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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

Europatat Congress 2020 cancelled

Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, regrets to inform that the Europatat Congress 2020, scheduled to take place on 11 and 12 June in Brussels, will be cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 crisis in Europe. For Europatat, the safety and wellbeing of the Congress’ participants, speakers and partners is its number one priority.
3/28/2020

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NPC welcomes ag benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed end of the week in the US, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the US potato supply chain. This comes a day after the Senate passed by the bill by a 96-0 vote. The bill has been sent to President Trump for his expected signature.
3/28/2020

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Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest. This is near to the lowest level ever measured in the N.B. potato industry, which was 0.43% in the 2016 harvest.
3/19/2020

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.
3/18/2020

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Australian shoppers urged to eat smarter and add more potatoes to supermarket trolleys

Australians stockpiling groceries to prepare for COVID-19 are being warned against wasting food by a leading Australian authority. Focusing on reducing household waste would save money and create less concern about running out of supplies, according to the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre chief executive officer Dr Steven Lapidge. His message is being backed by the South Australian potato industry as it launches its own campaign reminding shoppers of the merits of the humble potato.
3/18/2020

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US: Useful guides published for fungicides, fertilizer and growth promotion products

Potato Grower magazine recently published a Fungicide Buyers’ Guide in its March 2020 issue. The editor of the magazine says that “over the years, growers, researchers and chemical reps have worked tirelessly to develop sustainable, economical solutions to the problems posed by these fungal maladies. Potato Grower’s fungicide buyers’ guide showcases a few of those solutions.” A Fertilizer and Growth Promoter Buyers’ Guide was also published in the March 2020 issue of Potato Grower.
3/17/2020

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Potato news update from Russia

The Potato Union of Russia and the Russian magazine Potato System recently came to an agreement to collaborate in an initiative to inform the commercial potato industry about important industry and government events, promotion of the achievements of agricultural producers, and more. “We hope that the transition to a new level of cooperation will expand the capabilities of both parties and allow us to solve professional problems even more successfully and efficiently,” says the Chief Editor of Potato System, Olga Maxaeva
3/17/2020

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Expert Opinion: What could the coronavirus mean for the global potato industry?

The spread and fear of coronavirus has stepped up a gear this week, with more than 110 countries or territories reporting 129,000 cases and more than 4, 000 deaths between them, writes potato market analyst Cedric Porter. The virus is having an impact on the potato industry, Porter says. Some countries are reporting an increase in table potato sales as people stock up on essential goods, but processing potato prices, especially in Europe, have plunged on physical and futures markets.
3/17/2020

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Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out. In a recent collab, Potatoes USA tapped Kantar Insights Consulting to gather information for a Fresh Potatoes Path to Purchase study from potato shoppers at food retailers, mass merchandise retailers, club stores, and grocery online shoppers. The results?
3/17/2020

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Crop rotation: Call in a nurse. A ‘nurse’ crop, that is

Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops, writes Ralph Pearce, CG Production Editor in Country Guide. He says that in Canada’s Maritime provinces, seed companies are promoting soybeans or corn as rotational options, and McCain has developed one- and two-year multi-species cover crop blends to help boost organic matter and limit erosion.
3/15/2020

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Expert Opinion: What could the coronavirus mean for the global potato industry?

The spread and fear of coronavirus has stepped up a gear this week, with more than 110 countries or territories reporting 129,000 cases and more than 4, 000 deaths between them, writes potato market analyst Cedric Porter in this week’s issue of World Potato Markets.The virus is having an impact on the potato industry, Porter says. Some countries are reporting an increase in table potato sales as people stock up on essential goods, but processing potato prices, especially in Europe, have plunged on physical and futures markets.
3/14/2020

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Potatoes USA considers effects of coronavirus on consumer behaviour

Tom Karst writes in The Packer that the 2020 annual meeting of Potatoes USA proceeded as planned even as news was breaking that the NCAA decided to exclude fans from its annual post-season basketball tournament the coronavirus, COVID-19.  The “anxiety economy” existed before both the coronavirus and the escalation of the 2020 presidential race, said John Toaspern, chief marketing officer for Potatoes USA. “People are nervous; they aren’t really sure what to do,” he said. Millennials are delaying having children because they are concerned about the future, he said.
3/13/2020

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Canada to invest millions into Potato Early Dying disease research

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, spoke to growers from across the country at the Canadian Horticultural Council‘s (CHC) annual meeting announced a federal investment of over $2.3 million to support the Council’s research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying, which results in premature aging, limiting potato yield by as much as 50 per cent.
3/13/2020

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CIP and partners publish a ‘Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics’

The full title of this new book, authored by scientists working at CIP, INIAP, and CORPOICA in Latin America, is Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics. Ten years of experience in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It is edited by Jorge Andrade-Piedra, Peter Kromann, Victor Otazú. Aeroponics is a technique for producing potato minitubers (corresponding to the pre-basic seed category) in formal seed systems, that is, systems in which the State regulates the production and distribution of certified seed.
3/13/2020

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Winds of change: Which countries were the top 15 potato producers during 1961-2019?

