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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

Report: Global frozen potato trade still down 10% compared to last year

After a good September month, with a stabilization global trade compared to last year, October 2020 proved to be another slow month for the global frozen potato trade according to the information published in the latest Annual Insight Frozen Potato Trade newsletter. Year-to-date (YTD) frozen potato global trade is still down 10% compared to YTD October 2019, despite a relatively strong recovery in the (late) summer months.
1/30/2021

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MountainKing increases fresh potato sales significantly with the use of high-graphic display bins

According to MountainKing’s research, represented by a combination of customer feedback and industry reports, fresh potato sales increase 21 percent with the use of high-graphic display sleeves depicting a particular meal. MountainKing’s display sleeves present images of various meal possibilities with the company’s different potato varieties. “Frankly, we weren’t surprised with the sales increase figures,” says Andreas Trettin, marketing director for MountainKing.
1/28/2021

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Report: Global frozen potato trade still down 10% compared to last year

After a good September month, with a stabilization global trade compared to last year, October 2020 proved to be another slow month for the global frozen potato trade according to the information published in the latest Annual Insight Frozen Potato Trade newsletter. Year-to-date (YTD) frozen potato global trade is still down 10% compared to YTD October 2019, despite a relatively strong recovery in the (late) summer months.
1/28/2021

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Drones on target to deliver nutrients

As the popularity of applying pesticides by UAVs (drones) is increasing at a pace in many countries across the globe, attention is now turning to precisely targeted applications of fertiliser along with micro- and macro nutrients. For precision farmers this really does close the virtuous circle. UAVs can scan the crop, identify and map problem areas and then return with targeted applications of pesticides or nutrients to rectify any deficiencies or treat the disease or pests.
1/28/2021

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Canada: Reduced-tillage potato production looks good on yield and quality

The amount and quality of the potatoes coming off Chad Berry’s field last fall weren’t that much different from one side to the other, but one half came with a lot less tillage. Results are in from the 2020 field-scale trial in Canada’s Manitoba province, which created a side-by-side comparison of conventional spring tillage and direct-seeded potatoes. Initial data out of this attempt to scale up reduced-tillage potato production looks good on yield and quality, which might open the door for other producers to look at the practice.
1/27/2021

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Potato desiccation and weed control: Nufarm and crop.zone launch alternative control method

Australian crop protection and specialty seed company Nufarm and German ag-tech start-up crop.zone are announcing the launch of NUCROP – Hybrid Electric Crop Protection. Through its Early Adopters Program, this sustainable alternative for weed control and potato desiccation is now available to farmers and contractors in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
1/27/2021

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CIP: ‘Smarter food’ needed to end global hunger by 2030

Ending world hunger isn’t just about producing more food, argues Barbara Wells, of the International Potato Center (CIP). Feeding the world is more than just a numbers game. If food security were simply about volume, the global population would be fed 1.5 times over. Adding a secondary staple like potato to rice-based systems in Asia, for example, can help diversify existing cropping systems and offer new nutritional and economic benefits. Not only can agricultural science and research help bolster the nutritional value of staple crops, but it can also produce hardier varieties that can withstand pests and disease.
1/27/2021

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Biological fungicide now available for use on potatoes in Canada

BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions (BASF) recently received Health Canada PMRA label expansion for Serifel. New for the 2021 growing season, Serifel is an innovative biological fungicide with multiple modes of action now available for use on a range of fruiting, leafy, root and cucurbit vegetables, including potatoes. Serifel was previously registered for use in targeting powdery mildew and botrytis in grapes.
1/26/2021

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Brexit to ‘revitalise Ireland’s seed potato sector’

Ireland’s seed potato sector looks set to get a Brexit shot in the arm. This was one of the key messages delivered courtesy of the second Spring Tillage Webinar, hosted by Teagasc last week. Driving this development will be the fact that Scottish seed can no longer be brought on to the island of Ireland, as a result of post-Brexit phytosanitary regulations imposed by Brussels.
1/26/2021

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Canada: Ontario Potato Webinars to focus on crucial production issues

  The program for the 2021 Ontario Potato Webinars on Thursday March 4th is now finalized. According to the organizer, Dr Eugenia Banks, the speakers were selected according to growers’ requests and they are all outstanding in their fields. The webinars are presented by the Ontario Potato Board and hosted by Potatoes in Canada.
1/25/2021

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UK: Argument is boiling up ahead of AHDB potato levy vote

Potato growers and traders in Britain will get the chance next month to vote for or against continuing to pay a statutory levy to AHDB for the tattie sector. The vote on the continuation of the collection of a potato sector levy by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) comes in the midst of a fiercely argued debate between those who think the levy is a waste of money and others who say it pays for the technology future on which the sector is based.
1/25/2021

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Late blight is still the biggest threat to Ireland’s potato crop

The same microbe that caused the Great Famine of 1845 continues to pose a biotic risk today. More than 175 years ago it was the root cause of Ireland’s Great Famine, a period of mass starvation and a cultural watershed during which more than a million people died and a further million left the country. While fungal, bacterial, and viral pathogens continue to shape global societies, there are few plant-specific pathogens that can be regarded as having impacted the world throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in the way Phytophthora infestans has.
1/25/2021

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NEPG announces organisational and leadership changes

