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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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




Potato News

Leading the battle against nematodes

New weapons in the battle against the pale cyst nematode — a major potato pest that has cost US farmers millions of dollars since it was found in southeast Idaho in 2006 — include an effective bio-fumigant and a surprisingly efficient “trap crop.” Researchers are also making progress in developing PCN-resistant potato varieties. “Understanding the biology allows us to target the weak point in the life cycle,” said University of Idaho Associate Professor Louise-Marie Dandurand, project director of the Globodera Alliance. The alliance is a five-year, $3.2 million project funded by USDA to assess the risk of and work to eradicate potato cyst nematodes.
5/15/2020

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‘It’s millions of dollars sitting there’: Maine potato industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic

With restaurants, cafeterias, fairs, sporting events, and countless other events closed—or just starting to open with fewer seats – Maine potato farmers are feeling the pressure from the coronavirus pandemic. Many farmers are trying to sell the larger potatoes they have in stock to retail stores like Hannaford. Hannaford has seen success with the Maine product in its 183 stores throughout New England. “We have bought 500 thousand pounds more than we have normally purchased this time of year,” Kim Kuusela, the Local Merchandising Specialist for Hannaford, said. 
5/15/2020

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Lamb Weston returns part of 2019 crop to growers

Processor Lamb Weston has returned part of the 2019 potato crop to Northwest farmers, according to a report by Capital Press. The company doesn’t have the ability to run all of the 2019 potatoes remaining in storage, said Dale Lathim, executive director of Potato Growers of Washington. About 30% of the potatoes still in growers’ storage has been returned to farmers, Lathim said. He said that’s about 4 million hundredweight of potatoes in Washington. About 1 million hundredweight were returned in Idaho and 300,000 hundredweight in Alberta, Canada.
5/13/2020

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Quebec family-run potato farm bags 160,000 pounds of spuds by hand during COVID-19 pandemic

Members of the Thomas and Delforge family farm have been forced to bag more than 160,000 pounds of potatoes — by hand. The family farm located in Coteau-du-Lac, a city 40 minutes west of Montreal, is a major producer for regional food suppliers. The economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has lowered demand for potatoes, bringing the industry to a halt. Despite the setback, Thomas and his wife Ange-Marie Delforge have adapted their operations to save their produce and their bottom line. 
5/13/2020

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Hard choices: Farm leaders say crop dumping is last resort

The reports of some farmers, ranchers or dairy operations dumping their farm commodities is not easy news to digest. But imagine how the farmer feels? When a producer makes the decision to destroy some of their crop, it is their absolute last resort and they do it with a heavy heart, farm industry leaders say.A lot of producers are donating their crops to food banks and other feeding programs right now but sometimes that isn’t an option due to logistical hurdles or economics, said Pat Kole, director of industry and government relations for the Idaho Potato Commission.
5/13/2020

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Serious, dedicated munchers wanted: Can Canadians eat their way through this french fry surplus?

Would you even recognize the version of yourself from February, 2020? Life changes fast. In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has pushed most of us into an alternate universe of our lives that, only a couple months ago, would have been unthinkable. Case in point, Canadians might be asked to eat 200 million pounds of French fry potatoes that have already been harvested, but won’t be moving through the usual restaurant supply channels. 
5/13/2020

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US potato farmers reduce planting as demand plummets during pandemic

Potato farmers in the US plan to plant fewer spuds this year after demand for America’s most popular vegetable has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. Early estimates show potato acres down about 10 percent, said Blair Richardson, CEO of Denver-based Potatoes USA, a potato marketing organization. But even with that reduction, industry leaders fear farmers will be unable to sell all their harvest come fall. The problem developed because the closures of restaurants, schools and other food service operations created an unprecedented drop in potato consumption across the country.
5/11/2020

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Dry weather will require weed kill re-think for Scottish potato farmers

Managing weed control programmes in potatoes could be tricky this year, given the continued dry weather. Ken Fletcher, editor of The Scottish Farmer reports. Dry weather can hamper the activity of residual herbicides, while a lack of soil moisture will also slow the emergence of many key problem weeds until later in the season. However, some of the sneakier ones may grow from depth earlier, unimpeded by a dry and disrupted herbicide layer.
5/11/2020

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In America’s french fry heartland, spring turns bitter as coronavirus cuts into global demand

For farmer Mike Pink, spring is supposed to be a time of hope, when he can survey a green field of young potato plants and anticipate the bounty to be pulled from the sandy soils of the Columbia Basin, reports Hal Bernton of the Seattle Times. This year, this is a season when dreams die. Due to an epic potato glut that imploded his market, he has decided to do what was once unthinkable — destroy part of his crop rather than sink more dollars into cultivation.
5/11/2020

