoring his crew — tasks he’s come to master simultaneously over the last 30 years. “Our yields are way off.” Potato yields at Grass Farms are down a third this year, and its seasoned farmers point to the drought as the driving force. “I’ve seen dry spells but nothing like this,” said Duane Grass, 77, a third-generation potato farmer.
10/12/2020

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The Glasgow potato project bringing people together

Ada, husband Martin and their twins Gemma and Mark have spent this strangest of summers taking part in An Empty Gunny Bag Cannot Stand, an ingenious food-growing project dreamt up by Angus Farquhar and Rudy Kanhye of Aproxima Arts. It culminated in a fantastic harvest event, featuring music and performance by Mischief-La-Bas, and free chips. Ada Stewart adds: “This project has been a light of sunshine in months of uncertainty. The team’s determination and hard work to make this happen is a great inspiration for us and the kids.
10/12/2020

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Drought dries up potato harvest revenue in Canada’s New Brunswick province

With the harvest season underway, the impact of summer’s drought-like conditions is being unearthed in New Brunswick. Due to a lack of rainfall during the growing season, potato farmers say their yields are down significantly for fall 2020. reports Brandon Young, writer for CTVNewsAtlantic.ca. Like many industries, the potato industry has been hit hard during a most unusual year. The first blow came earlier in the year – caused by COVID-19 and restaurant shutdowns; the second came from Mother Nature with arid weather during the summer months.
10/12/2020

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McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

A McCain storage facility capable of storing 11,000 tonnes of potatoes has opened at South Burnie, a locality and suburb of Burnie, in the North West region of Tasmania in Australia, according to a report by Sandy Powell for The Advocate. Sandy writes that the facility, which can hold 9,000 tonnes of potatoes in cold-storage long term, as well as a further 2,000 tonnes in short term storage, is run by McCain Foods. Plant operator Rodney Smith said the facility is truly “world-class”.
10/11/2020

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Student power: Idaho high school athletes double as farm hands for spud harvest

Wake up in time to get to practice at 6:45 a.m., work up to a 15-hour day harvesting potatoes, and then go to sleep to get up and do it again. That’s the life of a high school athlete in Southeast Idaho for weeks during the potato harvesting season known to locals as spud harvest, writes Koster Kennard of the Rexburg Standard Journal in an article published by Farm and Ranch. He writes that despite the fact that they have to go to practice several times a week, these athletes are some of the local potato farmer’s best employees.
10/11/2020

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British planted potato area one of the lowest on record

According to AHDB figures released yesterday, the 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. In a news report, AHDB says the total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2016 and 2017.
10/10/2020

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Potato research projects benefit from Idaho ag dept annual specialty crop program

Interest in the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s annual specialty crop program was up considerably this year compared with last year. Sean Ellis of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation reports that ISDA has announced it will award a total of $1.8 million this year to 17 different projects that aim to benefit specialty crop growers in Idaho. The University of Idaho, Idaho Potato Commission, and Idaho State University received grants for a variety of projects.
10/10/2020

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Family with deep Idaho roots creates ‘Real Idaho Potato Chips’

It’s no secret Idaho is known for its potatoes, but when it comes to potato chips, most are grown somewhere else. That’s something a Treasure Valley family decided to change, reports Karen Lehr for IdahoNews6. Brothers Marc and Kyle Nehring put their heads together a few years ago and set out to create an authentic, savory potato chip made from real Idaho potatoes. Fast forward to present day, and their Idaho “Real Potato Chips” can be found on store shelves across the Treasure Valley.
10/9/2020

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Potato tuber treatment – specialist advice

Appropriate tuber treatment is an essential step in developing healthy and abundant harvests, according to potato specialists at AHDB in the UK. In a recent news article, AHDB says the cost of growing potatoes is likely to increase in the following years as a result of replacing lost chemicals; potential losses due to diseases must be avoided whenever possible through application of the correct treatment, starting with the seed. As this is a complex process, AHDB says potato seed producers, traders and end users are encouraged to seek information regarding the correct treatment procedure, such as the best time to apply the chemicals or the stage of the skin set.
10/9/2020

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British potato farmer stars in new ‘Map my McDonald’s’ campaign

A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce. Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in a new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.
10/9/2020

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HZPC potato breeding company says it ‘closes eventful year with a healthy result’

The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.
10/2/2020

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Upcoming WPC webinar: Prof Jacquie Van Der Waals on diseases threatening sustainable potato production

The World Potato Congress is pleased to be beginning its Fall webinar series on November 12, 2020 with Professor Jacquie van der Waals from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Professor van der Waals will present – “Above and Below Ground: Diseases threatening sustainable potato production”. This presentation will discuss three important disease complexes in potatoes, namely Rhizoctoniasis, soft rot and blackleg, early blight and brown spot. For each of these disease complexes, Prof van der Waals will introduce the pathogen, give a description of symptoms, discuss the disease cycle and touch on basic management principles.
10/2/2020

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It’s National Potato Day in Ireland!