In this animated video, the change in the top 15 potato producing countries globally is depicted year-on-year for the time period starting in 1961 until last year. The list of countries and the production figures are based on data made available by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The total world production for potatoes in 2019 was 376,826,967 metric tonnes, with China by far the largest producer, accounting for 26.3% of world production. This was certainly not the case in 1961. There was statistically many changes in the Top 15 ranking of total potato production since then.
3/11/2020

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McCain and Simplot in court battle over pre-treatment technology patent

J.R. Simplot and McCain Foods have spent the last few years battling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho over issues related to – unsurprisingly – potatoes, with each party asserting a design patent related to a spiraled potato, writes Anthony Fuga of Knight and Holland. However, in a recent blog, Fuga reports on the challenge to McCain’s utility patent that is directed to the process of using high-energy electric field technology to pre-treat potatoes (and other vegetables) before cutting and cooking them.
3/11/2020

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EuroBlight issues report with details on the 2019 late blight monitoring results

EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2019 results. Approximately 1800 samples from 27 countries were genotyped. In general, blight pressure is said to have been low which reduced sample numbers in many regions. However, episodes of high disease pressure resulted in serious outbreaks in other areas such as northern Britain and Denmark.
3/10/2020

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How the humble potato changed the world

In his 1957 essay collection Mythologies, the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes called chips (la frite), a food that comes from a crop native to the Americas. Despite its origins in the Andes, it’s an incredibly successful global food.  Just a century earlier, a potato disease prompted a famine that halved Ireland’s population in a few years, producing a decades-long cascading effect of social and economic turmoil. And as you read these lines, the world’s leading potato producers today are China, India, Russia and Ukraine, respectively.
3/9/2020

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World Potato Congress: ‘Africa could displace North America as the third largest potato producer’

The world’s potato production growth stagnated in 2018 and couldn’t recover in 2019, according to a recent statement by the World Potato Congress (WPC). It is said that in total, 368,247,000 tons were produced in 2018, according to FAO. Even so, it was the third-highest production after 2017 and 2014. The only continent that saw an increase in its potato plantations in 2018 was Africa (3.3% to 1,904,000 hectares), which could displace North America in 2020 as the third-biggest potato producer.
3/8/2020

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UK: End of January stocks, drawdown and market implications

This past Friday, AHDB Potatoes issued a report in which it is said that grower held potato stocks at the end of January 2020 are estimated at 2.13Mt. This is 15% more than last season and 3% more than the 5 year average (2014-2018). This increase in grower held stocks year-on-year comes despite the end of November estimates standing at the lowest levels since 2012.
3/8/2020

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Australian companies offer commercial opportunities for potato waste

Four of the largest potato producers in Australia want to convert 100 per cent of their potato waste into commercial benefit through their partnership with the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Over the next three years, The Mitolo Group, Zerella Fresh, Thomas Foods International Fresh Produce, The South Australian Potato Company, together with Industry Association; Potatoes South Australia Inc, and the University of Adelaide will invest nearly $1m in this research and development to save up to 100,000 tonnes of potatoes currently going to waste every year.
3/7/2020

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Taking a look at storage costs after CIPC removal

The removal of CIPC in the UK next season has pushed the burden onto other tools in the box. However, how cost effective these treatments are at current market prices is a question on many people’s mind, according to a release published by AHDB Potatoes. Using estimated chemical costs from Sutton Bridge and industry costings from the Potato Storage Calculator, AHDB specialists have calculated the estimated cost per tonne of storing in a refrigerated packing and ambient processing store for 8 months under different storage regimes.
3/3/2020

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CIPC ban: 'European potato sector is facing a major challenge' – Belgapom

The European Commission has decided that the potato sprout inhibitor chlorpropham (CIPC) is no longer allowed to be applied to potatoes in storage from January 1st this year. The entire European potato sector is therefore facing a challenge, according to industry experts. “In Belgium, it is mainly potato processing and exports that are affected by the ban, since the measure targets the storage potatoes,” Romain Cools and Marc Van Herreweghe of Belgapom told FreshPlaza during a recent interview.
2/29/2020

