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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

Canada’s Alberta potato growers concerned as 2020 harvest gets underway

While the 2020 potato harvest is well underway in southern Alberta, the Potato Growers of Alberta say lingering concerns about global french fry markets due to COVID-19 is putting a bit of a damper on an otherwise joyful time of year for local potato farmers. “The 2019 crop is now complete and done,” says PGA executive director Terence Hochstein. “It has been processed. But due to the COVID situation, not only here in Canada but also in the U.S. and globally, there is no guarantee what we put in the shed this year will be used completely.
8/20/2020

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Morrisons sets Haith its biggest ever challenge

Haith’s relationship with WM Morrison Produce plc dates back to the late 1990s, but it was in June 2017, that the supermarket set the company its biggest ever challenge. Realising that the layout of its Rushden factory was impacting on efficiencies, WM Morrison Produce’s head of operations Jason Kelly and managing director, Andrew Thornber arranged to meet Haith’s sales director, Duane Hill. Morrison’s wanted to modernise their Rushden facility, increase their potato packing capacity, improve product quality, grading accuracy and minimise forklift movements.
8/17/2020

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GRIMME’s RH-receiving hoppers now come with optimised intake and increased output features

For more than 20 years GRIMME has been offering powerful and crop-protecting technology for storing potatoes, carrots, onions and other vegetables and has set the standard with electro-hydraulic drives. For the 2020 season, the RH-receiving hoppers series has been extensively revised and equipped with new practical features.
8/17/2020

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Canada: High incidence of second growth of Ontario’s fresh market potatoes

Harvest of Ontario’s fresh market potatoes continues, but not without some heat-related issues, according to Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board. Banks relays that one Simcoe grower says the incidence of second growth and misshaped tubers is high. This observation is also echoed by other fresh-market growers in Ontario. The heat wave earlier this summer disrupted the physiology of potato plants, resulting in knobs, sprouts and off-shaped tubers.
8/17/2020

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Global potato statistics: Regional production data

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains a databasis on many different crops, named FAOSTAT. It provides free access to food and agriculture data for over 245 countries and territories.I extracted potato production data from FAOSTAT for countries located in four broad regions in the world (based on FAO’s classification criteria), and present the data in the tables below. The data pertains to countries located in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.
8/17/2020

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Videos: The magic of modern potato planting and harvesting equipment in North America

If you care to watch the few short YouTube videos on this page of Potato News Today, I believe you will agree that modern day potato planting and harvesting machines used by some of North America’s leading farming operations are second to none… The machines featured here were designed and manufactured by Spudnik Equipment Company. All “iron” lovers and farmers alike – enjoy…
8/17/2020

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Agrico East Africa goes digital – and Kenyan potato farmers love it…

The Agrico East Africa team was working hard the past few months to produce video tutorials on ‘Profitable Potato Farming in Kenya’. They did this in a well-rewarded effort to continue their work of rendering agronomic support to smallholder farmers in Kenya, despite the debilitating COVID-19 restrictions that was imposed on Kenyan citizens during the pandemic. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed.
8/14/2020

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COVID-19 impact: ‘Potatoes in Practice’ a sorely missed event

The UK’s largest field-based potato event – Potatoes in Practice – is missing from this year’s calendar and will be sorely missed by growers, agronomists, researchers, and manufacturers, who would come together to discuss the direction of the industry for the months ahead. Potatoes in Practice has grown arms and legs since it began over three decades ago, writes Claire Taylor for The Scottish Farmer. During pre-COVID times, organizers of the event was in the habit of welcoming between 650 – 800 visitors yearly to its site in Balruddery in Scotland.
8/14/2020

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Trending: Potato prices are rising in the US

Potato prices are rising as last year’s crop finishes from storage and the new crop gets higher volume into the pipeline. The summer is a contrast to 10 weeks ago when the potato market was reeling from the effects of the pandemic, which saw foodservice demand drop and prices cut in half from March to May, according to a report published by Blue Book Services. Compared to the last two years, the volume for this period is very similar, said Raul Lopez, agronomist and vice president of Agtools Inc.
8/14/2020

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Dutch group creates low carb french fry which is healthier than a traditional fry

