Author: Lukie Pieterse

Potato blight warning issued for Ireland

“Well that’s just what we need,: read a post/news item on the , Irish Post today, Ireland has been through a lot lately. The open border between the North and Republic was under threat from Brexit, the country is constantly getting battered by some new storm, and its citizens have been under lockdown for close to three months now.

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World Potato Congress Inc. announces three new Directors to its Board

Romain Cools, President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) is pleased to announce that three new Directors are being be appointed to its Board effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Nigel Crump, Australia and Mrs. Elven Huang, China are former WPC International Advisors and Mr. Bret Nedrow in the USA are all welcomed additions to WPC, bringing with them vast experiences in the global potato industry.

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Viewpoint: 70% of consumers say ‘natural’ food is healthier, but there’s no science behind the marketing hype

When you hear the word “natural,” what thoughts or images come to mind? If you think of flowers, puppies, fresh baked bread, or other wholesome ideas, you’re not alone, writes Jack Bobo on the Gernetic Literacy Project. Products that were once only found in “health food stores” or specialty stores like Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, or Natural Grocers are now available in traditional grocery and convenience stores.

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Hyperspectral imaging for sustainable, more productive potato crops

Hyperspectral imaging, a growing area in remote sensing, holds the promise of providing a solution for crop monitoring over large areas, and scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working with partners in industry and academia to investigate the potential of the technology to maximise the sustainability and productivity of key food crops. The InnovateUK-funded project “In-field Optical Detection of Potato Disease” primarily explored the utility of aerial imaging (drone captured multispectral and high-res RGB) to detect and differentiate between a selection of economically important potato diseases.

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How COVID-19 has increased mindful consumerism

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 upturned lives and livelihoods in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. One of the responses we’ve seen as people have adjusted and then readjusted to a new normal is a change in consumer behaviours.

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Lamb Weston-RDO Frozen employee tested positive for COVID-19

The Lamb Weston-RDO Frozen plant in Park Rapids had an employee test positive for COVID-19 last week. According to Shelby Stoolman, a communications and external relations officer with Lamb Weston, a team member from the Park Rapids facility notified the company of a positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday, June 2.

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Potato sales at retail soar in the US

Retail potato sales soar, increasing 10.4% in dollar sales and 9.3% in volume sales between July 1, 2019 and May 19, 2020, according to IRI. All potato categories across the retail store, except deli-prepared sides, increased in dollar and volume sales, according to a report by Potatoes USA. Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, and canned potatoes saw double-digit increases in both dollar[Read More…]

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European potato growers hit with loss of another key seed treatment

Rhizoctonia control is set to become much more difficult for potato growers with news of a second seed treatment being withdrawn, just weeks after the loss of Monceren. EU regulators have recommended the withdrawal of penflufen, a fungicide contained in the powder seed tuber treatment product Emesto Prime DS. It is used to control Rhizoctonia solani, which causes stem and stolon canker and black scurf in potatoes.

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Coronavirus collapsed America’s food system, but made for “a pivotal and magical moment in local food”

Sheldon Rockey weaves through pallets of potatoes in a long-retired high school gym as a small team of workers wash and package his trademarked fingerlings. “We just weren’t prepared for this, so there will be some livestock that will eat some gourmet potatoes this year,” says Rockey, who saw his innovative and competitive strategy of selling tiny high-end potatoes to a wholesaler supplying cruise ships and restaurants collapse in mid-March as the pandemic settled in the U.S.

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Total Canadian potato storage holdings 12.5% above 3 year average; some chipping potatoes may need to be imported

Kevin MacIsaac, General manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, reported earlier today that the current Canadian potato storage holdings figures were released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on June 1. According to Kevin, “good demand for table potatoes has lowered fresh supplies 15% below the 3-yr. average. Processing stocks are up 14.4%. Seed growers are also in a difficult spot with seed left.”

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Outlook brighter for Maine’s potato industry as coronavirus restrictions relax

After months of struggles due to the shutdown of the food service industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the Aroostook County potato industry in Maine is seeing increased sales as states begin to reopen their economies. Rather than going unsold, many more potatoes from the 2019 crop will end up on plates and trays across the country as restaurant-ready items such as french fries and mashed potatoes. Still, many of the traditional venues for Maine potatoes remain closed off.

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Idaho potato farmers stuck with mountains of spuds after COVID-19 decimated demand

While Idaho will continue to be known for its famous potatoes, Gem State farmers are experiencing a major gut-punch after the coronavirus pandemic mashed the demand for potatoes, especially the ones meant for french fries. “With an excess of taters that may go to waste, farmers are scrambling to figure out what to do with the 2020 crop of spuds. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants across the country to close down there is an overwhelming number of potatoes that could go to waste, according to the Idaho Potato Commission.

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Opinion: How you can grieve the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 when you couldn’t say goodbye

Dear Potato News Today readers: The following heartfelt and deeply moving and very human story, written by Jeboah Miranda, is not in itself directly related to the global potato industry at all, but it is still for sure related to the harsh reality of the times we all live in today – amidst the chaos caused by thecurrent global pandemic brought about by the COVID-19. virus Somewhat what the author of the the “age-old” pop song tries to communicate, when saying: “How small we are, how little we know… ]

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Pale cyst nematode: The USDA takes more comments on potato pest regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has re-opened a public comment period on changes to regulations of pale cyst nematode-infested areas, according to a report by Chris Koger of The Packer over the past weekend. Pale cyst nematodes (PCN) affect potato crops. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service took initial comments twice in 2019, and is accepting comments until July 6 “on the science supporting the protocols, including the sources of the methods informing their content,” according to a USDA news release.

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Sunday fun news: Hot-doggin’ pooches spread joy from back of motorcycle

Mike Doucette pulls up to an intersection in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Canada), and the man in the car beside him looks over and does a double-take. Did he just see what he thought he saw? Yes he did. A small black dog on the back of a three-wheeled motorcycle wearing a baby blue helmet and matching goggles. Low-riding in a custom-made carriage attached to the back is a bigger dog wearing a pink helmet and goggles…

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Carbon footprint tool helps farmers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions

A carbon footprint tool, which aims to help farmers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, has been updated to include a soil sequestration module, according to a report by Tillage & Soils. Agrecalc was developed by SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), in response to the growing need for a simple-to-use, accurate and science-driven carbon audit tool.

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Utz Quality Foods becomes Utz Brands; to go public

Snack maker Utz Quality Foods, LLC has entered into a definitive agreement with Collier Creek Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, to form Utz Brands, Inc., a leading pure-play snack food platform. After nearly a century as a family-owned, privately-held company, the transaction will introduce Utz as a publicly listed company, with an expected initial enterprise value of approximately $1.56 billion, or 11.6x its estimated 2021 pro forma adjusted EBITDA of $134 million. It is expected Utz Brands will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “UTZ.”

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Could the global loss of food service pressure the UK’s potato processing market?

The release of the end-March stocks estimate did enable the UK domestic market to encapsulate the partial impact that the coronavirus is having on the potato industry. However, it does not allow us to paint the whole picture as we finish this marketing year and head into next season. Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, wrote the following report that we gladly re-publish here.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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