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




Potato News

Weather cuts potato acreage in the US, production dips 6%

Growers have fewer potatoes to sell compared with a year ago but they are getting more money for what they do have. U.S. production of potatoes is down 6% this year, according to the first forecast of the season from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Total production for 2019 is forecast at 422 million cwt., down 6% from 2018, according to the USDA. The harvested acreage for 2019 is estimated at 938,900 acres, down 7% from 1.01 million acres last year. The yield forecast, at 450 cwt. per acre, is up 7 cwt. compared with the 2018 crop.
11/15/2019

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Minimizing early weight loss key in limiting potato pressure bruise

Pressure bruise is a major defect and source of economic losses in potatoes for all market classes. In bulk storage, potato tubers are subjected to pile pressure that can damage and deform the potato, which over time could result in flattened or sunken areas, according to Sastry Jayanty and Nora Olsen, Potato Association of America. In an article published in Spudman magazine, Jayanty and Olsen say that these flattened areas are considered to be a pressure bruise if there is a grey/black discoloration under the depression.
11/15/2019

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Report: Global Frozen Potato Fries Market Analysis

The Global Frozen Potato Fries Market Research Report 2020 provides an accurate investigation of the different models and parameters affecting the industrial growth of the Frozen Potato Fries market at a global level. An evaluation of the impact of the current conditions and trends in the market is additionally included to provide an overview of the market’s future position.
11/14/2019

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Canada: Manitoba potato producers reflect on difficult harvest

It’s been two years in a row that Manitoba potatoes have been left in the ground during harvest. Manitoba Agriculture is estimating that about 25 per cent of this year’s potato crop is unharvestable. In an interview with Pembina Valley Online, Keystone Potato Producers Manager Dan Sawatzky explained what happens if farmers can’t meet their contract obligations. “It is a volume contract, there is ‘Act of God’ in there so if growers come up short it makes it difficult for the processors as well,” he said. “They try to replace some of the volume from outside of the Manitoba growing area and this year unfortunately there isn’t a lot of extra to be had.”
11/14/2019

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Research suggests fumigants have very low long-term impact on soil health in potato fields

It started with curiosity. How does a fumigant, commonly used for nematode management in potato cropping systems, influence soil microbial communities? To explore this question, scientists at Colorado State University and Oregon State University used high-throughput sequencing techniques to investigate changes in soil bacterial and fungal community structure in response to the application of 1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D) in Pacific Northwest potato production fields. Their research found that the fumigant had very minor effects.
11/13/2019

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US retail potato sales increased

Retail potato sales increased by 2.6% in dollar value and 1.1% in volume in the July-September quarter, the first of the marketing year. Potatoes USA reported volume increases for chips, frozen and refrigerated potatoes. Dehydrated and canned potatoes, and deli-prepared sides, declined in sales value. Deli dropped slightly in volume. Fresh-potato sales dropped slightly while dollar value rose. Reds dropped in volume and value. Russet volume increased.
11/13/2019

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The Peruvian farmer who crafts ‘wine’ from high-altitude heirloom potatoes

Choqque, the so-called “potato whisperer,” is the country’s most renowned farmer of the beloved native crops, which are called “uqa” in the indigenous Quechua language. Varying in size, shape, and color from bright yellow to deep purple, oca can be sliced and fried into addictive potato chips, simmered in stews, and slow-cooked with corn to make a sweet and creamy dessert custard. But beyond their expected culinary applications, oca are now finding their way into the glass, as enterprising farmers like Choqque use their crop to create wine-esque beverages called vino de oca.
11/13/2019

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Canada: Manitoba potato harvest comes up short

Winter weather has ended this year’s potato harvest in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Vikram Bisht with Manitoba Agriculture says about 25 per cent of the crop is remaining in the field or has been damaged, according to a report published by Pembina Valley Online. “Final numbers have not come out but it could be anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 acres of potatoes in total which may not have been harvested or would have had serious frost injury,” he commented. Bisht notes potatoes in the ground will most likely remain there until spring.
11/13/2019