Leon de Winter wasn’t impressed when his doctor told him he couldn’t eat french fries anymore. The Dutch writer had been diagnosed with diabetes and was put on a strict new diet — and french fries weren’t included. The writer quickly decided he would find low carb fries, however his internet searches turned up zilch. That didn’t deter de Winter and he enlisted his cousin León Eisman, a cardiac doctor, for help, writes Ashley Robinson in an article published by Spud Smart magazine.
8/14/2020

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McCrum just opened North America’s newest fry processing plant

Growing potatoes in northern Maine is nothing new to the McCrum family. However, opening North America’s newest fry processing plant during COVID-19 was something the McCrum family was not expecting when they started planning for their expansion in early 2019. Now with six generations of farming in Aroostook County in Maine to their name, the McCrums started processing their own potatoes in Belfast, Maine, in 2004 after purchasing Penobscot Frozen Foods. This acquisition made them one of the largest suppliers of specialty potato products in North America. As the business grew, opening a fry plant was the natural next step.
8/14/2020

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.
8/10/2020

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CIP’s 2019 annual report celebrates a year of discovery, innovation and impact

Technology to accelerate potato breeding in Lima… state of the art tools to diagnose crop diseases in the fields of Uganda… and fresh hearty varieties to boost incomes for smallholder farmers in India. These are just a few of the accomplishments of the International Potato Center (CIP) in 2019, which is commemorating those feats, and others, in its annual report, released this week. The annual report presents compelling snapshots of CIP’s work with 161 partners in 19 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, telling stories about relief work with sweetpotato in Mozambique and simple storage innovations that are putting more income in the pockets of Ethiopian farmers.
8/10/2020

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World Potato Congress Inc Industry Award Nominations now open

President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), Mr. Romain Cools, Belgium and the Chairman of the WPC Industry Awards Committee, Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin, USA are pleased to announce that nominations are now being called for the 2021 World Potato Congress Industry Awards. The World Potato Congress Industry Awards is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. These awards recognize a lifetime of contributions to the potato industry. Prominent past Industry Award recipients include: Mr. J.R. Simplot and Mr. Harrison McCain.
8/10/2020

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AVR’s foldable ridger meets demand for mechanical weed control

Mechanical weed control is more and more becoming an essential part of farmers cultivation practices, and is no longer limited to biological cultivation only. For years now, AVR has been successfully designing and selling its combination ridging machine, which consists of a base chassis with a characteristic ‘weight transfer’ system, to which different elements can be added. This way the machine can be used as a speed ridger, hoe-rake ridger or an ‘eco ridger’. AVR introduces a foldable version to be able to remove weeds from even more ridges in one working pass.
8/10/2020

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Australian family farm has three generations of history with McCain

Callum Murphy is a Ballarat potato grower whose family’s relationship with McCain Foods Ballarat spans three generations. Callum, his father, and his grandfather have worked with McCain for 40 years to streamline production and create a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Callum Murphy of AP Murphy and Sons in Dunstown is proud to uphold his family’s relationship with McCain Ballarat for the third consecutive generation. “The relationship has been solid and it’s reliable to work with McCain. We work with them each year to improve output,” Callum says.
8/10/2020

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New herbicide approved for control of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops in New Zealand

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority for use in New Zealand, subject to certain conditions. Boxer Gold is intended to be used as a herbicide for the treatment of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops. Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers.
8/10/2020

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UK late blight fungicide trials: ‘No significant decline in sensitivity found’

Results from blight fungicide testing show no significant decline in sensitivity according to research supported by AHDB. Data taken from trials carried out throughout 2019 means no changes in recommendations for blight control issued by the Fungicide Resistance Action Group (FRAG). Research leader David Cooke said: “…this data does not show any immediate cause for concern for potato growers that newer blight genotypes are causing problems for fungicide programmes.
8/10/2020

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Idaho Farm Bureau Federation: Revisions to farm relief program could help some potato growers

The recent revisions that USDA made to its coronavirus farm relief program are expected to provide some relief to potato farmers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Sean Ellis reports for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. The federal CFAP program, which was announced April 17, will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID. The initial parameters of the program meant Idaho spud farmers, as well as most wheat and barley growers, would have received little if any of the funds.
8/6/2020

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Market upturn in Canada means Cavendish deal now off the table

