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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

SoilBio: New groundbreaking tool for assessing soil health

SoilBio is a new indicator of soil health, based on the most comprehensive UK soil testing investigation to date. It was developed by SoilEssentials, a company specializing in precision farming products and services. SoilBio is said to be “a ground-breaking new test to understand the biodiversity of your soil and measure the quality for long-term, good soil management.”
2/16/2020

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Multi-state potato research project in the US analyzes improving soil health

It’s called the kitchen sink treatment among the scientists involved in a four-year, 10-state research project analyzing how to replenish depleted soils in potato rotations. Essentially, the researchers throw “everything but the kitchen sink” into improving soil health in their plots — fertilizing with composted dairy manure and planting a crop as “green manure” between rotation crops.  The research project — heading into its second season in major potato production states including Idaho — is evaluating more than a dozen treatments in two- and three-year potato rotations
2/16/2020

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Colorado potato grower-brothers cooking up a successful recipe for improved soil health

In some ways, soil health conferences are like recipe swaps — with attendees always on the lookout for a mix of ingredients that will produce better results. One of those recipes presented at the sold-out Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing last month came from a Colorado potato grower who farms in high-elevation, near-desert conditions and no longer uses chemical inputs. Brendon Rockey calls the set of practices employed by himself and his brother as “biotic” farming. And it’s proved to be a winning formula, he told the 550 people who packed a hotel conference hall.
2/15/2020

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PhD project opportunity: 'Optimizing yield and quality by predicting vitality of seed potatoes'

Wageningen UR (University & Research Centre) in the Netherlands has an opening for an interested and qualified PhD candidate to complete aproject focused on the vitality of potato seed. In principle this is a 48-month PhD position. The University offers a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended with three years if the successful candidate performs well.
2/15/2020

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Pathogen attack: Maine Potato Board announces worst Post-Harvest Test since 2012

Maine Potato Board plant pathologist/lab manager Andrew Plant said during a meeting Feb. 12 that the 2019-20 results of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s annual Post-Harvest Test was the worst since 2012-13, Bangor Daily News reports. Plant said that 7.3 percent of all seed potato lots were rejected because of the presence of pathogens within the crop, such as the bacteria Dickeya solani, which is known to cause potatoes to rot in storage, as well as potato virus Y, which can cause rot or affect sprouting.
2/15/2020

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Potatoes South Africa and partners sign agreement to address challenges faced by 'new era' farmers

AFGRI Agri Services, Kagiso Trust (through the Tyala Impact Fund) and Potatoes South Africa this week signed a ground-breaking agreement aimed at addressing the major challenges faced by South Africa’s ‘new era’ farmers, according to a press release issued by Potatoes South Africa and partners. Some of these challenges include access to technical support, access to finance and access to markets. 
2/14/2020

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Fighting Rhizoctonia: BASF UK teams up with Hummingbird Technologies to measure potato crop emergence

BASF launched the first SDHI fungicide for in-furrow treatment for Rhizoctonia solani in potatoes two years ago. Based on Xemium (fluxapyroxad), ALLSTAR showed excellent efficacy in development trials in the UK. BASF has signed an agreement with the state of the art remote sensing technology company, Hummingbird Technologies to measure crop emergence and growth of potato crops in the field and in trial plots.
2/14/2020

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Industry veterans join Wisconsin association’s Hall of Fame

Larry Alsum, president and CEO of Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., and Dick Okray, president of Okray Family Farms, are the newest members of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Association Hall of Fame. Their accomplishments in state and national potato industries were recognized during the association’s annual awards banquet Feb. 5 in Stevens Point, Wis.
2/13/2020

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Europatat met with members and potential partners during Fruit Logistica; readies itself for upcoming Congress

Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, attended the Fruit Logistica in Germany last week. The association took the opportunity to hold meetings with the members of its Seed Potato Commission and Packers Commission during the event. The association’s Secretariat also held multiple individual meetings with current and potential partners.
2/13/2020

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New book offers science-based information to guide potato research and development

To contribute to some of the latest advances in potato science, two International Potato Center (CIP) scientists edited an extensive compilation of research and expert perspectives in the book: “The potato crop: its agricultural, nutritional and social contribution to humankind,” recently published by the prestigious publishing house Springer Nature. The work of over 60 scientists from 25 countries and 23 international research centers, universities, government agencies and industry, the book brings together an array of useful, research-based information.
2/11/2020

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CIP: Developing late blight resistant GMO potato varieties for Africa

