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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

Tong pushes forward with second phase of new factory build

Tong Engineering is delighted to announce the go-ahead for construction of the second phase development at its new manufacturing facility in Spilsby. As part of a planned two-phase project, the company’s £3.6 million first phase building was completed in August 2020. And now the second phase build, of comparable investment, is set to commence on the seven-acre site this month, with plans to move into the new facility in the Autumn.
1/14/2021

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‘Stop/start’ harvest results in challenging year for Irish potato growers

Not getting the maincrop harvest completed until the days directly before Christmas has added considerably to the production costs incurred during 2020 by some potato growers including William Monagle from Co. Donegal. “Usually, we would be out of the fields at some stage during November; we normally start harvesting at the beginning of October,” Monagle told Richard Halleron of AgriLand. “An extended harvest adds to growers’ costs. Adding to the challenges faced by producers is the fact that average yields were down by around 20% last year.
1/13/2021

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Dutch criminals said to use potato exports to Africa to launder money

According to the Fiscale Inlichtingen en OpsporingsDienst (FIOD), Dutch criminals are increasingly using potato exports to Africa to launder money, FIOD chief Bert Langerak has said. Investigations by the tax fraud detection body, whose annual report was published on Monday, has shown that criminals ‘exported’ at least €150m worth of produce, particularly potatoes, to Africa in the last five years.
1/13/2021

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Researchers identified and characterized potato dry rot and potato wilt pathogens in Algeria

Fusarium is one of the most important genera of phytopathogenic fungi, causing potato wilt in the field and potato tuber dry rot during storage. The objectives of a study by researchers from Algeria and Poland were to identify Fusarium species associated with both potato diseases in different growing regions in Algeria, and to assess their pathogenicity.
1/13/2021

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Potato early dying disease in the spotlight at Canadian Potato Summit

Potato early dying disease, also known as Verticillium wilt, results in early potato maturity and can limit yield by as much as 50 per cent. What can Canadian growers do to protect their spuds? Mario Tenuta and Dmytro Yevtushenko of the Canadian Potato Early Dying Network (CanPEDNet) will share research updates on this disease during the upcoming Canadian Potato Summit on February 3.
1/13/2021

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US agriculture industry bets on carbon as a new ‘cash crop’

US farmers make their living raising crops from the soil each year. Now, some are getting paid for putting something back into their fields: carbon. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, correspondent Jacob Bunge writes that big agriculture companies including Bayer AG , Nutrien Ltd. and Cargill Inc. are jockeying with startups to encourage crop producers to adopt climate-friendly practices and develop farming-driven carbon markets.
1/4/2021

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The Year 2020: ‘I came, I saw, I delivered COVID-19…’

Dear folks, I believe that as much as Caesar’s famous words “I came, I saw, I conquered” will most likely live on for many years and indeed millennia to come, the year 2020 will go down in recorded history as the year when humankind was first inflicted with “The Corona”. And may this be the last time… And may we not be conquered in the end, but overcome… To all you great potato folks: May 2021 turn out to be a great New Year for you and yours!
1/1/2021

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Virtual Potato Expo 2021 ready for big crowd

The first-ever digital Potato Expo is on tap for Jan. 5-7 and the event has plenty to offer the industry, National Potato Council leaders say. Registration for the 2021 Potato Expo event is available online. Earlier this month, the Packer’s Tom Karst visited with Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and Hollee Alexander, vice president of industry relations and events for the council.
1/1/2021

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The recyclable packaging trend: PepsiCo’s partnership with bioplastics manufacturer Danimer Scientific

PepsiCo joined forces with Danimer Scientific several years ago with the goal to develop sustainable flexible packaging, Danimer says in a news release published on its website. According to the release, Danimer Scientific developed biobased compostable packaging for PepsiCo’s snack brands in the past. The new initiative is said to be “right in line with PepsiCo’s announced strategy to make all of its packaging recoverable or recyclable.”
1/1/2021

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‘To be or not to be’: British potato industry to discuss future direction of Potatoes at AHDB

On January 7 levy payers will gather online for an open discussion about the future direction of Potatoes at AHDB. This virtual ‘town hall’ event will give participants the chance to have a say on AHDB’s new five-year strategy and ask questions of Alison Levett (Potatoes Interim Chair) and Rob Clayton (Strategy Director). AHDB says its new strategy will put the organization in a place to deliver what the industry needs, including revamping the way AHDB works.
1/1/2021

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Future Farming: You cannot hide from the satellite!