An agreement reached earlier this spring that would have seen Cavendish Farms receive $4.7 million from Prince Edward Island taxpayers to help store and transport processing potatoes will not be activated due to an uptake in restaurant sales. When the PEI deal was finalized in March, there were approximately 100 million pounds of processing potatoes in storage. Figures released by United Potato Growers of Canada in mid-July showed that figure had been reduced to 3,725 hundredweight (417,000 pounds).
8/6/2020

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Managing waste potato piles

Outgrade potato piles can be a source of blight. In this article AHDB specialists in the UK are discussing blight control methods in outgrade and waste piles as well as best practice and tips for tackling this issue. Blight control does not start in the crop. It starts much earlier. Left uncontrolled, outgrade and waste piles act as a reservoir for blight infection. With ever changing genotypes within the blight populations, outgrade piles and volunteers can be an unwanted host for blight and a source of infection for commercial crops.
8/6/2020

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Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko: Three identities, one brand

Three well-known companies in the potato industry, three identities, one brand. Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko have been strategic partners for decades. In a press release, the companies say: “We believe in the success of partnerships, with our combined teams we share our know-how. This collaboration is unique and ensures that we can serve the entire world market with state-of-the-art potato processing lines. With production facilities in the Netherlands and the US, we are able to deliver the same quality of innovative equipment to virtually any location.
8/5/2020

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McCain kept Smithton plant in Tasmania running – and commissioned and delivered plant upgrade

In a press release issued today, the company says completing construction and commissioning a $37 million plant upgrade, managing staff to continue operations in the middle of Tasmania’s COVID-19 hotspot, and navigating ever-changing shift profiles – it’s been a challenging six months for McCain Foods’ Smithton plant. As one of the region’s largest employers, McCain Foods has officially “come out on the other side” with the site’s production recently returning to a full seven-day roster.
8/5/2020

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Registration for the World Potato Congress 2021 in Dublin, Ireland is now open

The World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to announce that the registration for the WPC 2021 to be held in Dublin, Ireland from May 31 to June 3, 2021 is now open. Individuals, accompanying persons and students can now register for the 2021 congress and view the Programme, Social Events & Tours offered and Sponsors & Exhibitors opportunities available. The registration process also provides accommodation options which can be booked as part of the congress registration. The early bird fee for registration deadline is January 31, 2021.
8/5/2020

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Automation made easy: Greentronic’s RiteWeight product now comes with enhanced features

Can you use an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar? According to Bill Menkveld at Ontario, Canada-based Greentronics, the company offers a solution. Greentronics recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. These enhanced features were developed to assist potato growers with an easy process to automate their harvest and storage data recording.
7/24/2020

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This week’s issue of Spud Scoop published

This week’s issue of Spud Scoop was published earlier today. Spud Scoop is a growing season newsletter compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. In the introduction, Dr Andy Robinson, Extension Potato Agronomist at NSDU and the University of Minnesota, says it’s been a week of warming temperatures and more rainfall in many areas. In general, the potato crop seems to be progressing well.
7/24/2020

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The ‘natural dormancy’ factor: Independent data now available

A number of factors contribute to effective potato sprout suppression and, where possible, strategies should make the best use of all of them. One such factor is dormancy, say specialists at AHDB’s at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research unit. The current data on varietal dormancy is of variable quality and AHDB has commissioned a trial to generate relative dormancy data from a range of varieties representative of the different end markets for potatoes.
7/24/2020

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Latest Canadian potato crop progress report released

The United Potato Growers (UPGC) Board met this week to discuss crop growing conditions, markets, and analysis of the recent potato acreage from Statistics Canada. In a report issued today, UPGC General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac provides a snapshot of crop progress across the country.
7/24/2020

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McCain Foods to build three Farms of the Future to showcase regenerative farming practices

McCain Foods announced last week a commitment to improving the sustainability of our products, including the iconic French Fry, with a key focus on creating a more sustainable approach to potato farming. Key to this commitment is building three Farms of the Future to showcase how regenerative farming practices and the latest agricultural technology and innovations, can be implemented at scale.
7/21/2020

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How spearmint oil fits into potato sprout control programmes

Spearmint oil has the potential to play a more prominent role in sprout control programmes post-CIPC, but users must prepare stores adequately to ensure success, reports Adam Clarke for Farmers Weekly in the UK. Marketed by Kent-based Juno Plant Protection, Biox-M – a 100% spearmint oil product applied as a hot fog – made it to the UK in 2012. One early adopter was fresh potato producer and packer Branston.
7/21/2020