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Potato diseases: Control of Rhizoctonia solani podcast

Mike Abram, from the Communications team of Bayer Crop Sciences in the UK, recently caught up with Sam Harvey, who is a Commercial Technical Manager for Bayer, based in and around the Cambridgeshire area. They discussed potatoes and in particular how to control seed- and soil-borne potato diseases. Controlling seed- and soil-borne diseases is important for both good establishment and ultimately potato quality and skin finish,” Sam Harvey says. 
2/29/2020

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Canadian drone service company helps farmers to assess crop health

Lee Dodson from Summerside on Prince Edward Island believes he has found a technological way for farmers to have detailed knowledge of the health of their fields without stepping outside. Dodson, CEO of Skygate Drone Services, was one of about 120 exhibitors at this year’s International Potato Technology Expo in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island this past Friday and Saturday. Dodson’s company involves flying a drone equipped with a multispectral crop imaging sensor over a farmer’s field to photograph and produce various computerized maps that show health issues.
2/28/2020

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Ireland: Second lowest acreage of potatoes planted in 2019

The area of potatoes planted in Ireland in 2019 was the second lowest on record, after 2018, which was the lowest on record. There was also a further decrease in the plantings of traditional varieties such as Kerr’s Pink and Golden Wonders. Speaking at the recent National Potato conference in Dublin IFA president Tim Cullinan said farmers continue to be the poor relation within the supply chain. He outlined how retailers are taking the lion’s share of the margin on potatoes, while farmers bear all of the risk.
2/27/2020

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Specialist: Why the physiological age of potato seed tubers matters

According to Carrie Huffman Wohleb, Associate Professor and Regional Specialist – Potato, Vegetable, and Seed Crops at Washington State University, physiological age is an important concept in potato production. “The physiological age of seed tubers determines when the buds will sprout and how many sprouts will develop from those buds,” she says. “It affects stem numbers and vine growth. It also influences tuber development and can have a significant impact on tuber yield and size distribution.”
2/27/2020

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Specialty, organic potatoes help expand sales

There’s more to the potato business than reds, whites and russets, marketers in the US say. Specialty varieties and organics are important parts of the product mix, they note. “We need to continue to explore varietals,” said Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing for Fryeburg, Maine-based Green Thumb Farms.  “When I look at the produce section as a whole and see the wide range of apple varieties, or a specific orange variety being marketed to kids or parents, I think we can keep pushing the potato category in that direction.”
2/26/2020

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No small fry: New MountainKing merchandising program focuses on baby potatoes

As sales of baby Golds, Reds and Medley potatoes continue to climb, MountainKing is embarking on an aggressive program to provide its retail partners with turnkey, display-ready options aimed at driving sales of the smaller, pre-sized variety. “Small potatoes are under-promoted and under-merchandised,” says John Pope, MountainKing vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re working to change that narrative in a big way.”
2/26/2020

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Thousands attended International Potato Technology Expo on Prince Edward Island

The 2020 edition of the International Potato Technology Expo welcomed professionals from across North America back to Charlottetown on Canada’s Prince Edward Island this past Friday and Saturday. According to the organizers, the industry event took Charlottetown by storm with an impressive display of equipment and products, alongside an educational conference attracting hundreds of delegates. 3,078 attendees walked the show floor to check out diverse exhibits.
2/26/2020

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Australia's famous Big Potato for sale for $920,000

If you’ve always wanted to own Australia’s famous Big Potato, here’s your chance. Owners Heather and Neil Tait, who own the supermarket next door, have put the land housing the potato up for sale. The big spud, located at 80 Hoddle Street in the town of Robertson has a price guide of $920,000. Modelled on the Sebago potato variety, the Big Potato was built in the mid-1970s by potato grower Jim Mauger. The Taits bought the 2000sqm site in 2014 for $450,000, with the aim of using the property to expand their supermarket. The selling agent is Steve Myers of Myers Realty.
2/26/2020

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World Potato Congress report: Revised FAO figures show slowdown in the rise of global potato production

The increase in world potato production stalled in 2018 and failed to recover significantly in 2019. World output slipped by 1.5% to 368.247 million tonnes in 2018 figures just released by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) show. However, that was still the third highest total ever after 2017 and 2014. World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc reports. There was a major adjustment in the area figures in 2018, which knocked onto production figures. The UN FAO estimated that the 158 countries it had figures for (or made calculations for) grew by 17.580 million hectares. Last year the organisation estimated a 2017 area figure of 19.099 million hectares, it has now downgraded the 2017 figure to 17.580 million hectare, a 7.9% reduction.
2/25/2020