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working in East Africa to breed GMO varieties of potatoes that combine three forms of resistance to late blight — the disease that can exact costly tolls on smallholding farmers. CIP states that the objective of the project is: “To develop and deliver bio-engineered potatoes completely resistant to late blight to reduce the costs associated with potato production, the losses caused by the disease, and farmers’ exposure to harmful chemicals.“
2/11/2020

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Potato association: 'Ukraine lacks 1.2 mln tonnes of potato storage capacity'

Ukraine today has a total potato storage capacity of 300,000 tonnes. The minimum required capacity to meet domestic needs is to store 1.5 million tonnes, according to the Director of the Ukrainian Association of Potato Producers Oksana Ruzhenkova. “Today, Ukraine has 300,000 tonnes of potato storage facilities. Over the past five years, 350,000 tonnes of storage facilities have lost their usability. The domestic demand is for at least 1.5 million tonnes,” she said during a press conference held at Interfax-Ukraine.
2/11/2020

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Grimme's VARITRON 470: Increased comfort, more power

For the harvest season 2020, Grimme’s four-row, self-propelled potato harvesters VARITRON 470 with wheel chassis, and VARITRON 470 Platinum TERRA TRAC (on rubber tracs), will be equipped with various new innovations.
2/11/2020

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Upcoming Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show to focus on emerging grower production issues

Dr Eugenia Banks, organizer of the 2020 Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show, reminds industry members that the next event will be hosted at the Delta Hotel in Guelph on March 5. Registrations have been coming in steadily to the Potato Board, Dr Banks says. Participants should register by Feb 28 to get the early registration fee of $50. After Feb 28 the fee increases to $80. “The conference is a great opportunity to meet and network with growers, researchers and crop consultants. It is always a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Just what we need before the 2020 season starts,” Dr Banks says.
2/10/2020

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Canada's Kroeker Farms to triple production with new world-class facility

The minds behind Kroeker Farms Ltd. are taking steps to position the family-owned potato powerhouse as the leader in their field into the next 20 years and beyond with a new state-of-the-art facility, report Pembina Valley’s Steven Sukkau. The agricultural producer and distributor located in Winkler, Manitoba recently turned the switch on a nearly 70,000 sq. ft. washing/packing plant at their Circle K Drive location.
2/10/2020

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British expert blasts approach of Dutch potato growers who are acting ‘insane’

Dutch potato producers have been accused of putting the efficacy of the industry’s limited number of fungicides at risk through “irresponsible” practices. Growers attending the SAC Association of Potato Producers conference at Scone heard independent agronomist Denis Buckley describe the Dutch approach to fungicide application as “insane and irresponsible”, even as the industry “hangs on for dear life” to the crop protection products at its disposal.
2/10/2020

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Retiring Univ of Idaho potato scientist recounts evolution of Idaho ag

Jeff Stark’s retirement plans would just have to wait. With only two and a half weeks to his retirement, Stark was busy completing all the necessary paper work for the release of the Galena Russet potato. Stark had been the director of the University of Idaho’s Potato Variety Development Program since 2006 and he estimated that the Galena Russet was the 22nd or 23rd variety released during that time. With his retirement on Jan. 24 this would be the capstone to his career.
2/10/2020

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US potato market specialist: '2019 could be a year to remember'

2019 could end up being a year that Idaho potato growers talk about for a long time. “This is going to be a year to remember,” Bruce Huffaker, president of North American Potato Market News, said Dec. 10 during University of Idaho’s “Idaho Ag Outlook Seminar.” Potato production in Idaho and around the U.S. is down this year and that is translating into significantly higher prices for spud growers. “There is going to be stiff competition between processors and the fresh market for who’s going to pay the most for potatoes,” Huffaker said.
2/9/2020

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Potato prices in Ireland: Drop in some varieties

Potato prices have fallen back in the past week according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Potato Market Report for February 6. The average price being paid for a 10kg bag of Roosters and a 10kg bag of Kerr’s Pinks has fallen by 30c and 25c respectively in the past two weeks. The average price for boxes of Roosters and Whites remained the same as two weeks ago at €350.
2/9/2020

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UK potato businesses urged to ditch CIPC ahead of use-up date

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% of the 3.5 million tonnes of potatoes stored in Britain, had its approval for use withdrawn by the European Commission on January 8. The maximum ‘use-up’ period of nine months was set by the EU, with member states able to set their own date within that timeframe.
2/8/2020

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British potato growers’ seed treatment options cut further