This Friday, October 2nd, marks a very special day in Ireland. National Potato Day was created to celebrate one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular foods, writes Jack Beresford for the The Irish Post. He says it’s a chance to “indulge in one of the most versatile vegetables on the dinner plate, whether baked, fried or sautéed.” National Potato Day is the brainchild of Bord Bia, who were eager to celebrate the humble spud with a selection of recipes shared on social media, shared under the hashtag, #NationalPotatoDay campaign.
10/2/2020

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McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

A McCain storage facility capable of storing 11,000 tonnes of potatoes has opened at South Burnie, a locality and suburb of Burnie, in the North West region of Tasmania in Australia, according to a report by Sandy Powell for The Advocate. Sandy writes that the facility, which can hold 9,000 tonnes of potatoes in cold-storage long term, as well as a further 2,000 tonnes in short term storage, is run by McCain Foods. Plant operator Rodney Smith said the facility is truly “world-class”
10/2/2020

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How historic drought affects potato harvest in Maine’s Aroostook County

Aroostook County is experiencing a drought of historic proportions, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture declaring The County to be a drought disaster area. Rivers have dried up considerably, and potato crops, as with other crops in the area, have suffered due to the lack of water, reports Alexander MacDougall for Bangor Daily News. The USDA has made Aroostook farmers, as well as those living in adjacent counties, eligible for emergency funding.
9/28/2020

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PEF technology: McCain ‘dishes up hot chips with a side of lower greenhouse gas emissions’ in New Zealand

McCain Foods’ Timaru plant is reducing its energy usage environmental impact, now looking to electrification, by installing New Zealand-first McCain proprietary technology. The business has now slashed its coal consumption by installing technology which was developed and is owned by McCain, Pulsed Electric Field technology (PEF). Contributing to the business’s global commitment to a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions of our plants by 2030, the PEF system means the company will save approximately 4,800 tonnes of carbon each year.
9/28/2020

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Researchers find new way to protect plants from fungal infection, including late blight of potatoes

Widespread fungal disease in plants can be controlled with a commercially available chemical that has been primarily used in medicine until now. This discovery was made by scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of the State of Paraná in Brazil. The team administered acetohydroxamic acid onto the plants, a substance also used to treat harmful bacteria in the human stomach, and which is known to inhibit the breakdown of urea. The acid was also found to be effective against numerous other pathogens which cause diseased plants, for example, late blight in potatoes.
9/28/2020

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UK: McDonald’s and McCain to invest in climate-friendly farming practices

McDonald’s has launched a “Sustainable MacFries Fund” in partnership with McCain to improve the resilience of British potato farmers, while also collaborating with the Walmart Foundation, WWF and Cargill in the US to improve land use practices, according to a report by Matt Mace, and published edie newsroom. The fund aims to support British potato farmers to use new techniques and technology that will improve soil quality and water management.
9/28/2020

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High temperatures stall Canada’s Ontario potato harvest

Ontario’s potato harvest was progressing well, but had to stop over the past few days of the past week as temperatures rose above optimal harvest levels, according to Ontario’s potato specialist Eugenia Banks’ latest update. According to potato grower Joe Lach, there are a lot of odd-shaped potatoes and internal problems in the late crop. Grade out is high too. This is the result of a hot, dry summer, or as Lach put it “the wrath of nature.”
9/28/2020

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Canadian crop update: Outlook mixed; total production expected to be down on last year

As the first day of fall arrives, the potato crop in the country is in varying stages of growth and/or harvest, writes Kevin MacIsaac in the latest Canadian crop update issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). The general manager of UPGC says the production outlook is mixed after parts of Eastern Canada experienced one of their driest seasons on record, while growers in Western Canada work feverishly to harvest their crop from the ground after Mother Nature’s early onset of winter prevented them from doing so last year.
9/22/2020

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McCain Foods Ballarat aims high with water use reduction targets smashed

In Australia, McCain Foods Ballarat has achieved an improvement of 20% in its water use efficiency over the past 12 months – smashing the plant’s 2% target set in the recently released Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability report. The company says its focus on Growing Green and Golden stems from the company’s vision towards a low- carbon economy in Australia and New Zealand by concentrating on emissions, waste, investment in renewable electricity and more sustainable use of packaging and water.
9/22/2020

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Study: Future impact of climate change in Belgium and how it will effect the potato industry

The study “Evaluation of the socio-economic impact of climate change in Belgium” commissioned by the National Climate Commission has just been published. According to the authors of the report, global climate change in Belgium will mainly be felt through heat waves, floods and droughts. Warmer and drier summers, and milder and wetter winters are becoming the ‘new normal’. The increasing impact of drought on potato cultivation is a main concern for the potato fry industry, according to the authors of the report.
9/22/2020

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‘Yet another one…’ Chinese scientists report the discovery of a new potato disease

As if the beleaguered potato and its growers don’t have enough diseases to contend with, a new potato disease was discovered by Chinese researchers on potato plants during the growing season and also on tubers during the storage period. The disease was identified in potatoes cultivated in Nileke County, Qitai County as well as other locations in Xinjiang province in China. The pathogen was identified by the researchers as Galactomyces candidum F12, identified on the Atlantic potato variety.
9/22/2020

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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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