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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

Croatia sees major increase in potato imports, especially seed potatoes

During the first three months of 2020 Croatia imported 16,064 tonnes of potato seed, including new and mature table potatoes – all of which worth €8.03 million, almost half of the total value of potatoes imported in 2019, according to an analysis by the Smarter Consultancy company. Smarter Consultancy believes that it is necessary to consolidate farmland devoted to potato cultivation in Croatia, and at the same time increase yields per hectare – and furthermore give the potato crop the status of a special vegetable so as to create possibilities to apply for EU funding.
6/29/2020

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.
6/27/2020

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Japanese potato chip giant Calbee extends telework indefinitely

Calbee Inc., a leading Japanese producer of potato chips and other snack foods, will extend teleworking indefinitely for the 20 percent of its workforce in the country currently doing so. The company announced the decision June 25 after noticing its operational efficiency had significantly improved since the 800 or so Calbee employees at its head office and around the country began teleworking in late March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
6/27/2020

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Scouting resources available for Canadian potato growers and scouts

Canadian growers and scouts can now download three scouting resources from the Potatoes in Canada website that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada hosted a webinar series with Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.
6/27/2020

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Morrisons’ ‘Wonky’ range a saving grace for British potato grower during lockdown

Specialist potato grower Scutt Farming was selling 100 per cent of its 152-hectare (375-acre) potato crop to fish and chip shops when lockdown began, forcing the East Yorkshire family business to urgently find a new market. The business’ potatoes found a home as part of Morrisons ‘Wonky’ range. “The Wonky range shows the public is happy to buy potatoes which are not necessarily as visually perfect as the classic pre-packed sample,” says Mr Scutt.
6/27/2020

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Staying on top of late blight: Canadian potato industry put spore trapping technology to work

On June 18 a crop consultant in Alberta told Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, that spore traps in the province had caught late blight spores. Ontario is going through a wave of hot and dry weather, and out west in Alberta, it’s the opposite with cooler, wet weather. In response to the discovery, of late blight in 2014, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) supported a spore-trapping project. In Ontario, Eugenia Banks lead a two-year Ontario Potato Board project evaluating one type of spore trapping technology in order to help growers improve late blight management with good results.
6/25/2020

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US potato farmers reeling from 21% price decline

The COVID-19 pandemic caused U.S. potato prices to drop by about 21% from Jan. 15 through April 15, according to the industry’s surveys of potato growers and processors in major potato production areas. The estimate was included in a June 22 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue signed by 19 U.S. potato growing organizations, requesting that potatoes be made eligible for the highest payment classification under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
6/25/2020

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Latest Canadian Crop Report: Good potential, but hard work needed to clean up old crop later than normal

The Crop Transition Conference has been held for the past 12 years in Minneapolis. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was held virtually, says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). In conclusion it is said that “The crop has good potential, but we are going to need to work hard, to clean up the old crop at a later than normal date, as the new crop transitions in on schedule.”
6/23/2020

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Investigative Report: Potato production in Egypt – ‘Export demands increase interest in bio-pesticides’

GROPRO Corp. a US based producer and supplier of biological crop protection products, has recently completed a investigative agricultural tour of Egypt. According to the group of specialists from GROPRO, “We believe that bio crop protection products will play an important role in the near future to assist in developing the Egyptian potato industry – not only to improve the efficiency of crop production in general, but for farmers to attain better quality products and higher yields.” The GROPRO team says they are excited to see how GROPRO products can help in solving pest and disease issues in the Egyptian agri environment, and are ready to provide intensive educational support to local distributors and of course also producers.
6/23/2020

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Haith delivers huge improvements for Canada’s Little Potato Company

The Little Potato Company has seen some significant increases in throughput and quality in the eighteen months since Haith helped to modernise the company’s packing facility in Edmonton, Alberta. The company faced a troubled in-feed system for its wash line. The Little Potato Company was relying on a pair of old hydraulic tippers. Haith recommended replacing those two machines with just one Haith Rota-Tip SE. They have since seen their throughput double from ten tonnes to 20 tonnes per hour.
6/23/2020

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Eye on Potatoes Podcast: LEAF and developing tomorrow’s leaders

Joining the NPC’s Eye on Potatoes podcast is Shelley Olsen of LJ Olsen, Inc. in Othello, Wash., and Chair of Potato LEAF to talk about how the industry is coming together to grow leaders who will thrive in the competitive global marketplace of the future. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles provides an update on NPC’s efforts to support growers as the nation works to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
6/23/2020