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Spore monitoring program helps Idaho farmers contain potato late blight

The Paul-area late blight outbreak wasn’t much of a story among the state’s potato farmers in 2019. University of Idaho Extension researchers say that fact may be due largely to their new network of 15 spore trappers, strategically placed near Idaho farm fields from Parma through Tetonia, according to a report by Idaho State Journal. The network — intended to provide growers early warning when important fungal pathogens arrive in the area — was launched in 2017, in participation with industry partners and commodity organizations. There’s also a spore trapper in Oregon and machines in Washington’s Skagit County and Pasco areas.  Furthermore, UI shares data with Colorado researchers, who run their own spore trapping network. “We are starting to get known around the world as one of the leaders in doing spore trapping,” said the project’s lead researcher, James Woodhall, a UI assistant professor of plant pathology stationed at the Parma Research & Extension Center. “We’re doing it on a scale that perhaps they’re not doing anywhere else in the world.”
11/13/2019

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Scottish potato industry unites to tackle pest threat

Farmers and growers are joining forces to tackle a threat which some fear could wipe out the Scottish potato industry by 2025. Experts have warned about the potential impact of the spread of potato cyst nematode (PCN). According to a BBC report, the amount of land affected in Scotland has been doubling every six or seven years, and researchers fear the pest will cost the industry millions. It can take 30 years before potatoes can be grown again on infected land.
11/13/2019

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World Potato Congress announces date for next meeting

Adelaide, South Australia has been named as the host city for the 2023 World Potato Congress (WPC), the first time this globally significant biennial business event has been held in Australia. Apart from highlighting the destination’s business events offering including accessibility, world class venues, hotels and connectivity, the successful bid, led by the Adelaide Convention Bureau and Potatoes South Australia, ultimately focused on an ‘Old World Meets New’ theme given the historical status of the potato as a food staple, the innovation and technology applied to its production today.
11/5/2019

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The new TOMRA 3A: Sophisticated technology, high performance

TOMRA is announcing the newest member of their growing family, the TOMRA 3A. Their latest sensor-based sorting machine offers potato growers unrivalled sorting capabilities, dependability, and affordability for freshly harvested root crops. Boasting the highest capacity on the market, the TOMRA 3A is the most robust, reliable and cost-effective optical potato sorter available for growers.
11/5/2019

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Ireland: Potato harvest halted once again; prices stable

The potato harvest has come to a halt once again due to the season’s wet weather. This week, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) estimated that between 50% and 70% of potatoes had been lifted. Farmers got a lot of work done in the early part of last week. However, progress is variable. Some farmers in the north of the country are estimated to have up to 70% of their crops out of the ground. This is also reported to be the case in Co. Donegal where approximately 60-70% of crops are harvested.
11/5/2019

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Potandon to focus on rebranding as the healthy potato company

The focus for Potandon Produce LLC at the New York Produce Show this year will be on the health benefits of potatoes, and particularly of some of Potandon’s proprietary products, according Glen Reynolds, vice president of variety sales and business development for the Idaho Falls, ID-based company. “We are in the process of rebranding our company as The Healthy Potato Company,” Reynolds told The Produce News. We are working very diligently on consumer education, knowledge innovation, and the consumer experience.” In the value-added category, “we are working from the consumer backwards on our convenience packaging,” he said.
11/5/2019

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Dewulf shows range of equipment at Agritechnica 2019

Dewulf, full-liner in machines for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops, will, as always, bring several machines with them to Agritechnica ’19. The manufacturer will show seven machines at its stand. They range from soil cultivation to planting and from harvesting to storage. Of course, Dewulf will also have a top lifting harvester on its stand. The machines will be on display in Hanover (DE) (hall 25 – stand H23) from 10 to 16 November.
11/5/2019