There are many movies where satellites offer scary surveillance capabilities. Of course, it is science fiction, but with the latest commercial satellites some level of space surveillance of crops and fields can be achieved. Besides the Big Brother effect, farmers can also benefit from the satellite imagery with increasing detail that become readily available at increasing cadence, writes Tamme van der Wal, scientist at Wageningen University in this article published by Future Farming.
12/30/2020

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New Zealand’s South Island and green onion chips: A love story for the ages

From the tip of Farewell Spit to the very arse end of Stewart Island, there is one delicacy that unites Te Wai Pounamu: the humble green onion chip. But why? Alice Neville embarks on a quest for the true story behind this regional snacking quirk in a delightful article. We publish a brief excerpt here – the full story can be read on The Spinoff.
12/30/2020

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Idaho farmers look ahead after roller-coaster year

COVID-19 has “scrambled” the outlook for potato growers, said economist Bruce Huffaker, who is president of North American Potato Market News, Inc. Huffaker believes the potato market has made up a great deal of ground following the COVID-19 hit, and demand should be relatively strong looking ahead. Between April and June, global trade in french fries declined by 30%. It’s been recovering since then, Huffaker said. “One of the challenges we are seeing still is while global trade is only down 2.8%, North American exports are still running 15% behind last year’s pace,” Huffaker said.
12/30/2020

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Potato sales and utilization in the US: The ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘how much’ answered

John Toaspern, Chief Marketing Officer at Potatoes USA provides insight from this year’s Sales and Utilization study of US potatoes. “With everything that has occurred this past marketing year, it is very important for us to understand what has happened with the sales of potatoes in the US market and how the crop was utilized based on an analysis of potatoes and products sold at retail and food service and accounting for the volume of US exports and imports,” Toasperm says.
12/30/2020

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The puzzle of non-host resistance: Why do pathogens harm some plants but not others?

People have puzzled for years why pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes the devastating late blight disease on potatoes, but has no effect at all on plants like apple or cucumber. How are apple trees and cucumber plants able to completely shake off this devastating pathogen? Agricultural scientists have wondered for years: if this resistance is so complete and persists over so many generations, is there some way we could transfer it to susceptible plants and thereby stop the disease?
12/30/2020

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‘Fight the blight’: CIP developed an app to help potato farmers in developing countries reduce agrochemical use

Late blight disease remains the biggest threat to potato farming globally, causing USD billions of crop loss each year. In most areas, farmers can only grow potatoes if they regularly apply fungicides, which control the highly destructive pathogen but pose risks to the environment, farmers and their families. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) have developed an easy-to-use decision support tool to help farmers optimize their fungicide use.
12/27/2020

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Potato Forum convenes: Republic of Georgia in a quest to boost its potato sector

Last week, key actors from the Republic of Georgia’s potato sector convened virtually to discuss ideas to enhance the country’s potato sector. Dubbed the “Georgia Potato Forum,” the meeting focused on ways to develop value chains to improve market opportunities for farmers while providing markets and consumers with higher-quality potatoes. The Forum was the first in a series that will continue into 2021 and was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
12/26/2020

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Brexit trade deal ‘disastrous’ for Scottish seed potato farmers, says Scotland’s first minister

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has accused the UK government of selling out farmers in Scotland after it emerged that seed potatoes are set not to be included in a post-Brexit trade deal. Scottish seed potato farmers are one of the biggest exporters for the production of chips and crisps in the world, with the sector accounting for three-quarters of UK production and worth about £112m a year. Northern English farmers will also be particularly affected.
12/26/2020

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Post-Brexit EU trade deal: Worries mount as British seed potatoes are excluded

Industry bodies have welcomed news of the EU’s decision to grant third country status to the UK, a move which came as the UK was poised to sign a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve. However, concerns remain over the lack of detail in the announcement and its exclusion of the seed potato industry – a lucrative source of income for growers, and a key crop for Scottish growers.
12/24/2020

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Specialist opinion: ‘Adopting IPM on commercial farms’ – An insight from New Zealand

During the recent CropTec show in the UK – which was hosted and presented as a virtual, online event – Prof Alison Stewart from New Zealand shared her experience of developing and implementing IPM on commercial farms. She is the CEO of the Foundation for Edible Research in New Zealand. Prof Stewart says there are a large number of global challenges out there for agriculture in every country in the world, and New Zealand is no different.
12/24/2020

