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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

McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

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

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

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

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British planted potato area one of the lowest on record

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

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

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

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

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

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Potato tuber treatment – specialist advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s National Potato Day in Ireland!

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

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McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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High temperatures stall Canada’s Ontario potato harvest

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

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

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

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McCain Foods Ballarat aims high with water use reduction targets smashed

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

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

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

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

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

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VITO launches the 2020 interactive online crop map for Belgium

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

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

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

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Idaho’s famous potatoes: By the numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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Early seed potato harvest presents dry rot risk

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

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

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

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Opinion: The mysterious complexity of the common French fry

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

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Innovative Farmers programme: Deceiving potato cyst nematodes with trap crops

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

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Important potato diseases and tips to manage them in storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wageningen UR offers PhD project for potato sustainability research

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

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INTERPOM event postponed until November 2021

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

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Restrain launches unique online potato storage training course

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

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

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

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Largest ever export order leaves Scotts for Canada

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

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Europatat welcomes new Secretary General

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

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

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

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LOCKWOOD/Double L hire Larry Benzel for Columbia Basin Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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