Studies/Reports

Insight in potato crop development during extreme weather conditions

A Belgian project is gaining insight in potato crop development and quality during extreme weather conditions. An agricultural side experiment of the project, coordinated by Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) Remote Sensing, investigates the impact of extreme weather on the cultivation of potatoes. Some 500 smart sensors were installed in 295 potato fields across Flanders.

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United Potato Growers of Canada issues final crop report for the season

The United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) has issued its final crop update for the 2021 season today. UPGC General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac, writes in the report that potato harvest is in the final stages across the country. Yields have been below average in the west, above average in the Central provinces, and exceptional in the Eastern region.

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Global trade volumes of frozen potato products stabilize, low priced imports from Belgium gain share in US imports

Market and consumer data analytics company A-INSIGHTS has published its latest monthly MarketMonitor report on trends in the Frozen Potato Products industry, titled “July Insights“. Analysts at the company report that global frozen potato trade volumes have stabilized in July, with the year-to-date volume remaining 0.5% above the pre-COVID levels of 2019. They further report that low priced imports from Belgium gain share in US imports.

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Food service sector prospers in Ireland, export demand quiet across Europe

The Irish Farmers Association reports that retail demand has eased slightly, although colder weather forecasted should improve trade again in Ireland. The food service sector continues to prosper, despite it traditionally being a quieter period. Prices for the fresh sector in Europe are currently described as holding or slightly easier. Export demand is very quiet.

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HZPC reports on positives after challenging corona year

HZPC realised that the financial year 2020/2021 would be difficult. Last year, the potato distributor was operating in a global economic recession. With enormous consequences for both multiple corporate sectors and for HZPC. However, there are always positives. Even now. “We have seen a rise in volume sales, we are proud to have started the Connective Growers programme and we are delighted with the efforts made to realise a competitive price for our growers,” says HZPC CEO, Gerard Backx.

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CIPC in the crossfire: Challenges and possible alternatives

A recent paper in the journal Potato Research highlights the chlorpropham (CIPC) ban and the weaknesses and limited sustainability of global and local systems based on synthetically produced substances. But what are the current alternatives to CIPC? This article summarizes the findings of an Agroscope study of alternative sprout inhibitors.

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NASS report: Potatoes sold by Pacific Northwest states valued at $1,82bn

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released a report containing detailed statistics on the value of the 2020 crop sold in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, as well as figures related to total yield, quantity of potatoes used for processing, and more. The final value of Idaho’s 2020 potato crop sold was $912 million, down 5 percent from 2019.

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RNA-based biopesticide technology delivers 98% mortality of Colorado potato beetle

Renaissance BioScience Corp., a leading global bioengineering company, is pleased to announce that an independent test of its environmentally safe, RNA-based biopesticide technology conducted on Colorado potato beetle (CPB) larvae resulted in 98.3% mortality and greatly reduced the amount of plant damage caused by the beetle. The proof-of-concept test applied Renaissance’s proprietary yeast-based RNA interference technology.

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Specialist shares views on cover crops, soil health and fertility

On this episode of the SpudChat podcast, Ryan Barrett, Research Coordinator and Project Lead, Agronomy Initiative at the Board talks to Dr. Judith Nyiraneza with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in Charlottetown about some of her research projects, including cover cropping, building soil health and fertility through rotation crops, measuring the effect of manure in potato rotations, and more.

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Frozen French fry production in China expected to increase by 20 percent

According to a recent report issued by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), China’s MY2021/22 frozen French fries production is forecast higher by 20 percent at 420,000 metric tons (MT). According to industry sources, a new french fry production line will be put into production in MY2021/22 in Inner Mongolia. Frozen French fry producers in China are expected to expand their production as much as possible to make up for the reduction of imports.

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MSU researchers breeding beetle-resistant potato varieties

Potato farmers face many challenges. One tiny, yet devastating, pest is the Colorado potato beetle. It can cause immense damage to potato crops. It’s also notorious for becoming resistant to chemical insecticides. In a new study, published in Crop Science, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) describe genetic tools to develop potato varieties with improved natural resistance to the potato bug.

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Scientists found dried potato powder to be cheaper energy source in animal feed than maize

Scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in Pakistan have found that dried potato powder can successfully be used as a cheaper energy source in animal feed and can be added up to 30 percent in ruminant concentrates without any negative effect. Due to the high cost of yellow corn, dried potato concentrate had been identified as a low cost alternative and it can easily replace maize.