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Canada: The Little Potato Company’s Angela Santiago talks creamer potato demand, online trends, and cross-merchandising

If the food pyramid had a “comfort” category, potatoes would certainly be pictured. And at a time when everyone needs a little comfort, it’s no surprise that Creamers and others in the category have been flying off the shelves, reports Melissa De Leon Chavez, writer at AndNowYouKnow. “It is a vegetable item that is not as highly perishable as other fresh produce items, and potatoes are familiar. There’s no learning what to do with them,” says Angela Santiago, CEO and Co-Founder of The Little Potato Company.
5/11/2020

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Food for thought: ‘Enjoy the potatoes before reality hits’

The following thoughtful piece was written by Katie Teachout, the editor of The Ritzville Adams County Journal in Washington State. Who can deny the beauty of a crisp fall day full of late-season sunshine and laughter in the air, as gorgeous crimson leaves twirl down to the ground from stately oaks, maples and other American hardwoods? Last Wednesday, at the potato giveaway in Ritzville, the air had many of those same elements — spring air still crisp enough for winter jackets, and sparks of laughter as neighbors came together to distribute a bountiful harvest of potatoes. 
5/10/2020

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Capture the beauty of the potato: ‘Potato photographer of the Year’ competition kicks off

While you’re stuck at home in this period of lockdown, why not flex your creative muscles and see how you can artistically capture the beauty of a potato? Whether you’re drawn to the simplicity of a King Edward, the gentle curves of a Yukon Gold or the marvels of the Maris Piper, here is a chance to show off your photography skills! The Potato photographer of the Year competition is put on by the folks who run the website Photocrowd.com.
5/10/2020

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‘The European potato world is upside down’: NEPG paints a dark picture of the current and future European situation

The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says that the foodservice demand for potato products in Europe has dropped by 50 to 60%, and the export markets have lost its potential as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It says the global potato processing industry has reduced production capacity everywhere. More than 2 million tons of raw product will most likely not be processed in Europe.
5/6/2020

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Potato surplus and halted processing impacts new Alberta crops

In a province that boasts one of the largest potato production regions in Canada, the surplus of potatoes waiting in storage due to COVID-19 is a major issue. Officials say that surplus in Alberta is now impacting future crops. “Our growers will be done planting by the end of this week,” Potato Growers of Alberta Executive Director Terence Hochstein said. “They’ve got about a 25 per cent cutback on their 2020 acres, so that is going to help somewhat. But there’s still going to be about 100,000 tonnes in Alberta that have no home.”
5/6/2020

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Focus on biostimulants: Keep potato crops stress free with ‘Bridgeway’

Keeping potato crops stress free is not an easy job for growers, particularly when one considers the key growth periods of June through to August are also potentially some of the most stressful for the crop, with temperature and drought stress being particularly prevalent. According to crop specialists at UK-based Interagro, early crop stress, which reduces the rate of carbon assimilation and decreases partitioning of assimilates to the tubers, is the most detrimental to tuberization, bulking and tuber yield and beating stress is therefore a necessary evil to protect yield.
5/5/2020

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Potatoes USA CEO weighs in on current french fry shortage at grocers

Here’s why shoppers in the US are currently having difficulties finding frozen french fries: Potatoes USA CEO Blair Richardson joins Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith to discuss how the coronavirus is impacting the potato supply chain and what that means for farmers.
5/5/2020

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AHDB Potatoes strategy director provides overview and outlook for the British potato market

In a video published May 1 by AHDB Potatoes in the UK, strategy director Rob Clayton provides some context around the March stocks estimate (released May 1). Dr Clayton says that this estimate is an important ‘line in the sand’ which allows AHDB to calculate how much potatoes are left in growers’ stores, which in turn will help AHDB to strategize and plan different marketing scenarios for the rest of the spring and into the summer.
5/4/2020

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‘A season when dreams die’ – Coronavirus cuts into global french fry demand

For farmer Mike Pink, spring is supposed to be a time of hope, when he can survey a green field of young potato plants and anticipate the bounty to be pulled from the sandy soils of the Columbia Basin. Hal Bernton, Associated Press reports. This year, this is a season when dreams die. Due to an epic potato glut that imploded his market, he has decided to do what was once unthinkable — destroy part of his crop rather than sink more dollars into cultivation. By early April, potato processors had decided to reduce their contracted acreage by about 20 percent, according to Chris Voigt of the Washington Potato Commission.
5/4/2020