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Researchers in the Pacific Northwest working together to solve shared potato industry issues

Potato growers are learning it’s good to combine resources. Potato growers in the Pacific Northwest have discovered working together is more productive, especially when it comes to research that could potentially be good for the whole industry, Rick Worthington of AgInfo reports. Matthew Blua is with the Washington Potato Commission and says that was the thinking when it came to funding potato research in particular.
2/25/2020

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Russian potato magazine launches multilingual website; experts invited to contribute content

“The development of the processing sector in Russia can change the potato situation: the construction of facilities for the production of potato chips, french fries, starch and potato flakes.  Many also expect an increase in potato exports, although this is not easy.” In short, the above are some of the most relevant topics of articles that were published in the magazine Potato System during the last year. But not the only ones. “We also write about diseases and pests of potatoes, the development of breeding and seed production, new technologies, experience and achievements of the best potato farms,” editor of the magazine, Olga Maxaeva says. “We want to turn the Potato System into a platform for the exchange of information and opinions between all potato growers," she says.
2/25/2020

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WPC Webinar: Dr. Leah Tsror on Powdery Scab – Integrated disease management for reducing the risk

The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to be offering its third webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror. Dr Tsror is a Research Group Leader in the Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development in Israel. Dr. Tsror has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and she is on the editorial boards of the journals Potato Research and Phytoparasitica (both published by Springer).
2/24/2020

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PepsiCo to buy online snacks retailer in China

PepsiCo Inc. plans to buy online snacks company Hangzhou Haomusi Food Co. — known as Be & Cheery — for $705 million from Haoxiangni Health Food Co. as the maker of Doritos and Lay’s potato chips expands in China.  The snack and soft-drinks maker had been working on the Be & Cheery acquisition since before the coronavirus outbreak that began in China, and reaching the deal shows a willingness to make a long-term play even against uncertain near term. Pepsi closed one of its six manufacturing facilities in the country earlier this year to help deal with the outbreak.
2/24/2020

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Hummingbird Technologies enters Eastern European market; launches Knockdown product in Australia

Hummingbird is very pleased to announce that the company has taken a first step towards the Eastern European market. Sarting with Poland, Hummingbird signed a reseller agreement with ProGea SKY. They will be reselling Hummingbird’s product services for potatoes, sugar beet, and cereals. ProGea will also functioin as a collaborative data collection partner. 
2/24/2020

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Video: 'Opening the earth – The Potato King'. A story about agricultural biodiversity

A poor potato farmer in the Andes is one of the few guardians responsible for sustaining biodiversity critical to humanity. This video tells the story of Julio Hancco 14,600ft above sea level in the Peruvian Andes. Julio’s humble life contrasts with the global significance of agricultural biodiversity. World famous chefs, international organizations, and experts in the field all played a role in Julio’s rise. This film contrasts the humble life of a poor Peruvian farmer with the global significance of his traditions.
2/23/2020

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Only in Canada: Manitobans to dig in for third annual 'Potahto Week'

“Our third annual Potahto Week is officially happening, and we are so ready!,” say the organizers of the event, announcing that Winnipeg’s top restaurants will dish up unique and delicious dishes starring the ‘potahto‘ from February 21 through March 1, 2020. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime-chance to taste potahto dishes exclusive to the event, so get out and chow down (or beware the FOMO), the organizers say.
2/22/2020

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The PVY scourge: How new potato virus strains are troubling Maine farmers

The rise in rejected seed potatoes from last season’s crop can be blamed on new strains of an old virus, a Maine Potato Board plant pathologist said Tuesday. The Maine Potato Board announced recently that 60 percent more seed potato lots tested in the 2019-2020 Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s annual post-harvest test were rejected than in 2018-2019. A total of 7.3 percent of all seed potato lots were rejected, Bangor Daily News reports.
2/20/2020

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Canada: Another winter of headaches for Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba potato growers are facing the inevitable result of a second extremely challenging digging season — elevated losses in storage. Wet weather in September and early October kept producers out of the fields, while a three-day snowstorm over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped upwards of 75 centimetres of snow in areas of south-central Manitoba, followed by yet more precipitation. Just 60 to 65 per cent of Manitoba’s potatoes had been harvested as of Oct. 9, the Keystone Potato Producers Association said at the time.
2/20/2020