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Australian researchers study whether ‘plant medicines’ could help treat cancer, obesity

“Plant cures” are the key to world-first research by a team of scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), led by Professor David Craik. “We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines,” Professor Craik said. “So we want to put molecules into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”

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Canadian crop update: Record amounts of rainfall in the east, growers hope early frosts hold off

Weather patterns have continued to influence the outlook for the Canadian potato crop the past couple of weeks, says Kevin MacIsaac in the latest report issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). He says Eastern Canada (particularly Prince Edward Island) has received record amounts of rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The province of Manitoba has also received some rainfall over the past two weeks. High temperatures have broken in Alberta, but it still remains dry. MacIsaac summarizes how the crop looks at this time.

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Study: Dietary shift to potatoes could cut staple crop emissions in China by 25%

A dietary shift from rice to potatoes could ‘notably reduce’ the climate and environmental impacts of staple crop agriculture in China, according to a new study. It finds that a large-scale dietary shift towards potatoes, combined with better growing methods, could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of these staples by up to 25 per cent. However, the authors note that it remains to be seen whether such a major dietary shift can be carried out on a large scale.

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Biochemistry offers path to help reduce losses during potato handling and storage

Massive losses in the United States’ number one vegetable crop, potatoes, aren’t only due to pests or drought, they’re due to damage in the handling and storage of potatoes over the months of storage on their way to the supermarket as fresh potatoes or as potato chips or fries. A biochemistry approach that seeks to identify genetic characteristics of the wound healing process in potatoes has had success in a project led by Dylan Kosma, a biochemist in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Report: Canadian crop progressing well, early harvest under way

The potato crop in Canada is now in the very critical growth stage of tuber bulking. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada reports that tuber set has been determined and it is now this phase which will provide yield and determine production for this crop. While there is still considerable time left for many growing regions, the Canadian crop in mid-August appears to have good potential (in many but not in all regions) to meet the needs of industry.

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U.S. potato exports rebound, continued growth expected

Total U.S. potato exports increased by 4% in volume and 1% in value for July 2020 – June 2021 compared to the previous marketing year (MY). The rebound in exports was led by a 9% increase in fresh potatoes, a 10% increase in potato chips, and a 2% increase in frozen exports, accounting for 51% of the total. It is anticipated that with the continued easing of restrictions around the world, U.S. potato exports will continue to grow in MY22.

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Potatoes USA: Strong sales at retail, refrigerated potatoes showing largest increase

From July 2020 – June 2021, potato sales increased in dollars by 3% but declined slightly in volume by 0.3% compared to the previous July-June marketing year, according to Potatoes USA. Consumers bought 577 million more pounds of potatoes from July 2020 – June 2021 than July 2018 – June 2019. Refrigerated potatoes had the largest increase compared to the same period the previous year of 10.6% increase in dollars and a 5.3% increase in volume.

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IFA: Indoor dining expands in Ireland, yields below average in Europe

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that overall consumption and demand have plateaued over the past week in Ireland. Demand for processing material continues to pick up as we continue into the holiday period and indoor dining is expanding. Across Europe, early processing crops are catching up but yields are still behind the multi-year average.

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US researchers identify potato cultivars with a low glycemic index

A team of researchers at Montana State University and North Dakota State University recently reported on results of a study into potato varieties thought to have a low glycemic index (GI). The research team evaluated 60 potato cultivars to identify cultivars with low amylopectin – that are thought to have low GI potential. The researchers identified five most promising cultivars.

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Study: Potatoes to ensure higher quality diet for teenagers

ANI reports on a recent study conducted among people aged between nine to 18 years which suggested that eating potatoes can be an effective strategy to modestly improve intake of key shortfall nutrients. “The potato is a nutrient-dense vegetable that provides important, critically under-consumed nutrients to adolescent diets,” said Victor Fulgoni, co-author of the study.

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Cover crops: Measuring nitrogen in green manures

Both chemical fertilizers and cover crops can help build the nitrogen content in soil. But cover crops come with many other benefits, like improving soil structure and boosting beneficial microbes. Katherine Muller and her team are working on strategies to measure nitrogen fixation in breeding programs for two common cover crops: crimson clover and hairy vetch.

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