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UPGC released planting recommendations for 2020 Canadian potato crop

The United Potato Growers of Canada released the following information regarding planting recommendations for the 2020 potato crop. As growers head to the fields with their potato planters, much uncertainty lies about future demand for the crop and what is the appropriate supply to meet the needs of the public as their buying and eating habits evolve due to COVID-19 distancing requirements.
5/2/2020

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Chinese potato production and export likely to grow this year

The global potato price increased because the production volumes in major production areas declined. The price is already higher than in the last 6 years. The Chinese potato price is lower than the global average. The global price rise therefore stimulates the expansion of potato production in China. Chinese potato export is likely to increase this year as long as the domestic market remains the same. Some people in the industry point out that the Chinese potato production volume is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2020
5/2/2020

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Haith Group and Grimme UK and Ireland announce strategic partnership

Two of the most respected and well-known agricultural machinery manufacturers have announced a strategic collaboration for the UK and Ireland. The new relationship is designed to benefit UK and Irish farmers, who will now be able to buy complete solutions from either company’s sales team.
5/2/2020

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Organic farmers pivot from selling to restaurants to homes amid coronavirus

New York’s farmers who can no longer sell crops to Big Apple restaurants are turning to a new business model: Boxing up produce for the growing hordes of home cooks, Jennifer Gould Keil reports in New York Post. Zaid Kurdieh, an organic farmer in Norwich, NY, used to rely on sales to top chefs and restaurateurs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller and Danny Meyer for 60 percent of his revenues. But with Gotham’s dining scene shuttered, Kurdieh has pivoted from packing up “hundreds of pounds” of produce for restaurateurs to curating 12- to 24-pound food boxes for home chefs.
4/27/2020

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Coronavirus pandemic leads to Idaho potato market distress

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a once strong potato market to make an abrupt about-face, leading some Idaho growers to dump surplus spuds from storage cellars or to feed them to cattle. Just a few weeks ago, Idaho potato farmers were enjoying some of their best fresh prices in recent memory and anticipated supplies would run short in the coming summer. The combination of lower spud yields and widespread frost damage during the 2019 harvest had contributed to a smaller statewide crop than normal, the Post Register reported Saturday.
4/27/2020

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PlanetPotato goes live: New World Potato Markets podcast celebrates the world’s favourite tuber

A new podcast called PlanetPotato from the team that brings you World Potato Markets has gone live. “For many the potato is a comfort food  – and comfort is something we all need now, which is why the time seemed right to launch our new podcast,” said World Potato Market’s Cedric Porter. “In it, we take a look at every aspect of the potato’s impact, from the cultural to the culinary, the political to the poetic, offering listeners a lively, surprising look at one of the world’s favourite foods.”
4/23/2020

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How ethylene can help control sprouting in potato stores

Ethylene can provide potato producers with a viable sprout-control solution in a range of situations, with one large potato processing company already using an ethylene delivery system in all of its medium- to long-term stores. Adam Clarke of Farmers Weekly in the UK reports.Ethylene is a naturally occurring plant growth regulator and, when maintained at suitable levels in store, inhibits the elongation of sprouts. But like other sprout-control options, it has not gained a strong foothold in the market because of the availability, efficacy and low cost of CIPC treatments over many years.
4/23/2020

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As Covid-19 threatens global food security, fresh potatoes are back on the tables

COVID-19 is driving demand for fresh potatoes in supermarkets and grocery stores across the globe as people stock up on inexpensive food. Fresh potato has become a favorite during the lockdown, along with rice, wheat flour, bread and pasta, the International Potato Center (CIP) says in a recently published report. The world should be prepared to guarantee availability of food at affordable prices over the next 12?18 months, or even longer, to effectively overcome the effects of the pandemic. Potato has a key role to play in ensuring global food security.
4/23/2020

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Potatoes USA: ‘Potatoes show largest sales increase of all vegetables sold at retail in March’

Retail purchases of all potato products were 41 percent higher in March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year, according to figures released by industry marketing body, Potatoes USA. “Consumers give potatoes high marks for being a satisfying food that everyone enjoys and for being a great value,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Fresh potatoes have experienced a 42 percent volume increase since the beginning of March and a 67 percent year-over-year dollar sales increase as of the end of the first week of April.
4/23/2020

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Are potato plants sick or just thirsty?