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Precision farming: SMART Fertilizer Management launches new SMART software program and unique pricing model

SMART Fertilizer Management, headquartered in the UK and operating globally, is a precision agriculture company that specializes in providing fertilizer management tools to agronomists and farmers alike. The company’s core product, the online SMART fertilizer software program, has been tested and proven by a multitude of users in more than 60 countries around the world. The software can be applied for precision planning and management of fertilizer regimes of an impressive total of 271 different crops, including potatoes.
2/19/2020

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EAPR 2020 Conference: 'An inspiring program and diversified range of potato specialists,' says President

The 21st Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) will be hosted in Warsaw, Poland, 6-10 July 2020. The theme of the Conference will be “A new age for potatoes. Prof Jadwiga Śliwka, President of EAPR says “We plan to prepare an inspiring program and bring together a wide and diversified range of potato specialists from all over the world, The Conference aims to cover all potato-related topics from fundamental and applied research, potato breeding, extension services and technology transfer, to technical and economic issues of potato production, storage and processing.
2/19/2020

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Potatoes South Australia and industry band together to send wooden bins to fire ravaged Kangaroo Island

In response to the horrific bushfires on Kangaroo Island, Potatoes South Australia Inc has come up with some very practical assistance. Saddened by the devastating impact of the bushfires local farming communities in many parts of Australia, the unprecedented fires that have ravaged more than one third of Kangaroo Island are of particular concern for its members, stakeholders and their families. The Association decided to provide 500 new bins to the producers on the island and contracted CMTP, an Australian company specialising in movability and protection packaging systems.
2/19/2020

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Weber Farms: Modern technologies and sound agronomic practices key to successful spud production

Weber Farms is a 3rd generation family farm that was established in 1962 in Quincy, Washington. The farm typically raises around 4500 acres of potatoes that are processed by Lamb Weston. Varieties grown include Clearwater, Altura, Umatilla and Burbank’s. Other crops include sweet corn, apples and cherries. During an interview with Potato News Today, Adam Weber shared more information on the Weber Farms operation.
2/18/2020

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Smart Farming in 2020: How IoT sensors are creating a more efficient precision agriculture industry

This is a preview of The Internet of Things (IoT) research report from Business Insider Intelligence. The farming industry will become more important than ever before in the next few decades. The IoT is set to push the future of farming to the next level. Smart agriculture is already becoming more commonplace among farmers, and high tech farming is quickly becoming the standard thanks to agricultural drones and sensors.
2/18/2020

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Advice on how to reduce CIPC residue levels with store cleaning

The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group (PICSG) has warned potato growers and buyers against applying sprout suppressant Chlorpropham (CIPC) at 2020 store loading. The popular active, previously used on over 90 per cent of the circa 3.5 million tonnes of potatoes stored in Britain, had its approval for use withdrawn by the European Commission on 8 January. According to AHDB Potatoes, these four simple steps will help reduce CIPC residue levels and keep a clean store overall.
2/17/2020

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French fries in China – big opportunities and high hurdles

The market for French fries in China is growing rapidly but barriers to entry exist for foreign providers, as Peter Peverelli of just-food.com explains. The Chinese potato output for the marketing year 2019/20 is estimated at 98m metric tonnes, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Interest in potatoes in China increased considerably, when, in 2015, the Chinese government launched the plan to make the potato the nation’s fifth staple food, after rice, wheat, soy beans and maize. However, it has so far not significantly affected potato production.
2/17/2020

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Belgian marketer: 'We must make potatoes sexier and more popular'

Potatoes have been becoming less popular for a while now. That is a shame, thinks Geoffrey Delbaere of the Belgian company, Warnez. “It is such a versatile, sustainable, healthy product. It should be considered a superfood. That is why it is important that we not let it fall by the wayside,” Geoffrey told FreshPlaza. “We must make potatoes sexier and more popular. We [at Warnez] have therefore put a tremendous effort into convenience products in recent years.”
2/17/2020

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Potato famine: Ireland remembers how 19th century aid from Ottoman sultan changed fate of thousands

Potatoes have a special place in Irish culture, as for centuries the people of the Emerald Isle have depended on this tuber as a diet staple.A seven-year famine in the 19th century, known as the Great Famine or Potato Famine, killed more than a million people in Ireland, and stories from that time have left deep scars on the national psyche.  The worst year for the famine was 1847, as it saw no improvement in crop yields from the first two years of the plague. But it was at that time, the plague’s worst year – “Black ’47” – that unexpected aid arrived from afar.
2/16/2020

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