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British furniture designer discovers sculptural possibilities of mashed potatoes

One night a few years ago, when he was still in college, Gavin Keightley, an artist, attempted to make couscous for dinner. It was a failure. But as Keightley scraped the couscous from the bowl, he noticed that it retained its shape. Maybe, he thought, he could make a mold out of it—mold as in something that forms something else into a shape, not as in fungus. Now Keightley has created a collection of furniture—one cabinet and some stools—cast in Jesmonite (a water-based molding material) based on molds made from food: not just couscous, but also bread, jelly, and mashed potatoes.
10/23/2019

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Anything could still happen in the European potato season

On 10 September, the Northwestern European Potato Growers Association (NEPG) released figures about the potato harvest in that part of the world. These figures are an estimate based on several trial diggings. The result? The yield is estimated at between 27 and 27,3 million tons of potatoes. This is three percent higher than the five-year average and twelve percent more than last year. How do traders view the new season?
10/23/2019

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Lamb Weston eyes South America sales with new potato partnership

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced last week that it has formed a joint venture with Sociedad Comercial del Plata in Argentina to serve the nearly 2-billion-pound South American market. Each partner will own 50% of the new joint venture, Lamb Weston Alimentos Modernos S.A. Lamb Weston Alimentos Modernos S.A. will sell frozen potato products under the Rapipap and Morixe brands and will operate a manufacturing facility in Munro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, with annual capacity of approximately 130 million pounds of finished goods.
10/22/2019

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Study: Potato effective for boosting athletic performance

Consuming potato puree instead of commercial carbohydrate gel gives the same result to athletes for sustaining blood glucose levels during long workout sessions, claims a study. “Research has shown that ingesting concentrated carbohydrate gels during prolonged exercise promotes carbohydrate availability during exercise and improves exercise performance,” said University of Illinois professor Nicholas Burd, who led the research. “Potatoes are a promising alternative for athletes because they represent a cost-effective, nutrient-dense and whole-food source of carbohydrates,” continued Burd.
10/22/2019

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Concerns mount for Irish potato harvest as weather woes continue

There is a severe risk that much of the potato crop will not be harvested if the wet weather continues, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA). Issuing the warning, IFA National Potato Committee chairman Thomas McKeown noted that, nationally, only 30% of the potato crop is harvested. Normally, such a figure would be closer to 60% at this time of year. 
10/22/2019

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Idaho potato growers anticipate big spud crop this season

The Idaho potato season is well underway, with plenty of supplies for holiday dinners, marketers say. “Since the beginning of harvest in early August, we have focused on promoting the farms and packing facilities,” said Corey Griswold, COO with Hailey, Idaho-based grower-shipper ProSource Inc. “Once harvest is complete and everyone settles in, I think this will shake out to be a good market year.” 
10/22/2019

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McCain Foods begins construction on Washington potato processing plant

The $300 million project is estimated to bring 180 new jobs to area residents and will require an additional 11,000 acres to be sourced from Washington potato growers, according to the company. “McCain Foods has a rich history of producing high quality food right here in Washington,” said Dale McCarthy, vice-president of integrated supply chain at McCain Foods North America.
10/16/2019

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Tasmanian potato growers win ABC Rural Farmer of Year Award

Tasmanian potato growers Susie and Gerard Daly have been recognised for their innovation and dedication to the agriculture industry by winning the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2019 Australian Farmer of the Year Award at a ceremony held at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 16 October 2019. The award was presented as part of the 2019 Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards, which recognised the agriculture industry’s leading farmers and industry members. 
10/16/2019

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Family of deadly crop viruses at the molecular level

For the first time, we can take a molecular-level look at one of the world’s deadliest crop killers. The Luteoviridae are pathogenic plant viruses responsible for major crop losses worldwide. Transmitted by aphids, the viruses infect a wide range of food crops including cereals, legumes, cucurbits, sugar beet, sugarcane, and potato.
10/12/2019

