COVID-19 News, New Zealand, Australia, Processing, fries, chips

Simplot to compensate Tasmanian potato growers on the back of ‘volatile’ year

It’s a risky crop, but Sisters Creek potato farmer Leigh Elphinstone in Tasmania wouldn’t have it any other way, reports Meg Powell in this news story for The Advocate. And the multi-generational farmer’s passion for the simple spud seems to have paid off, helping secure growers like himself an additional $9 a tonne deal with major food manufacturer Simplot over the coming financial year.

Mr Elphinstone explained the rise had come about in order to match a rise in the growing costs, which would guarantee farmers a certain amount of profit per hectare of potatoes. The price rise follows a tough season last year, when heavy rains made the grounds too soft to harvest the potatoes.

Simplot Australia’s executive director supply chain Dane Smith said the industry had been left to deal with significant complexity and volatility due to COVID-19. “Skyrocketing fertiliser costs combined with other pressures are impacting growers,” he said.

Simplot Growers Group chairman Trevor Hall said another area of concern for growers was the threat of pink rot, a soil-borne storage disease.

Source: The Advocate. Full story here
Photo: Leigh Elphinstone has potatoes in his blood, taking over his family farm and continuing to grow for Simplot | Meg Powell

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