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Ukraine plans to adopt a potato development program

The Government of Ukraine plans to adopt a potato development program by the end of 2020. Among the expected effects are an increase in the area under production by 40 thousand ha, creation of at least 10 thousand additional jobs, an increase in tax revenues to the budget by UAH 52 million annually.
7/21/2020

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Podcast: ‘Focusing on the Future by Investing in Agronomy Research’

A new podcast by Eye on Potatoes is now available for listening. At Potato Expo 2020, Eye on Potatoes sat down with some of the industry’s leading researchers and specialists for a discussion on the current research and where future efforts need to focus. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles calls in to provide an update on USDA’s decision to revise the payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
7/21/2020

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Trending: Potatoes and a strong immune system

Maintaining a strong immune system and living a healthy lifestyle has been trending since before the shelter-in-place began. A March 10 Seattle Times article, Can you Boost your Immunity with Food?, suggests consumers choose immune-supporting nutrients such as Vitamin C and a plant-based diet. Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Folate and can help restore electrolyte balance because they have a high level of potassium in addition to sodium – two important electrolytes.
7/16/2020

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Wyma management growth shows confidence in future

Wyma Solutions announced today the appointment of Danny Burns as Global After Sales Manager. This appointment follows several years of sustained growth and further recognition by Wyma of the ever-growing importance of maintaining strong after sales and operational relationships with customers. The appointment of a dedicated After Sales Manager position is a strong indication of Wyma’s confidence in the current market as well as their continued focus on delivering excellent customer care and ongoing support.
7/12/2020

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NPC welcomes revised USDA coronavirus aid payment rates, presses for additional increase

The National Potato Council released a statement Thursday, July 9, after an announcement by USDA that it is issuing revised payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which previously prevented potato growers from receiving equitable access to relief funds. “The potato industry appreciates the rapid work of USDA in considering these changes and making potatoes eligible for all three categories of payments. We believe the economic justification submitted by the industry strongly supports the meaningful inclusion of potatoes in this relief program, given the devastation faced by the industry due to the government-mandated food service shutdown,” said Britt Raybould, NPC President.
7/12/2020

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Aldi and Puffin Produce launch new potato line

Puffin Produce has announced a partnership with Aldi to stock its exclusive range of local Pembrokeshire Early potatoes in stores across Wales. The Haverfordwest business worked with Aldi to roll out a new line of the potato variety as part of the supermarket’s award-winning Specially Selected range from June. Puffin Produce expects to supply around 200,000 packs of the new range to Aldi’s Welsh stores over the next two months.
7/12/2020

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Latest PlanetPotato podcast: Off to Idaho, and learning why a potato makes an ideal block printer

World Potato Markets travels to Idaho and tries its hand at potato printing in the latest episode of its PlanetPotato podcast. Presenters Anna Lambert and Cedric Porter discuss why Idaho established as the US’s largest potato state with Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. Printer Molly Mahon describes why a potato makes an ideal block printer for making patterned paper and fabric.
7/12/2020

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Poor potato harvest hits McCain UK’s profits

Profits more than halved at frozen foods specialist McCain UK last year as “one of the worst potato harvests in 40 years” hit its bottom line. Newly filed accounts for the year to 30 June 2019 show McCain’s operating profits fell 63% to £21.3m from £57.6m a year earlier. It said it maintained a value share of 54% and a volume share of 42% of the UK frozen potato category, according to IRI data for the 12 weeks to 20 June 2020.
7/11/2020

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Potatoes NZ: ‘Cheap European frozen potato products are being dumped on New Zealand market’

Potatoes NZ says in a press release issued today that it has submitted an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) for anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products originating in Belgium and the Netherlands. The application is based on the real threat of material injury to the New Zealand potato industry. The threat is said to be a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, the organization says.
7/11/2020

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The cost of potato haulm desiccation without diquat

According to AHDB in the UK, Spotlight and/or Gozai straights or combinations, along with flailing, can give virtually as quick desiccation as diquat. This was shown in trials and demonstrations across AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm network to evaluate potential replacements have shown. But at what cost? Dr Mark Stalham, Head of NIAB CUF who led the trials, reveals the results, and Mark Topliff from AHDB’s Farm Economics team crunches the numbers.
7/11/2020