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Trending: Sustainable produce packaging – EarthFresh launches new biobased mesh packaging

With consumer demand rising for environmentally responsible and sustainable products, Ontario based EarthFresh announced today that the company has updated their packaging with new biobased material. These new mesh packs are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made with CLAF® Biobased Fabric™. The mesh bags are made with renewable raw materials derived from sugarcane. These packages are 96% bio-based and 100% recyclable.
6/23/2020

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Were lessons learned? The Ukrainian potato season 2020/21 gathering pace

Growers in the southern potato producing region of the Ukraine are reportedly well underway to harvest the early potato crop – and supplies are starting to show up in the Ukrainian fresh produce markets. After a difficult and most unprecedented 2019/20 season, market analysts at Fruit-inform have hope that the current season will be better.Results from Fruit-Inform’s survey of Ukrainian potato farmers indicate that the supply of potatoes may grow by at least 5% in 2020. It is unlikely that prices will again set new records in the Ukrainian marketplace.
6/23/2020

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New Zealand potato industry opposes potential dumping from Europe

Makikihi Fries in New Zealand is bracing for impact as manager Stewart Hydes pleads with Government, on behalf of the potato industry, to stop a surplus of European product being dumped in New Zealand, according to a report published by Otago Daily Times. The country’s $1billion-dollar potato industry is at threat of an influx from Europe, which is facing an officially declared 2.6million-tonne surplus of fries created by temporary food service closures during Covid-19 lockdown. Mr Hydes said dumping European surplus had the potential to be a major problem.
6/19/2020

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EarthFresh’s Dan Martin discusses potato market and retail opportunities

EarthFresh has been making waves in the supplier world since its inception in 1963. Its organic varieties have helped catapult it to a leading position in the organic potato market in North America. To learn more about this dynamic company, Anne Allen of AndNowUKnow spoke with Dan Martin, Chief Operating Officer. ”We are always looking to improve our sustainability programs, so EarthFresh organic potatoes are packed in recyclable bags with light blocking technology that prolongs shelf and minimizes food waste,” Dan began.
6/19/2020

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‘Coronavirus a recipe for disaster for German potatoes’

German demand for potatoes and potato products has collapsed during the coronavirus crisis, meaning the vegetable is being used as animal feed or for making biogas instead, an industry body said on Tuesday. There had been a “catastrophic reduction in sales” of frozen, chilled and dry potato products, the German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) said. Germany is the biggest producer of potatoes in the European Union and a huge consumer.
6/19/2020

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IFA: Retail and early markets remain strong; drought still a concern across Europe

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) reports in its weekly potato update that demand at retail level remains strong, given that the majority of people are still working from home. Recently released figures show potato area similar to 2020. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly below 2019. The UK and Europe have gotten some rainfall in the past week. However, like in Ireland there is considerable variation on amounts in different areas.
6/19/2020

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Threat of cheap imports: Ballarat workers rally for local potato processing jobs

Union delegates are demanding immediate action from the federal government to protect regional jobs from the threat of cheap imports. Alex Ford reports for The Courier. Rallying at the Ballarat McCain processing plant on Friday morning with workers, McCain representatives, and federal Ballarat MP Catherine King, AMWU state secretary Tony Mavromatis said federal authorities needed to take the issue seriously before the market was flooded with European products.
6/8/2020

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Belgapom Chief: ‘A new lockdown could be devastating for the industry!’

In an exclusive interview with Dan Orehov, Edtor of Potato Business, Secretary General of Belgapom, Romain Cools, talked about the current situation of potato consumption and trade in Belgium, on the background of the pandemic. Orehov and Cools also discussed the future of the Belgian potato, from farm to fork and the impact that foodservice industry closure has had so far on the overall potato business.
6/8/2020

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Canadian potatoes are spoiling due to slow federal government response, says grower association

In a news release issued by Potatoes New Brunswick, the association says delays rolling out a COVID-19-related support program for Canadian agriculture may spell doom for potato farmers. While the government delays, millions of pounds of potatoes are sitting in storage and starting to rot, Potatoes New Brunswick says in its release. Early last month, the government announced a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.
6/7/2020

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A lesson in compassion: In Georgia, women potato farmers show solidarity and empathy amid COVID-19

In early May, women from the village of Maradisi, in southeast Georgia in the Caucasus, gained wide renown. Naira Paksadze’s story went viral on social networks and in the media. Together with other active women, Naira hoed her neighbour’s potato field in order to save the family’s potato harvest. At the time, every member of the family was being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, while weeds were growing wild throughout their potato field – their only source of income.
6/7/2020

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The passing of potato specialist, Warren Henninger

Ag World Support Systems Founder and Chairman Warren Henninger has died on Saturday, May 23. Henninger was a longtime resident of Moses Lake, WA, He died from an accident while doing what he loved, working in his yard. According to Spudman magazine, Chris Voigt,  longtime head of the Washington State Potato Commission, Henninger was “the type of human being that we should all aspire to be. …Warren was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met,” Voigt said. Ag World Support Systems was founded by Warren Henninger in 1997 after spending 21 years with a potato processing company according to the Ag World website.
6/7/2020

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Could the global loss of food service pressure the UK’s potato processing market?