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A potato store in your pocket: ‘SmartStor’ now comes with sprout suppressant application mode for DMN, mint oil and ethylene

Crop Systems Limited is the UK’s premiere manufacturer and installer of potato and vegetable stores. In the past 25 years it has built an enviable reputation for combining innovative thinking with outstanding engineering and products. Crop System’s latest system – the SmartStor – enables operators to monitor and manage stores remotely, while reducing crop storage costs.
12/24/2020

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PlanetPotato podcast: Time to look back, look forward and celebrate an unforgettable year

Potato-market expert Cedric Porter and his tuber-enamoured wife Anna Lambert present a cultural celebration of the potato in all its multi-faceted glory in their PlanetPotato podcast. In the 7th episode of the podcast, they say it’s time “to look back, look forward and celebrate the festive period the best we can” after a year that none us will forget and which has been tough for so many.
12/24/2020

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New long-term storage realities in the UK: What storage managers should know

An emergency authorisation (EA) for the use of the as yet unapproved sprout suppressant 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene (DMN) in the UK was secured two weeks ago – following an application from AHDB, supported by the Potato Processors Association (PPA) and approval holders DormFresh. AHDB has prepared a ‘frequently asked questions’ document for store managers who wish to know more.
12/24/2020

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Market analyst: ‘Global French fry trade might not recover until 2022’

Exactly a year ago, potatoes were seeing tight supplies and solid demand and it was expected that pricing would be strong in 2020. Then came Covid-19. Bruce Huffaker, President of North American Potato Market News, says: “It’s been a very big challenge for the industry and for people in general.” 2020 has been the first year since 2003 that the global French fry trade has been in decline compared with the previous year, and while it won’t be able to recover this trend in 2021, it might be able to get back there in 2022, says Huffaker.
12/23/2020

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The evolution of a market leading separator

2020 has been a year of unprecedented success for Scotts Precision Manufacturing and sales of its Evolution Separator. Here, Derek Scott, managing director, outlines what makes the Evolution so effective. With more than 650 units sold since it was introduced in 2005, the Evolution is universally recognised as the market-leading separator around the world. The Evolution’s popularity is due to its ability to clean virtually all root crops, fruits and alliums gently and without crop losses and in extreme conditions.
12/23/2020

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‘No dumb bags anymore’: HZPC leads the way in the development of ‘smart’ bulk bags for potato seed

Potato variety and seed trading company HZPC recently unveiled details about a pilot project – dubbed ‘smart big bags’ – that harnesses the potential of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) to share information about the seed contained in bulk bags, and also track certain variables during the transportation of seed potatoes. The company says in a news article that a total of 1100 big (bulk/tote) bags will be fitted with an intelligent computer chip as part of the implementation of the pilot project.
12/22/2020

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‘Battle cry of the potato’ – How a potato wild relative fights off blackleg and soft rot pathogen

Potato production is severely affected by high susceptibility to a wide range of microbial pathogens, such as bacteria from the genus Pectobacterium, which cause various devastating diseases in potato and produce important economic losses. In a recent study, scientists from Colorado State University (CSU) revealed that metabolites from a potato wild relative (S. chacoense) contribute to disease resistance by altering the pathogenic behavior of Pectobacterium brasiliense, rather than inhibiting its growth or killing it.
12/22/2020

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British potato processors given go-ahead for controlled use of DMN sprout suppressant

AHDB in the UK has secured an emergency authorisation (EA) for the use of as yet unapproved sprout suppressant 1?4 dimethylnaphthalene (DMN). The approval is limited to the supply chains of some major processors, as the Chemical Regulations Division (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) turned down an original wider application made in August. Approval has been granted for controlled use of the sprout control product on a limited number of varieties, pre?nominated by member companies of the Potato Processors Association (PPA). The treated varieties will be used for crisp and French fry manufactures.
12/10/2020

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Precision farming: Yield and field-to-storage load monitoring on a Canadian potato farm

Ontario potato farmers Kate and Peter Vander Zaag were among the first to adopt potato yield monitoring and, more recently, field-to-storage load tracking and mapping. Tech-savvy producers who prioritize quality, the Vander Zaags believe capturing quality information is key to growing better potatoes. Bill Menkveld, VP of Sales and Marketing at Canadian based precision farming company Greentronics sat down with Kate Vander Zaag to hear her perspective.
12/10/2020