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Newly launched next generation soil test helps growers to manage and improve soil health

A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. recently announced the launch of VitTellus Bio, a new soil health test for the agriculture industry that quantifies soil microbial populations which support improved soil health and greater crop productivity. A&L says in a news release that VitTellus Bio is a new analysis which complements the VitTellus Soil Health test, a diagnostic used to make more informed decisions on application of nutrients, managing and improving soil health.
7/11/2020

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The sad story of US potatoes being destroyed during the coronavirus pandemic…

Many potato growers – especially in the Northwest of the US – suffered an unprecedented and terrible catastrophe this year when the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry… It is sad, it is nearly unthinkable – but it is real… Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those hard working potato growers…
7/5/2020

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UK: New blight forecasting app launched

British potato growers can now access the latest blight forecasting information with launch of a new simple to use smartphone app by UPL UK & Ireland. The UPL Blight Forecast App, displays Hutton Period and Smith Period data, alongside additional layers of information such as leaf wetness and spray conditions. Once downloaded, users can identify and save multiple field locations by adding a pin in a satellite map.
7/5/2020

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Second growth: A physiological potato problem induced by heat and drought

Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.
7/5/2020

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Pandemic impact: Why American potato farmers are stuck with billions of pounds of potatoes

When COVID-19 closed down restaurants and hotels, potatoes headed toward food service had nowhere to go. It had a chain effect down to processors and growers, trapping 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes in the supply chain. While farmers across Idaho and Montana have given away millions of potatoes, they’ve also been forced to destroy millions more. Business Insider visited a potato seed farm in Sheridan, Montana, to understand the emotional and financial impact this has had on farmers Peggy and Bill Buyan.
7/2/2020

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The Netherlands: Ware potato acres down, seed potato area up this season

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 1.8 thousand hectares to 77 thousand hectares (-2.3 percent), according to a report issued this week by Statistics Netherlands. According to information published in the report, areas planted for seed and starch potato use have increased slightly over the past twelve months; both by approximately 1 percent. The share of seed potatoes in the total potato area has continued to rise slightly again over the past year.
7/2/2020

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Analysis: Changing consumer trends in Britain

Farmers and the wider food supply chain are used to responding to changing consumer requirements. However, it is hard to recall a time when the consumer landscape changed quite as dramatically as over these last three months of lockdown. AHDB has been following these changes closely, so whether considering shopping behaviour or the rise of in-home eating, AHDB has been reporting on the key issues which affect the demand for sectors’ products. Within this article, David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, summarises some of the key factors which shape consumer demand.
7/2/2020

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UPGI: Idaho potato crop ‘second lowest since 1998, harvest expected to be down more than 6 million hundredweight’

In a June 30 report published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) it is estimated Idaho planted 300,000 acres this season, down by 10,000 acres from the prior year. The United Potato Growers of Idaho estimated a deeper cut in Idaho’s planted potato acreage, at 295,790 acres. “It will be the second lowest acreage since 1998. That’s good news,” said Rick Shawver, CEO of UPGI. Based on Idaho’s average potato yield, the acreage reduction could reduce the state’s harvest by more than 6 million hundredweight of spuds, according to Dan Hargraves, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.
7/2/2020

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McCain brings ‘Potato Smiles’ back to Australia – as ‘Emotibites’

Shoppers are racing to get their hands on McCain’s classic Potato Smiles after the nostalgic snack disappeared from Australian supermarket shelves five years ago. Thousands of Australians have been rallying for years to bring back the iconic childhood treat after it was discontinued in 2015. ‘For many Australians, these are something they’ve looked back on fondly as part of their childhood. After years of build-up, it’s heartening to know that they’re meeting expectations,’ McCain Foods marketing manager ANZ Karen Ramsay said.
6/29/2020

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AHDB: Dealing with aphids in Britain during 2020 and beyond

The management of aphids, particularly those that transmit viruses, has been a focus of concern for potato growers in recent seasons in Britain. AHDB (virtually) sat down with Crop Protection Senior Scientist for Pests, Dr Sue Cowgill, to talk monitoring, testing and research projects that will help growers manage the issue.
6/29/2020

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