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Mydibel to build new potato processing factory in Belgium

Mydibel Fresh has announced plans to build a new plant in Mouscron, Belgium. According to the official press statement, the construction is part of the company’s strategy of sustainable development, Potato Business reports. The factory is expected to become operational in autumn 2020 and will produce chilled pre-fried fries. The new project will be located next to Gramybel, the plant producing potato granules and flakes, on the site Anne Franck street in Mouscron.
10/3/2019

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How Indra Nooyi got PepsiCo’s customers to accept a heart-healthy alternative to potato chips

Former PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi, who stepped down as CEO last year, was instrumental in shifting company’s focus from sugary beverages to healthier options. But it wasn’t always an easy task for the former CEO. Speaking at Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women International Summit recently, Nooyi recalled how she met with a lot of resistance not only from the investors and fund managers but also from the customers themselves. “Imagine taking Lay’s potato chips which is a salty potato, and reducing the salt,” she said.
10/3/2019

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US potato growers advised to watch for tuber moths

Its harvest time for many potato growers. Those not quite at that point will be harvesting before long.  And while many growers are thinking about getting those spuds in a storage shed, or off to the processor, Washington State University’s Tim Waters said growers need to continue to watch for pests. According to Waters, pre-harvest insect pressures have been fairly low, but that does not mean growers are in the clear.  Waters said growers need to be very cognizant of Potato Tuber moth.
10/3/2019

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Potato processing market to reach USD 37.41 billion by 2026

Growing demand for processed foods, increasing consumer inclination towards vegetarian food and snacks, an expanding food retail industry along with the improving global potato crop over the years are key factors contributing to high CAGR of Potato `Processing market during the forecast period. According to the current analysis of Reports and Data, the global Potato Processing market was valued at USD 24.83 Billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 37.41 Billion by year 2026, at a CAGR of 5.2%.
10/2/2019

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Rains keep Manitoba potato growers on edge; processors forced to import raw product

Manitoba potato growers are hoping the 2019 harvest isn’t a repeat of 2018. Harvest has been delayed in many areas after 50 to 125 millimetres of rain has fallen since Sept. 20. Ideally, growers like to finish digging potatoes by the first week of October. That’s unlikely to happen this year because more rain is forecast for the final days of September.
9/29/2019

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Organic potato acreage increasing in the US in response to demand

The appeal of organic potatoes is increasing and growers are planting more acreage in response. This is according to Jeff Stachelek of Albert Bartlett USA, and is supported by Nielsen sales data. Stachelek says that the majority of growth in the potato category is occurring in the specialty types like bite-sized and fingerlings, as well as organic. As a result, companies like Albert Bartlett are increasing their production.
9/29/2019

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Overview of the European potato market

In Belgium, markets are still firm, with almost no price change and (very) few free transactions. Few industrial buyers actively looking for potatoes. Limited offer due to harvest difficulties and prospects of low average yields. The demand for exports is very strong from various destinations in Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East and Africa. For the French industry, free purchases remain limited, given the very high rate of contractualization.
9/29/2019

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US potato coop goes belly-up

The mood was upbeat and confident at the Malin Potato Cooperative in February of 2015. The Merrill, Oregon, agricultural co-op was preparing to open a brand-new, $7 million state-of-the-art potato packing plant. Today, only four years later, with the packing plant shuttered, the co-op disbanded, one of the co-op’s eight members in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and another now farming for someone else, that mood appears only a distant memory.
9/16/2019

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Tasmanian McCain potato growers gain price increase

Tasmanian potato growers, supplying McCain now will receive a long-awaited price increase; grower Beau Gooch said the $33 per ton increase would help put profitability back. “It’s the biggest price rise we have had for a lot of years. It’s going to make a lot of difference. The price rises we have had the last few years haven’t even really kept up with CPI. We have had small pay rises, but none of them really stayed in the farmer’s pockets, we are hoping that this one rectifies that.”
9/11/2019