The release of the end-March stocks estimate did enable the UK domestic potato market to encapsulate the partial impact that the coronavirus is having on the potato industry. However, it does not allow us to paint the whole picture as this marketing year is finishing up and the next season is coming up. As retail took a surge in demand, which has since subsided finding its equilibrium to on-year average. The processing sectors linked to food services, in large, have taken a significant hit as mobility has diminished due to the coronavirus impact.
6/7/2020

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Potato protest in Australia highlights the possible dumping of cheap European spuds

On Tasmanian Country Hour with Tony Briscoe: The protest was outside the McCain processing plant in Smithton and involved farmers and workers in the potato industry along with politicians. The event was organised as the threat of European potatoes being dumped in Australia remains a possibility because of COVID-19. The protest was told the potato industry in Tasmania has already been hit hard this year with a wet harvest and many spuds are still in the ground.
6/7/2020

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The human face of a tragic time: She was a 102-year-old potato farmer born during the Spanish flu pandemic. She was killed by COVID-19

Frances Jordan Banks, a 102-year-old World War II Army nurse who served in India and spent many years on an Aroostook County potato farm, lived a life that was book-ended by pandemics. The Cape Elizabeth native was born during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and died a few days ago of COVID-19. Banks was a nurse, but her family also knew her as a teacher “of all things” and relied on her guidance and wisdom.
6/4/2020

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The global impact of coronavirus on potato production: Examples and lessons learnt

One country that has routinely been in the news for their impressive handling of the outbreak is South Korea. In Canada, the closure of the hospitality sector in light of the coronavirus caused a significant threat to potato growers. The potato growers in the USA too have faced significant challenges with accessing markets and oversupply. This issue of excess potatoes is impacting supply chains across Europe too. Belgium is famous the world over for its fries and UNESCO list them as a Cultural Treasure. Given the closure of restaurants, including the ubiquitous fish n’ chip shops of most high streets, potato growers across the UK are struggling to sell their crop.
6/4/2020

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The Packer: How the US produce industry responds to the pandemic

With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.
6/4/2020

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Producer organizations in Alberta connect potato growers and cattle ranchers

Recently, some of Alberta’s ag industry leaders thought of an option to assist two producer groups hard hit by the effects of COVID-19. Many Alberta potato growers have a surplus of their crop as a result of the shutdown of restaurants and other businesses that use large quantities of potatoes. Alberta beef producers faced delays getting their cattle to processing plants because of shutdowns in late April.
5/30/2020

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Ireland imported 72,000 tonnes of spuds

The importation of thousands of tonnes of potatoes and other foods worth billions of euro highlights the need for a greater focus on food sustainability by the next Government according to a Laois-Offaly TD. According to the CSO, Ireland imported 72,000 tonnes of potatoes, 47,000 tonnes of onions, 29,000 tonnes of tomatoes, 23,000 tonnes of cabbage and 15,000 tonnes of lettuce in 2017.
5/30/2020

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Eye on Potatoes Podcast: In discussion with Congressman Mike Simpson and NPC CEO Kam Quarles about COVID-19

Congressman Mike Simpson and the entire Idaho Congressional delegation are championing policy solutions to support the nation’s struggling potato industry. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles calls in from D.C. to discuss the $300 million in additional potato purchases the industry needs to help bring supply and demand back into balance.
5/30/2020

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Peru cements its position among top 15 potato producers in the world

Within the framework of the National Potato Day, which takes place May 30, Peru has consolidated its position among the top 15 producers of this Andean tuber in the world, given the active participation of over 700,000 small producers, who cultivate potatoes in 19 regions across the country. The results of the Andean tuber production confirm the position of Peru as the 14th world producer of potatoes.
5/30/2020

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Australian potato farmers outraged as $1billion COVID-19 cash splash is given to European colleagues