Potato growers must prepare to treat their seed with a different application method this season, after the loss of Monceren for rhizoctonia control. About 30% of powder users applied Monceren (pencycuron) in 2019, which was the only powder treatment still allowed to be hand sprinkled on seed tubers. However, after Bayer announced that it was pulling the product from the market due to uncertainty over its regulatory future, previous users must change their application methods.
2/8/2020

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Export restrictions strangling onion, potato producers in Turkey

Restrictions that Turkey’s government imposed on potato and onion exports have left producers struggling to shift their stock and could lead to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wasted crops, Turkey’s Dünya newspaper reported. In late 2018, the government accused producers of speculatively stockpiling crops after food price inflation skyrocketed, leaving consumers struggling to buy staple goods. Police raided food warehouses, while the government set up subsidised food stalls.
2/7/2020

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Idaho farmers celebrate signing of USMCA trade pact

Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, said the new North American trade agreement recently signed by President Trump “levels the playing field for Idaho potato farmers.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact is Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 1994, according to the Associated Press. The USMCA is designed to update the 26-year-old trade agreement to consider the rise of e-commerce and other technological changes. It also aims to encourage factories to move production to the United States, AP reported.
2/7/2020

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Volm's European partner Manter merges with Solidtec

Volm Companies, Inc., an industry leader in providing the highest quality packaging and equipment solutions to the fresh produce industry, has announced that its partner, Manter International B.V. of Emmen in the Netherlands, has acquired shares in Solidtec BV.  Solidtec, based in Dronten in the Netherlands, has been manufacturing gantry style palletizing systems for fresh produce and other markets since 1999.  The merger allows for a close collaboration between the companies.
1/28/2020

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Study to test potato product’s effects on chronic kidney disease

Could a starch derived from raw potatoes slow the damaging effects of chronic kidney disease? A Manitoba, Canada clinical trial will test that idea by asking people with the disease to mix a flavourless powdered supplement into a drink, such as a smoothie, each day. Dr. Dylan MacKay, assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba and clinical trialist at the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (a partnership between the U of M and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority), is leading the study.
1/28/2020

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Dutch potato processing firms explore opportunities in India

Dutch based potato processing companies are exploring opportunities to further develop the sector amid increased consumption for higher-end potato products. These Dutch companies are here to take part in Global Potato Conclave. The three-day event will start from Tuesday in Gandhinagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the conclave through video conferencing. As many as seventeen Dutch companies — engaged in potato processing equipments, storage and cooling solutions, seed potatoes, harvesting, and technical solutions — are part of the business delegate participating in the conclave.
1/27/2020

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Good yields but high costs for Argentine potatoes

Before the imminent start of the new potato harvest in the southeast of Buenos Aires, engineers Sergio Costantino (director of Argenpapa) and Ricardo Bergonzi (private advisor) analyzed the profitability of this crop, which hasn’t yielded positive figures for farmers during the last two campaigns. According to them, “in this campaign, there will be average yields that can significantly exceed those of recent years. An oversupply and high costs can lead to another year of bankruptcy for potato producers, just like the previous two years.”
1/27/2020

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US: Potato council CEO hails trade deals

Despite the fact that the U.S. Congress is deeply divided along partisan lines, legislators are still getting a lot of important bills passed — including a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. “A lot of things have actually gotten done in the last few months,” said Kam Quarles, the chief executive of the National Potato Council. Quarles, who spoke to the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, noted that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed both houses of Congress “with huge bipartisan votes.”
1/27/2020

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Bord Bia, CNIPT, Europatat and VLAM join forces to promote the consumption of fresh potatoes among European millennials

CNIPT, Bord Bia, Europatat and VLAM have launched an inspiring campaign under the title “Potatoes, prepare to be surprised – Europe’s favourite since 1536”. The joint initiative, which is co-financed by the European Commission under the EU Promotion policy, will run from January 2020 to December 2022 and will encourage the consumption of fresh potatoes among millennials in Flanders (Belgium), France and Ireland. Young consumers in other EU countries will also be reached thanks to the translation of recipes into Italian, German, Spanish and Polish.
1/27/2020

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Trump’s new school lunches guidelines say pasta is a vegetable and potatoes are fruit

Americans love pasta almost as much as Italians do – and it’s easy to see why, because they do it very, very well. But it seems that some people, even those working in government, seem to be a bit confused about the health side of things. Certain types of pasta are to be considered a vegetable for millions of public school meals, according to new rules proposed by president Trump’s administration.  The proposed guidelines also would permanently consider potatoes and other starchy foods as a fruit.
1/26/2020

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UK: Potatoes and parsnips ‘grow on trees’