The North-Western Potato Growers (NEPG) kicked 2021 off with an announcement that several organisational and leadership changes came into effect on the 1st of January. In a press release issued this week, NEPG says that it started the year without representation from Britain. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK decided not to continue its membership of NEPG in 2021. It will from now on function with four countries as members – Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France. NEPG further announced that Victor Phaff from the Netherlands stepped down as NEPG secretary at end of December 2020 and is currently replaced by Daniel Ryckmans from Belgium.
1/24/2021

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The AsiaBlight Network looks to the future

As in many potato-growing parts of the world, late blight disease stifles production and earnings. In China, the story is no different as smallholder potato farmers lose millions of tons of potato and hundreds of millions of dollars annually in potential income due to this pathogen‘s effects. To improve farming practices and technologies to overcome this challenge, the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific (CCCAP) organized the 4th annual AsiaBlight meeting in Shandong last month.
1/21/2021

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The new DOWNS CropVision: ‘A new generation optical grader for unwashed potatoes’

Last Tuesday, January 12, saw the launch of the new DOWNS CropVision – a machine that manufacturer Dubrulle DOWNS calls “the new generation optical grader for unwashed potatoes”. Dubrulle DOWNS is a manufacturer of handling and storage solutions for potatoes based in France. The DOWNS CropVision is fitted with the latest technological innovations that allows for high- speed and high-quality mechanical grading of unwashed potatoes before it enters storage – at a rate of up to 100 tons/h.
1/18/2021

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Buoyant retail sales of US potatoes reported

Record potato retail sales continued from October to December 2020, the second quarter of Potatoes USA’s marketing year 2021. The industry body says in a press release that all three months saw an increase in both dollar and volume sales, with the largest growth in December. Total store potato sales grew 9.3% in volume and 12.3% in value. Prices also increased for consumers by 2.7%, which contributed to the 12.3% increase in dollar sales.
1/18/2021

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GRIMME boosts planters with new features

GRIMME announces that several new features were added to its GL 420 and GL 430 four-row cup planters, as well as the GB 430 belt planter. These include single-row on/off switching; further protection against soil erosion with the new TerraProtect system; and an operator friendly planter-and-tractor coupling system.
1/18/2021

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The new potato range from Linwood Crops: Sold for ‘Purpose and Taste’

Due to how potato varieties can perform so differently at different times of the season, Linwood Crops in the UK says it does not sell its potato varieties by variety as such (unless requested), but rather by the ‘best available for purpose’, as well as for consistency – and ultimately taste on the day, and at whatever stage of the season, the company says. This Unique Selling Point (USP) puts Linwood’s Chef’s Taste brand in a class above any others and is receiving a fantastic amount of interest, according to Linwood.
1/17/2021

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Processing potato producers in France to receive financial aid for losses due to COVID-19

The French Ministry of Agriculture this week announced that potato producers who had to allocate processing potatoes to outlets other than for the process sector due to the pandemic will financially be compensated for losses incurred. Producers have until February 2 to apply online. The news site Terres et Territoires reports that ‘good things come to those who wait for it’. After six months of waiting, potato producers will finally be compensated “for the losses resulting from diverting unprocessed potatoes to other outlets, in the context of the health crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic”.
1/16/2021

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EU Exit Perspectives: British seed potato sector needs rapid resolution

In this week’s blog, AHDB’s head of export trade development for potatoes, Patrick Hughes, examines the issues around gaining third country listed status for seed potatoes and what the industry might do if a resolution is not reached. The news that ware potatoes have been awarded third country listed status and trade into the EU and Northern Ireland will continue is welcome. Unfortunately, the EU also confirmed they will not accept the case for a permanent change to the prohibition on seed potatoes.
1/16/2021

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PepsiCo doubles down on climate goal and pledges net-zero emissions by 2040

PepsiCo, Inc. today announced plans to more than double its science-based climate goal, targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by more than 40% by 2030. In addition, the company has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement. Specifically, PepsiCo plans to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its direct operations by 75% and its indirect value chain by 40% by 2030.
1/15/2021

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New rules for Idaho PCN field quarantines

U.S. officials have released a new plan involving methods to deal with pale cyst nematode discovered in 2006 in some southeastern Idaho potato fields. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final rule that takes effect at the end of January. It sets out years-long criteria for killing off the pests and reopening quarantined fields to production. The new rule follows a 2018 court decision in a lawsuit filed by potato farmers that found the U.S. government illegally quarantined some Idaho potato fields.
1/15/2021

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Unexpected purchases from Belgian processors shake up the potato market

The Belgian potato processing industry has set the tone for the Northwest European potato market at the start of the year after a number of Belgian factories unexpectedly purchased the product at a 5 euro base. As a result, it is said that the prices of the Belgian and French stock exchanges experienced an increase of more than 100% compared to the end of 2020. For example, Belgapom registered that all varieties stood at 5 euro (+3 euro) on Friday.
1/15/2021

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Tong pushes forward with second phase of new factory build

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Potato early dying disease in the spotlight at Canadian Potato Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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Virtual Potato Expo 2021 ready for big crowd

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

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

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

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

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

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Future Farming: You cannot hide from the satellite!

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

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

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

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Idaho farmers look ahead after roller-coaster year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The evolution of a market leading separator

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

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

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

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

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

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