Australian potato farmers are outraged to discover a $1billion COVID-19 assistance package given to European growers could result in a flood of French fries into the market from overseas.   An industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG, said an influx of about 2.6million tonnes of excess potatoes into Australia would lock farmers out of the fast-food industry. 
5/30/2020

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US potato exports begin to slow

The world-wide coronavirus pandemic is impacting U.S. potato exports, as seen in the figures for March, according to Potatoes USA. In a press release issued today, the organization says U.S. exports of frozen potato products were off 12% in March 2020 compared to 2019. Exports of dehydrated potatoes were off 16%, and fresh were off 13% from the previous year. However, due to a strong first eight months of the July 2019 – June 2020 marketing year, the July 2019 – March 2020 figures are still positive.
5/20/2020

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Better potatoes post-harvest: Identifying diseases and engaging good management techniques

When the storage doors open and farmers look at their cured potatoes, they are hoping for high-quality spuds that will garner a fair price. Unfortunately, potatoes can be sneaky. Some don’t reveal problems until harvest, or worse, when they are already in storage. Determining which disease is present allows for better management and application of appropriate controls. However, treatments in potatoes vary and there are no silver bullets. Potato diseases work together to exacerbate each other, and pests help to increase disease risk.
5/20/2020

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Scottish potato producer looking for solutions for the seed industry

Seed potato producer, Jim Reid, from Milton of Mathers farm, St Cyrus, near Montrose, joined AHDB’s strategic farm network as the new host SPot farmer in Scotland at the start of the year, according to a report released by AHDB. At Milton of Mathers farm, multiple studies on desiccation have been carried out over the last nine years. As part of the desiccation trials that will be carried out at the farm, different fertilising regimes will be compared as well as the impact of cultivation.
5/19/2020

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The potato portal: New buyer and grower ‘match-making’ website goes live

AHDB in the UK has launched a new portal to help put potato growers and wholesale buyers in touch with each other. The portal will act as a ‘match-making’ site for growers and merchants to find each other, with any trade taking place directly between them. Growers can view any requests on the portal from merchants and/or post available stocks of potatoes.
5/19/2020

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UK: Elveden estate gets in Tuberzone precision to manage potato crops

One of Britain’s biggest arable farming operations will be the first commercial company to roll out the latest precision potato technology developed by Angus-based SoilEssentials. One of Britain’s biggest arable farming operations will be the first commercial company to roll out the latest precision potato technology developed by Angus-based SoilEssentials.
5/19/2020

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Why Wisconsin potato farmers could be in trouble

As of now, potato farmers in Wisconsin haven’t been hit too bad by the coronavirus. They’re going to be hit this Fall, according to a report by WHBL Radio. The problem for Wisconsin growers is that a lot of the state’s potatoes have gone to the fresh produce side of the industry. That’s totally fine for now, but once Fall hits and you have the potatoes from the Midwest and the ones coming from the Western states, it’s going to be an issue.
5/19/2020

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Stuck in storage: Canadian processing potato holdings above three-year average

The amount of potatoes in storage for Canada’s processing sector is 4.2 per cent above the three-year average as of May 1, 2020, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada’s (UPGC) latest update. The UPGC attributes the higher numbers to the COVID-19 pandemic which has “had a dramatic effect on french fry sales as sit-down portions of quick service and fast casual restaurants were closed.” The Potato Growers of Alberta estimates about $60 to $70 million worth of processing potatoes are still in storage.
5/15/2020

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Dutch processing potatoes sold on the Ukrainian fresh market

The Netherlands has begun supplying potatoes, originally intended for processing, to the Ukraine, according to a report published by the Russian based potato news website, Potato System. Due to the closure of restaurants, cafes and hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the production of french fries has effectively stalled for the time being in the Netherlands and Belgium. Market analysts estimate the glut of processing potatoes to be around 2 million tons.
5/15/2020

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Frost causes severe damage to early potato crops in Ireland

Sub-zero conditions have caused severe damage to potato haulms in some areas around Ireland. Nighttime temperatures this week dipped to -2.5°C in some areas, resulting in localised ground frost. Temperatures in Katesbridge, Northern Ireland, reached -6°C on 13 May. Reports came through on Friday morning from growers around the country of damage to early and early-main crop potatoes. Damage to emerged foliage ranges from mild to severe. Crops planted on low-lying land appear to have been worst affected.
5/15/2020

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Leading the battle against nematodes

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

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

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

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Lamb Weston returns part of 2019 crop to growers

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

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

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

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Hard choices: Farm leaders say crop dumping is last resort

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

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

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

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US potato farmers reduce planting as demand plummets during pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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