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Fertiliser calibration: The principles

AHDB and Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) have joined up to look at how you can get the best out of your nitrogen use and fertiliser application through calibration, with a focus on the principles and the practice. This session focuses on fertiliser calibration principles and is designed for owners, operators and advisors. Dr Ian Richards, Independent Consultant will be talking through the key points.
12/10/2020

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Sustainable cultivation: Research confirms soil benefits of cover crops in potato crop rotations

Canadian scientist, Dr. Judith Nyiraneza, working with a Prince Edward Island potato producer recently completed a two-year study that tested the performance of winter rye, winter wheat and spring barley as winter cover crops planted following the harvest of potatoes. She concluded each cover crop improved soil health and combat erosion, protecting potato fields in winter.
12/10/2020

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: 2020 Election analysis and how the 2020 elections could impact the potato industry’s policy efforts

In this edition of NPC’s Eye on Potatoes podcast, leading agriculture political advisor Randy Russell of The Russell Group joins National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles and host Lane Nordlund for an in-depth discussion of the 2020 election results and how the potato industry will work with the new Congress and Biden Administration to advance its policy priorities. Additionally they discuss what the Lame Duck session might hold for growers and the rest of America.
12/9/2020

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Streamlining irrigation practices: Manna and CHAMSA collaborate to bring pivot irrigation closer to full autonomy

Leading irrigation intelligence software company Manna, and Grupo Chamartin S.A. (CHAMSA), a leading irrigation systems manufacturer and distributor, today announced their collaboration to develop a joint offering that will bring pivot irrigation one step closer to autonomy. The partnership marks the growing momentum in the sector towards more sustainable and streamlined irrigation practices achievable through combined agricultural and technological expertise.
12/8/2020

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From potato peelings to fertiliser: Walkers to cut carbon emissions by bringing potatoes full circle

Walkers crisps, one of the largest buyers of British potatoes, is partnering with British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies to reduce its carbon footprint by turning its potato waste into fertiliser. Using innovative carbon-capture technology, potato peelings leftover from making crisps will be transformed into low-carbon fertiliser and returned to farms where potatoes for Walkers crisps are grown across the UK.
12/8/2020

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Trade report: Potatoes and Mexico

In this episode of Idaho Ag Today, Dr David Sparks – the voice of the Idaho Agribusiness community – is having a chat with chat with international trade expert Bill Bryant, who has an interesting perspective on Mexico and Idaho potatoes. Says Bill: “Everyone said that, you know what? We’ve got this biotechnology language and the Trans-Pacific Partnership that we did spend years negotiating. And that, by the way, since Canada and Mexico are already part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, they’ve already agreed to it. We agreed to it when we negotiated the TPP. Let’s just take that TPP language and stick it in NAFTA and call it USCAP.
12/3/2020

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Research job opening: ‘Getting to the roots of stress resilience of potato plants’

Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands is advertising a challenging position for 1,5 years for a candidate with a PhD in Plant Sciences or Molecular Biology, with preference for candidates with good background in stress physiology. In this project the function of several candidate genes involved in potato root architecture will be investigated, by qPCR, CRISPR-CAS9 genome editing and overexpression approaches.
12/3/2020

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Seed potato exports from Canada’s Prince Edward Island to the US halted; NPC CEO issues statement

In a media statement, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US says that on November 27, “the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of potato wart (Synchytrium endobioticum) in two fields on a farm in Prince Edward Island (PEI), according to a pest report issued by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).” In response, the NPC said it supports CFIA’s immediate action to stop all PEI seed shipments into the United States.
12/2/2020

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In an age of biofortified food: Study reveals potato’s potential for reducing anemia

Potatoes can be an excellent source of iron. This means potatoes could play an important role in efforts to reduce iron deficiency – the leading cause of anemia, which affects about 2 billion people globally. Whereas people absorb only about 2-10% of the iron in most vegetables, 8% of the iron in pearl millet and less than 10% of the iron in beans, participants in this study absorbed 28% of the iron in the yellow-fleshed potato they ate.
12/2/2020

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Possible ban on UK potatoes could impact chip shops, growers in Ireland

A possible post-Brexit ban on the importation of potatoes from the UK could affect supplies in Ireland next year. From 1 January, UK table potatoes and seed potatoes could fall foul of EU food safety rules. When the UK becomes a third country, it will be outside the legal framework of the European Union’s food safety rules. Many service outlets in Ireland, including chip shops, use British potatoes for chips.
12/2/2020