A potato study utilizes irrigation system feedback to distinguish between “thirst” and disease. The three-year project is supported by the Texas Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant program. “If you were just assuming it was a healthy plant, then you would put water on it. But if it is really a diseased plant, then putting water on it is not going to help at all. Matter of fact, it may make the disease worse,” according to Charlie Rush, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist.
4/19/2020

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US fruit and vegetable industry targeted for $2.7 billion in financial relief

President Trump and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced some $2.7 billion in financial support targeted to the fruit and vegetable industry in response to the overwhelming losses from the COVID-19 emergency. “The U.S. potato industry is $4 billion annually with 60% of that total involving food service,” said Kam Quarles, CEO of FFVA. “Potato growers appreciate Secretary Perdue’s rapid action intended to stabilize family farms whose survival is threatened due to the mandated food service shutdown.
4/19/2020

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AHDB provides online Coronavirus advice for British farmers and growers

In a message from Jane King, CEO of AHDB, she says: “To our farmers, growers and supply-chain businesses. We are all living in the most extraordinary of times. To bring all the latest advice together in one place, AHDB has created specific coronavirus-related pages on its website where you can access the latest Government advice for employers and employees, links to other industry organisations, frequently asked questions and a wealth of tools and business information.
4/19/2020

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Blight fungicides that tick all the boxes for British potato growers

Controlling late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in potatoes has become much more complicated. Growers and agronomists have to think about many factors, including disease pressure, blight strains, growth stage of the crop, weather conditions, fungicide mode of action, movement of the fungicide within the plant, resistance management, and many more.
4/17/2020

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Canadian seed potato growers face COVID-19 hit

In the 2018-19 crop year, Canada exported about $38 million worth of seed potatoes. Almost all of the seed potatoes went to the United States, with a tiny share going to Uruguay and other nations. Those exports are now in jeopardy because COVID-19 has drastically cut into consumption of french fries. Potato seed growers in Canada will sell a portion of their crop this spring, but the rest could go to waste.
4/17/2020

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Idaho farm giving away 2 mil pounds of potatoes because coronavirus has hurt demand

With coronavirus severely affecting the potato supply chain, a farm in Idaho is giving awayabout 2 million pounds of potatoes so they don’t go to waste, Alisha Ebrahimji of CNN reports. Ryan Cranney, CEO of Cranney Farms in Oakley, Idaho, about 150 miles from Boise, told CNN the response has completely blown him away. “People are coming from all over the place.” Most of the people who have come for the potatoes are doing it for others.
4/17/2020

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Canadian potato industry holds conference to receive market update

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical meetings to a standstill, the board of directors of United Potato Growers of Canada held a face-to-face meeting in Ottawa to review potato stocks and discuss the market situation across the country.
4/15/2020

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Scottish potato industry eyes up potato market

Scottish potato production continues to thrive in the current crisis, but with a collapse in the food service sector, fresh market suppliers could face increased competition from the processing market who are looking for a space on the shelves. The Scottish Farmer caught up with Fraser Malcolm of the Scottish Potato Cooperative to hear how the potato market has been impacted by covid-19.
4/15/2020

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US potatoes and the CARES Act

Bob Larson of AgInfo reports that the USDA and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue have some tough decisions to make in the coming days. They have to decide how to allocate the $9.5-billion dollars earmarked for agriculture in the CARES Act relief package. US potatoes and the CARES ActNational Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles says while that’s a significant amount, it won’t be nearly enough
4/15/2020

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Belgian potato sector grows again in 2019, however corona crisis will lay into the 2020 figures

Last year, despite the difficult growing conditions as a result of the extreme heat and drought during both the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 seasons, the Belgian potato-processing industry once again improved the record for processed potatoes. Almost 5.3 million tonnes of potatoes processed into fries, mashed potato products, crisps, flakes and granules or precooked potatoes meant an increase of 3.8% compared to the figures for 2018.
4/11/2020

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Idaho potato contract terms slightly higher, but mixed amid COVID fallout

French fry processors will pay Idaho potato growers a slightly higher price this year, but will order fewer because of lower demand from restaurants and foodservice outlets closed by the COVID-19 shutdowns, Capital Press reports. The annual contract between growers and processors calls for a 2% price increase from 2019, in response to growers’ higher labor and machinery costs, said Dan Hargraves, acting executive director of the Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.
4/11/2020

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New protocols for N applications in potatoes

A new protocol for estimating the determinacy – how crops utilise fertilisers – of potato varieties will be released in the next few months and will be added to the AHDB’s Nutrient Management Guide (RB209). This should help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. From this, growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and thus fine-tune the N rates applied to crops.
4/11/2020

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Potatoes USA: 2019 a banner year for potatoes, but in 2020 exports decline with severe losses in foodservice sales