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NEPG: Above average European potato harvest expected

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates the forecasted potato harvest for the 2019 season to be between 27 and 27,3 million tons for the 5 leading European potato producing countries. The NEPG estimate at this time is said to be 3% more than the 5 year average, and 12% more than last year. At this stage, the estimates are mainly based upon trial digs performed recently.
9/10/2019

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Canada: Less than 1 percent of Prince Edward Island potato crop harvested as hurricane Dorian blows through

For about 10 days, Hurricane Dorian has been making headlines in the news and it continues to cause damage. It lost its hurricane-force winds and was considered a post-tropical cyclone when it made landfall in Canada’s Nova Scotia province on Saturday night. In addition to Nova Scotia, the storm made significant impact on Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick as it blew through with winds up to 90 mph. According to Nova Scotia Power, more than 474,000 customers in these three provinces were without power.
9/9/2019

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McCain to dial up potato fry production in Canada

The company behind about a quarter of the world’s frozen french fries plans to ramp up demand from Canada’s New Brunswick potato growers with a line capacity upgrade at its recently expanded plant there, according to a report by GFM Staff. McCain Foods announced Aug. 27 it will put up another $12 million to add capacity to its Florenceville, N.B. plant’s French fry line dedicated to food service and retail customers.
9/9/2019

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Desiccation: Smart app ‘WatchITgrow’ potato farmers said to use up to 50% less chemicals

The quality of the potato harvest depends on many factors – obviously weather conditions, crop protection and fertilization, but the timely, accurate and correct haulm killing of potato tops is also of great importance, says the WatchITgrow app program team at VITO in Belgium. Using satellite images in WatchITgrow, one can see how green the tops of the potatoes are. And now you can also produce ‘task maps‘ to apply top-killing products variably.
9/6/2019

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NORPAC’s buyer plans to close processing plant, lay off 485 workers

The Oregon Potato Co. plans to close a plant in Stayton next month and lay off all 485 employees who work there, beginning at the end of October, The Oregonian reports. Farmers cooperative NORPAC filed for bankruptcy last month and agreed to sell its assets to Oregon Potato for $155.5 million. NORPAC’s Stayton food processing plant wasn’t initially part of the sale, but the cooperative notified employees last week that Oregon Potato does now plan to buy that facility – and to close it.
9/6/2019

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Potatoes USA drops culinary group, asks other ag groups to follow

Potatoes USA is ending its investment in and association with the Culinary Institute of America. The Packer reports that Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA, announced the group’s decision in an Aug. 30 update at the Idaho Growers Shipper Association convention. He said the decision wasn’t easy but was ultimately necessary because of anti-potato messaging from the culinary group, a nonprofit that helps train chefs.
9/6/2019

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Tong Engineering’s Caretaker sorter now includes advanced optical sorting feature for dirty crops

Since Tong Engineering launched the option of integrated optical sorting within its market leading grading machine, the Caretaker, in 2016, the inclusion of advanced optical sorting on dirty grading systems has proved to be a very welcome addition. Introduced to offer potato and vegetable growers and processors automated optical sorting of dirty crop, Tong has been offering the option within its Caretaker mobile grader and static grading lines, as an alternative to traditional manual inspection facilities.
9/5/2019

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US potato farmers seek new trade deal with Mexico to ‘level the playing field’

Potato farmers are asking U.S. agricultural officials for support in expanding export trade into Mexico, writes Noi Mahoney in Freight Waves. Currently, American potato farmers and exporters are mostly barred from selling fresh potatoes in Mexico due to restrictions by the Mexican government, namely that U.S. growers can only sell fresh potatoes within a 26-kilometer (about 16-mile) zone across the Mexican border.
9/5/2019

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New campaign recognizes Idaho potato farmers