One in 20 British adults believes potatoes grow on trees and 37% believe apples are a tropical fruit, The Press and Journal reports. Those were some of the findings from a survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the Mushroom Bureau – an organisation which promotes freshly-grown mushrooms in Britain. The survey also found 15% believe mushrooms grow underground, 7% believe parsnips are grown on trees, and three-quarters never check the label to see where their food comes from when shopping.
1/26/2020

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USDA: Fresh potatoes are part of the trade deal with China

According to the official trade text, the USDA and China will sign and implement phytosanitary protocols allowing American fresh potato imports into China for processing. The signing ceremony was essentially a commitment to open the market by February 24th. While the potato industry is happy with the language, they understand it’s not a done deal at this point.  Matt Lantz, Vice President of Global Access at Bryant Christie, said now, a market access protocol must be created.
1/24/2020

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French potato growers' union says quotas for the 2020 harvest contracts not met

At the end of 2019, the National Union of Potato Producers in France (UNPT) had warned that the 2020 potato contracts should take into account the explosion of production costs, the risks and the necessary valuation of the work of potato producers under the provisions of the EGAlim law. Based on the first contract offers received by the producers at the beginning of this year, UNPT claims that the quotas are not met.
1/24/2020

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UK: RBR Crops to stop growing potatoes

Hort News reports that Norfolk potato supplier RBR Crops says it will stop growing potatoes in order to concentrate on more profitable merchant, seed, storage and consultancy activities, and that sadly ten jobs will be lost with the changes. The company, which was founded in 1965, says the decision has been driven by continued cost pressures, the price of rented land, and low margins.
1/23/2020

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EPA approval for Syngenta's Vibrance Ultra Potato seed treatment

Vibrance Ultra Potato seed treatment from Syngenta gives growers the disease-fighting strength they need to start the season strong, the company says. Vibrance Ultra Potato, a combination of three trusted, proven active ingredients, recently received EPA approval for use in potatoes in the US. This all-in-one liquid formulation provides broad-spectrum protection against key seed- and soil-borne diseases, including control of seed-borne late blight and silver scurf seed decay, and suppression of pink rot.
1/23/2020

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Spudnik sees good response at two-day event

The Spudnik Equipment Company’s annual open house has grown through the years to now feature more emphasis on education starting this year with an ag summit focusing on potatoes. The event at the Spudnik facility west of Blackfoot was held Monday and Tuesday with full production tours beginning each day at 10 a.m. A career night was held Monday and Tuesday night included a customer appreciation dinner, with around 1,500 guests expected to attend.
1/22/2020

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Vendors at Idaho Ag Expo say farmers are optimistic and looking to buy

Vendors at the Eastern Idaho Ag Expo said Idaho farmers are optimistic based on improved prices of a few key commodities, and they’re looking to upgrade equipment and procure new services. The Ag Expo is hosted at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena from Jan. 21-23, in conjunction with the Idaho Potato Conference, hosted from Jan. 22-23 at the university’s Pond Student Union Building. The vendors brought their latest technology, which is getting bigger, faster and more efficient.
1/22/2020

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European potato growers facing increasing competition at home and abroad

The potato industry is facing many challenges in terms of import and retail competition, growing the crop and recruiting skilled labour, Marianne Curtis of Farmers Guardian reports. Speaking at an AHDB/Catchment Sensitive Farming meeting on sustainable potato production, held in North Yorkshire in the UK, Rufus Pilgrim, managing director of R.S. Cockerill, outlined some of the issues facing growers.
1/22/2020

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Japanese firms brace for climate change

In 2016, three tropical storms blew through Hokkaido in northern Japan in just one week. It was the first time this had happened since record-keeping began. Potato crops in the prefecture were badly damaged. Calbee Potato in Hokkaido stores potatoes for sale to producers of more than 100 food items, including chips. The potato shortage caused by the storms meant 33 products had to be discontinued or production suspended.
1/21/2020

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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 MountainKing vice president of sales and marketing.  “We’re working to change that narrative in a big way.”
1/21/2020

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UK: M&S sparks fury as it sells pre-cut spuds in eco-unfriendly plastic pouches

It takes just a few seconds – but peeling and cutting up a potato seems to be the latest task too far for today’s time-starved millennials. They are turning their backs on the humble spud and buying pre-sliced potatoes instead. The easy spuds have appeared for the first time on shelves at M&S – which also sells pre-peeled garlic – after the store’s research showed just two per cent of shoppers wanted to prepare dinner every day, the Daily Mail reports.
1/21/2020

