Author: Lukie Pieterse

Bayer to pay up to $10.9bn to settle US Roundup lawsuits

Bayer said today that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle litigation over the weedkiller Roundup, which has faced thousands of lawsuits over claims it causes cancer. Bayer said it was also paying up $1.22 billion to settle two additional areas of intense litigation, one involving toxic chemical PCB in water, and one involving dicamba, another weedkiller. The company continues to maintain that Roundup is safe.

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Simplot requests extension of deregulation of GMO potato: APHIS invites public comment

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6. The request was made today. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act

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Video: A working day of planting potatoes in the Netherlands

In this video by YouTube content creator, Martijn of the Trainspotter channel, followed planting activities on the arable farming operation L.B. van Nieuwenhuijzen. The operation is located on the island of Goeree Overflakkee in the Netherlands. Farm operators were planting potatoes with a brand new Fendt 940MT vario and 8-row Grimme GL860 planter. Preparing the soil was done using a Fendt 926 vario and a 4.5m wide tilling machine, and hilling was done with two Fendt 720’s with Grimme 4-row rotary hillers.

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Bushwick Potato Commission’s Ken Gray reports on the potato market

As a grocery cart staple, fresh produce and its bounty of categories has been one guarantee during the tumultuous past couple of months. In fact, when Kayla Webb of AndNowUKnow checked in on the potato market with Bushwick Potato Commission, Ken Gray confirmed that, if anything, the pandemic has highlighted the value and versatility of fresh potatoes for families in the United States.

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Fighting beetles the low-tech way…

Well, as the expression goes – where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Especially if a plan’s got to be made to rid one’s potatoes of them free-mealing Colorado potato beetles…

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Analysis: European potato area up a little on last year

European potato growers did not reduce planting despite the Covid-19 crisis, latest estimates from grower organisations show, World Potato Markets editor Cedric Porter writes. Even average yields would result in large crops, which could lead to an over-supplied market, especially if demand from foodservice buyers of potatoes, fries and other potato products does not return to normal in the next few months, according to Porter.

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.

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Eye on Russia: The potato farms of the Nizhny Novgorod region

The Nizhny Novgorod Region in Russia is a region with a long history of cultivating potatoes and vegetables. The region is fully self supporting with potatoes, and this is largely due to several high-end farming enterprises that operate in the area. Latkin LLC (1800 ha under potatoes in 2020) is the largest producer of potatoes in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The farm is located in the village of Kozhino, Arzamas district. For more than 28 years, the company has been led by Evgeny Evgenievich Latkin. Read more about this operation and others.

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US potato industry seeks improved coronavirus-related relief from govt

The potato industry wants more equitable relief under the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP. According to a report published by Capital Press, the National Potato Council and 18 other potato-industry organizations in a June 22 letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA should make the crop eligible for the relief category with the highest per-unit reimbursement for losses, and increase other rates “to a meaningful level that is equitable with other commodities.

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What is the value of using crop wild relatives in potato breeding?

It may surprise you to learn that wild potatoes grow like weeds in South America. While farmers in the United States battle weeds like pigweed and lamb’s quarters, farmers in the Andes Mountains have to keep weedy potatoes in check. There are over 100 wild potato species and breeders have just scratched the surface for new variety development. As climate change and a growing population put additional strains on potato growers, we will continue to explore the possibilities offered by this rich genetic resource.

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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.

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Blight fungicide Percos has tuber blight recommendation on its label

The blight fungicide Percos (ametoctradin and dimethomorph) from BASF is one of the few blight fungicides which has a label recommendation for reducing tuber blight, according to a press release issued by BASF in the UK today. Percos is also said to have the benefit of being from a unique class of chemistry. “Percos is a vital part of any programme due to its unique activity on tuber blight brought about by the active ametoctradin as well as its unique mode of action and no cross resistance to most other fungicides,“ according to Paul Goddard, potato specialist for BASF.

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COVID-19 cases detected at Frito-Lay factory in Beijing: Customers upset

Haunted by the confirmed COVID-19 cases at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay factory in Beijing over the weekend, customers have been left in limbo as to whether they can still purchase their beloved potato chips, according to a news report by CGTN. Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said there’s no evidence showing PepsiCo’s potato chips have been contaminated with the coronavirus. PepsiCo said all staff at its food factory in Beijing’s Daxing District are home isolating after eight COVID-19 infections were reported at the factory on Saturday.

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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.

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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.

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GRIMME product specialist lead to present on global mechanization trends during upcoming WPC webinar

World Potato Congress Inc.’s webinar this Thursday June 25 will feature Mr. Burkhard Kuhlmann of GRIMME, who will be presenting on “Mechanisation Levels for the Global Potato Industry”.Burkhard Kuhlmann is the Team Leader, Product Specialist Potato Equipment worldwide with GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik. He has visited potato farmers worldwide including Africa, China, India, Russia and all over Europe. During the web inare he will refer to comparitive mechanisation levels in the potato industry from around the world

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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.

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‘How the potato came to India and conquered our lives’

From foreign food to a pantry staple, the potato’s journey to India traverses thousands of kilometres and three centuries of culinary assimilation, writes Diya Kohli in this piece published by Conde Nast Traveller. And in times of inflation, it is an upswing in potato prices that throw budgets off for all Indians, from a regular middle-class home to a street food vendor and an upscale restaurant. In the early days of lockdown, people in India stocked up in bulk. Primary among their list of pandemic staples—rice, dal and potatoes.

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HZPC Sadokas in Russia to discuss 2020 growing season during webinar

HZPC Sadokas invites farmers and other stakeholders to attend the upcoming webinar “Technology of cultivation of potato varieties HZPC. Highlights of the growing season “.The webinar will be hosted on July 3 at 13.00 (Moscow time). The webinar will be hosted on July 3 at 13.00 (Moscow time).

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AHDB-hosted webinars on post-CIPC potato sprout control coming up soon

The 2020 storage season is the 1st where store managers in Europe cannot apply Chlorpropham (CIPC) in store. AHDB Potatoes in the UK initiated two webinars where growers and store managers will be informed on the latest developments in this regard by experts from Sutton Bridge CSR, Adrian Cunnington and Adrian Briddon. The webinars will focus on storing for the processing and fresh sectors respecctively.

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Dewulf launches new cultivator

Potato and root crop equipment manufacturer, Dewulf, recently announced the launch of the new SC 360 cultivator. This machine follows on the heels of the previously introduced SC 300 and SC Compact, and is the third type in the SC series of cultivators. The SC 360 was developed for growers who plant 4 x 90 cm rows and want perfect planting bed preparation.

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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.

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Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of the journalism literati, and usually associated with such apocalyptic terms as “ecosystem collapse” and “food crisis”. The culprit: modern agriculture, which is often linked to the Brave Not-So-New World of GMOs and gene-edited crops and the chemicals purportedly used to support it.

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‘The Gamble’ – The Washington potato story

The Gamble is a 60-minute documentary that explores the personal stories of farm families and their heritage. Through the colorful and touching stories of those who have endured the evolution of the industry, we learn firsthand the true grit that it took to survive and prosper. Those working in the farming industry in general around the world, will be able to identify with much of what is recounted in this documentary. Well worth a watch.

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Fight against powdery scab: South African researchers identified two ideal plant species for potato crop rotation

A study by researchers in the Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria identified oat and soybean as “ideal to be included as trap crops in rotations with potatoes”. This is a first study in southern Africa on alternative weed and cultivated hosts of the cercozoan Spongospora subterraneaf. sp. subterranea, which causes the potato disease powdery scab.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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