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Pandemic pushes Peru’s vital peasant farmers to the brink

Small scale farmers are responsible for the food that lands on 70 percent of Peruvian dinner tables, officials say, but months of pandemic lockdown and a souring economy have left many bankrupt and questioning whether to plant again. Strict quarantines early in the pandemic made transporting beans, potatoes and other crops to markets difficult. Prices plummeted as demand dropped. Official data shows the price for potatoes dropped at least 30 percent between March and July.
12/1/2020

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Pandemic impacts Chef endorsed UK potato brand

UK based Linwood Crops was established in 2016 by four potato specialists with over 100 years in combined experience. They set out to create a passionate business dedicated to supplying fresh Potatoes based on taste and purpose. Matt Thory, Linwood’s Commercial Director says it is clear that his passion for the brand has made the decision to agree an exit plan very difficult. Matt states that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on market values and the closure of the hospitality sectors; unfortunately leaves minimal margins that do not offer the brand’s Royalty requirements to secure the relationship going forward.
12/1/2020

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Bad news for the Canadian potato industry: Potato wart confirmed in Prince Edward Island

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of potato wart in two fields on a farm in Prince Edward Island (PEI), according to a pest report issued today by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). According to the report, the CFIA has placed the fields under quarantine and is carrying out official control measures under the authority of the federal Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations.
12/1/2020

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Canadian researcher in pursuit of finding potatoes that are resistant to disease, drought and greening

A Prince Edward Island-based Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researcher, Dr. Bourlaye Fofana, grows 814 different genetic lines of potatoes in fields at AAFC’s Harrington Research Farm, all in pursuit of finding potatoes that are resistant to disease, drought and greening. Dr. Fofana is working to develop potato varieties that are resistant to common scab disease, making crops more plentiful and profitable and providing blemish-free produce for consumers around the world.
11/30/2020

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Recording of Potato Soil Health webinar now online

This winter AHDB in the UK is running its Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. You can now watch a re-recording of the AHDB hosted soil health webinar – ‘Potato Soil Health – Why bother?’ online. The webinar was hosted live by AHDB on 19 November.
11/29/2020

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Production estimate: British potato production up despite tough year

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges for the British potato industry, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be unlifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt. This is based on 75% of the sample and will be updated.
11/29/2020

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Leading Scottish scientist recognised for lifetime of service to potato industry

Scottish scientist Professor Ian Toth has received this year’s prestigious British Potato Industry Lifetime Award. Professor Toth is the director of Scotland’s Plant Heath Centre at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, where he has been undertaking plant health research for over 25 years, which brought him into regular contact with UK and devolved governments, the public and industry to whom he regularly presents his work.
11/29/2020

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Canada: P.E.I. Potato Board elects new executive

The P.E.I. Potato Board has a new executive. During the board of director’s Nov. 20 meeting, it was decided that Jason Hayden will continue in the role of chairman, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper. The new vice-chairman is Wayne Townshend of Fortune Bridge. John Hogg from Summerside will continue in the role of secretary-treasurer. Three new directors were also appointed
11/27/2020

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Australian potato grower speaks out about the health benefits of potatoes

In this video, Kerri Ann Lamb tells the story of her family’s potato-growing business at Wickham Farms, Killarney, Queensland in Australia. Kerri is fourth fourth generation potato farmer. Says Kerri: “Our potatoes are planted in October, so they’ll be ready to harvested in February. It will be harvested and sent to the pack house in February and they’ll be sold fresh n supermarkets as brushed potatoes as well.
11/26/2020

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First potato production estimate for the UK higher – despite reduced planted area

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most, according to an AHDB report by Alice Bailey. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be un-lifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt.
11/26/2020

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Ukraine imports ‘cheap’ potatoes from Poland and the Netherlands

Ukraine has reportedly started to import potatoes from Poland, where prices fell sharply due to a significant reduction in consumption by the European segment of HoReCa. This was announced by the President of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPOA), Taras Bashtannyk, according to “ProAgro Group” with reference to AgroTimes. “We have been importing products from Russia and Belarus for two years now, and this year, at the beginning of summer, we started importing potatoes from the Netherlands and now imports from Poland have also started,” Bashtannyk said.
11/25/2020

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