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Belpotato.be: Interbranch organization takes off in Belgium

On January 20, the founding deed of Belpotato.be was officially signed in Huldenberg. The composition of the Executive Board ensures that there are balances between growers, traders and processors, and between Dutch and French speakers. Jean-Pierre van Puymbrouck becomes the first chairman. In the first working year, the secretariat is provided by Pierre Lebrun (Fiwap) and Kurt Cornelissen (PCA).
1/21/2020

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Haith to double its presence at Potato Expo event

Haith is doubling its presence at this year’s Potato Expo, to be held next week in Las Vegas, January 14-15. UK based Haith Group, which has been designing and supplying innovative solutions for farmers, packers and food manufacturers since 1964, will showcase its full range of machines in Las Vegas at the Expo. In previous year’s Haith has exhibited alongside Fox Solutions, its agent in North America and Canada. This year, to double its presence at the event, Duane Hill, Haith’s sales director, will be manning booth 1210.
1/10/2020

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Key Technology acquires Herbert Solutions

Key Technology, a leading global designer and manufacturer of digital sorting, inspection, conveying and other processing equipment, and a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, has acquired Herbert Solutions, enhancing its portfolio of potato and vegetable equipment solutions. Herbert has established itself as a leader in serving the root crop and fresh produce markets with an assortment of industry leading sorting, washing and handling solutions. They are headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
1/10/2020

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Webinar: Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Durable late blight resistance to South East Asia

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to be offering the first webinar in its 2020 series featuring Dr. David Douches on January 24, 2020 at 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (USA and Canada).  The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products to low-income farmers in South East Asian countries.
1/10/2020

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Report: Potato Chips Market Overview in the United Kingdom

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘United Kingdom – Potato Chips – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of some of the report’s key findings. The revenue of the potato chips (french fry) market in the UK amounted to $686M in 2018, dropping by -4.6% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).
1/10/2020

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Potato pest-management seminar to look at trial results

Results of research trials funded by the Northwest Potato Research Consortium and other publicly funded research will be discussed as part of an upcoming potato pest-management seminar, according to a report by Capital Press. Jeff Miller, plant pathologist and principal with seminar host Miller Research LLC, said the trials looked at 13 measurements on eight varieties. Disease problems were fairly minimal last year for Idaho potato growers in general, Miller said. Temperatures weren’t as high as usual for much of the season, though heavy rains early on contributed to some isolated seed-decay problems.
1/8/2020

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Utz Quality Foods completes merger with Kitchen Cooked

Utz Quality Foods, LLC announced today that it has completed the merger with Kitchen Cooked Inc. The acquisition includes the Kitchen Cooked snack food brand, direct store delivery (aka DSD) operations and its manufacturing operations. The Kitchen Cooked snack food brand brings with it a range of fan-favorite potato chips, Kettle Kurls, Kettle Pops, popcorn, pretzels and more. “We are very excited about the opportunity to add this important snack food brand and set of capabilities to our portfolio,” said Dylan Lissette, Chief Executive Officer, Utz Quality Foods, LLC.
1/7/2020

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PepsiCo boosts Ethiopia’s snack market with majority stake acquisition in local crisps producer

The Frito-Lay and Walkers Crisps maker has acquired a majority shareholding of Senselet Food Processing, an Ethiopian potato crisps company founded by Veris Investments in 2015. Veris claims Senselet has a leading market position in Ethiopia with its Sun Chips brand, which uses locally-sourced potatoes. The Netherlands-based private equity firm says it set up Senselet to contribute to the development of the potato value chain in Ethiopia.
1/7/2020

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Idaho's net farm income up 50 percent for 2019; potato revenue up 15 percent

Idaho farmers pocketed 50 percent more profits in 2019 than during the prior year, according to a recent University of Idaho economic report. According to an article published by Post Register, the hefty gain in statewide net farm income was led by strong dairy, potato and sugar beet prices, explained UI Extension economist Ben Eborn, who co-authored the report with UI Extension economist Garth Taylor. Taylor presented the report’s findings to state lawmakers on Jan. 2. The combination of fewer planted potato acres, lower yields and poor 2019 harvest conditions, both in Idaho and nationally, have resulted in a tight spud supply and strong prices. Idaho potato growers will earn an estimated $1.1 billion in revenue for 2019. Idaho Falls farmer Marc Thiel — who grows crops including malt barley, potatoes for the fresh market and hay and also raises cattle — said 2019 was a good year and “the potatoes will definitely carry the weight.”
1/6/2020

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