Utilization of U.S. grown potatoes increased by 3.3% in volume in 2019 compared to 2018, an increase of 1,183 million pounds. The full force of the global pandemic and its impact on food sales became very apparent in March, Potatoes USA says. Beginning with the restrictions in China and then elsewhere in Asia, U.S. exports slowed considerably. Domestically, the calls for social distancing and the restrictions on sporting events, entertainment, bars, and restaurants has led to a drastic decline in foodservice sales.
4/6/2020

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Covid-19: Prov govt of Prince Edward Island answers commonly asked farming related questions

The Agriculture and Land department of the provincial government on Prince Edward Island in Canada has published a page on its website this week dedicated to commonly asked questions that the farming community on the Island are concerned about. Answers are provided by the department on the page. Health officials on the Island recognize that essential services, including food production, will have to be maintained even under the current restrictions.
4/6/2020

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With no fries sold, Dutch farmers face billion kilo potato pile

It’s potato planting season, but many Dutch farmers are facing a mountain of a problem, with a million tons of potatoes left over from last season due to the coronavirus outbreak. Restaurants in the Netherlands, many serving popular deep fried “patat”, have been closed since mid-March, with a ban on public gatherings set to last until June 1 at least.. With their closure, the market for potatoes collapsed overnight.
4/6/2020

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A shift in market requirements for the British potato industry

In light of the coronavirus outbreak reaching the UK in January 2020 there has been significant development, ultimately changing the way the potato industry has been functioning. At first, the changes were slow but once the government started enforcing stricter guidelines things quickly changed, says AHDB in the UK in a news report end of the past week.
4/6/2020

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Potato Weekly: Standstill in Britain’s chipping market; growers trying to make planting decisions

In this week’s Potato Weekly report, issued yesterday by AHDB Potatoes, analyst Adian Wright writes that trade in the chipping market is at almost a complete standstill as most chip shops remain closed across the UK. Meanwhile, another week of good weather nationwide has meant that for many, planting of potatoes has continued at pace, but the uncertainty of how long certain markets may be unavailable is hanging over some growers who are trying to make planting decisions.
4/5/2020

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Organic humble heroes: New Zealand’s Whitfield Organics

Organic farmers are a small but growing sector in New Zealand. Considering consumer trends and the recent law changes, it’s time to “hero” the industry, writes Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand in a recent article. Not long ago, Gemma headed over to Clive, near Hastings, to meet with Hawkes Bay organic grower Brad Whitfield. Brad is a fourth generation grower who still shares some of the work with his 80 year old dad Dave.
4/5/2020

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Cavendish Farms to contract potato growers on Prince Edward Island: ‘Sell to someone else, if you can’

CBC reports this morning that potato processor Cavendish Farms has advised the Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato producers under contract to supply the company with spuds to “sell to other markets if they can,” as the company deals with a sharp drop in demand for its product in the wake of COVID-19-related restaurant closures. The company is currently in negotiations with Island potato growers through the P.E.I. Potato Board on a new contract.
4/3/2020

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Potato processing facilities shutting down in Western Europe; calls multiply for reduced planted area

In the European potato sector, the direct consequences of the Covid-19 crisis are stark and multiple, according to a report by FIWAP (Filiere wallonne de la pomme de terre), is the potato industry association of the potato growers in Wallonia, Belgium. several potato processing units are shutting down (totally or partially) in Western Europe, particularly those that supply fast-food restaurants and french fry outlets. Throughout the European northwest, calls for a reduction in the 2020 areas multiply.
4/3/2020

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British potato growers advised on wireworm damage and control

This season is the first where growers face managing wireworm without the key pesticide Mocap (ethoprophos) that has proved effective for some years in managing the costly pest. This means there will be a greater reliance on less-effective alternatives in combination with with cultural controls to keep the pest in check. Farmers Weekly looks at how growers can best manage wireworm, which in severe cases can lead to crop losses.
4/1/2020

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Increased potato demand sees Scottish supplier offer temporary jobs for anyone that needs them

A Perthshire-based veg supplier has announced a recruitment drive for temporary jobs at its factory in order to accommodate the country’s increased demand for potatoes since the coronavirus outbreak. Abernethy-based potato supplier Branston has created a range of new roles, including team leaders, machine operatives, forklift truck drivers and engineers.
4/1/2020

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Canada: How COVID-19 influenced the potato industry on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry had to scramble this month to respond to demand that changed seemingly overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. “The last two or three weeks have been anything but typical in the potato world,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. “We all saw those images online and in the news and across the country where store shelves were becoming bare, and particularly of some essential items, and potatoes was one of them.”
3/31/2020

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