Many say potatoes put Idaho on the map. The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) doesn’t disagree, but likes to say potatoes and their dedicated growers put Idaho on the map. The Produce News reports that recently, the IPC created a social media campaign, Thank a Farmer, to introduce the women and men who work tirelessly year-round and often around the clock to annually produce America’s favorite vegetable, the Idaho potato.
9/4/2019

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Potato tuber greening: A review of redisposing factors, management and future challenges

In this scientific paper, published in the American Journal of Potato Research, scientists Sabine Tanios, Alieta Eyles, Robert Tegg, and Calum Wilson wrote that greening is a major cause of quality loss in potato tubers. As underground stems, potato tubers are non-photosynthetic plantorgans that lack photosynthetic machinery. However, after light exposure, amyloplasts convert to chloroplasts in tuber peripheralcell layers, which cause the accumulation of the green photosynthetic pigment, chlorophyll.
9/4/2019

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Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are healthier? Nutritionists weigh in

Potatoes are practical and delish, but they’ve gotten a bit of a bad rap, nutritionally speaking. Sweet potatoes have swooped in as a trendy tater alternative, and so began the sweet potato vs. potato health debate. This, according to an article written by Jennifer Nied and published in Women’s Health magazine. But are sweet potatoes truly healthier than potatoes? Nied asks. She writes that Keri Gans, MS, RDN, nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet, and Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, get to the root of this dietary dilemma.
9/4/2019

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Haith to unveil new 2020 washer and de-stoner at British Potato 2019 event

With its new washer, Haith aims to bring all of the innovative market-leading features found its top of the range Supa-wash to the broader market. Haith’s original Supa-wash was designed to handle 25 to 50 tonnes per hour. Haith’s 2020 Washer and De-stoner is designed to appeal to people processing 10 to 25 tonnes per hour. Visitors to Haith’s stand at the British Potato 2019 event in Harrogate in November will be the first to see the new design.
9/3/2019

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US-based Campbell Soup to sell its European chips business

Campbell Soup has agreed to sell its European chips business, including UK-based Kettle Foods and Netherlands-based Yellow Chips B.V., to Valeo Foods, a portfolio company of CapVest Partners LLP, for approximately $80 million. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of fiscal-year 2020. It is part of the company’s ongoing divestiture of its international business as it narrows its focus on its core canned soup unit and snacks.
9/2/2019

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Event: British potato growers to look at chemical and mechanical alternatives for diquat

During the coming AHDB hosted Strategic Farm North Desiccation Day in North Lincolnshire, potato growers will look at the effects of a number of alternative ag chemicals and mechanical options following the loss of diquat for desiccation.The event will take place on Thursday, 5 September. AHDB says the loss of the popular herbicide has had significant ramifications for multiple grower’s desiccation strategies, due to its common usage, and the limited alternatives available that are as effective and economical.
9/2/2019

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Pictorial: CIP and Peru join forces to honour potatoes at Beijing horticultural expo event

The “International Potato Center and Peru Joint Honorary Day” theme event was held today as part of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition in Yanqing District in Beijing, the capital of China. Xinhuanet published a number of pictures on its website related to the event. Go to Potato News Today to see some of these pictures..
9/1/2019

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Big Idaho Potato Truck rolls on; high-quality crop expected

According to a report by The Packer, the Big Idaho Potato Truck will be back for another year of rolling promotions for what is expected to be a high-quality potato crop, Idaho Potato Commission president and CEO Frank Muir told attendees at the 2019 Idaho Grower Shippers Association Convention. In previewing the commission’s marketing and promotion plans at the Sun Valley meeting, Muir said the 2019 crop was on track for good quality on slightly fewer acres.
8/31/2019

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World Potato Congress Inc confirms commitment to African potato sector at APA Congress in Rwanda

During a presentation at the official opening of the 11th African Potato Congress in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this week, World Potato Congress Inc President Romain Cools announced the ongoing commitment of his organization to be a partner of the African potato sector. President Cools illustrated this commitment by referring to the active role of African potato specialists in WPC’s global organization.
8/30/2019

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