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Smooth harvest, but short yield for Canada’s Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba’s potato crop won’t be breaking yield records, reports Alexis Stockford for Manitoba Co-operator. Then again, at least the crop is off the field. It has not been the case for the last two years. Producers were forced to abandon a significant portion of their crop in both 2018 and 2019 due to wet falls and damage from frost.

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McCain Foods US to support 750,000 meals for No Kid Hungry campaign

Following the announcement of McCain Foods US partnership with the No Kid Hungry organization, the company says on its LinkedIn channel that it is delighted to share that its financial donation will provide the equivalent of 750,000 meals. This donation is part of the No Kid Hungry ’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts that will help provide children with the most important school supply: Food.

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Brexit: British seed potato sector on brink of EU and NI export ban

Britain’s seed potato sector is in turmoil, with just 10 weeks before exports to Europe and Northern Ireland (NI) face a total ban under a no-deal Brexit, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. As an EU member state, Britain has exported 30,000t of seed worth £13.5m to mainland Europe each winter. However, after 31 December, Britain will be classified under EU trade rules as a “third country” unless a trade deal is reached with the EU.

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Growth of yellow potatoes and overall quality fuel optimism in Red River Valley

The outlook is good for high-quality crops of red and yellow potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota, reports Sandy Lindblad Lee for Produce Business. Optimistic predictions for an excellent crop of consistent volume of Red River Valley potatoes is gratifying news for the multitude of buyers and consumers who look forward to these famous fresh spuds. This forecast is even more welcome following last season’s heavy losses in the Valley’s central and southern growing regions.

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.

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Haith bags global enquiries after Facebook video goes viral

Haith Group has seen a resurgence of interest in its innovative bag filling machine after a video posted on social media was viewed more than one million times. The twenty second video which shows the Haith Supa-Bag 10 mobile bagging trailer filling ten one-ton jumbo bags was posted by the company last month. One week later, video views had exceeded 100,000, and the company had received seven sales enquiries from people in the UK, New Zealand, North America, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The already popular video was later posted by Pro Horizon and viewings rocketed to over one million.

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Why South African potato prices exploded by 140% in just four months

South Africa has seen a massive surge in potato prices in recent months, after an unusually cold winter in Limpopo hurt the early part of the province’s harvest This month, the average market price of a bag of 10kg potatoes in South Africa (across all classes and markets) reached an eyewatering R83. As recently as June, the average price was R34.40, according to data from Potatoes SA. This means an increase of 140% in four months.

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Researcher said to solve ‘potato herbicide puzzle’

When potato farmers show the University of Idaho’s Pamela Hutchinson apparent early season damage from herbicides, she wonders if excess rainfall is to blame. “The last three years, I’ve been asked by growers farmers to go out in the field in the spring or early summer. They see what they thought was herbicide damage to potatoes before or right after emergence,” she said. “Unusual conditions during the spring probably are what drove what you would consider injury. That condition was excess rainfall.” Hutchinson, associate professor and potato cropping-systems weed scientist with UI Extension in Aberdeen, is studying how excess rainfall plays into potato injury and weed control.

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European Union: Temporary chlorpropham MRL gets green light

It’s a green light for a temporary Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham. That level may be 0.4 mg/kg in ware potatoes. A European Union Standing Committee agreed to this in a digital vote. The temporary MRL is expected to take effect around the summer of 2021. The exact starting date depends on further decision-making within the EU. The current 10.0 mg/kg MRL will remain in force. That’s until the temporary MRL comes into effect. The use of Chlorpropham has been banned. But, ware potatoes will still be delivered under the current MRL. That’s in the 2020/2021 season.

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BOULDER CANYON debuts new thin and crispy potato chips made with avocado oil

BOULDER CANYON® brings adventurous, flavorful snack food innovation to those seeking a better-for-you experience with their new Thin & Crispy potato chips. BOULDER CANYON continues its impressive track record of providing simple and healthier snack foods options. BOULDER CANYON has risen to be a fast-growing salty snack brand with the number one potato chip SKU in the natural channel, BOULDER CANYON Avocado Oil Sea Salt Potato Chip.

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Earth has warmest September on record, and 2020 may clinch hottest year

The planet just recorded its hottest September since at least 1880, according to three of the authoritative temperature-tracking agencies in the world, reports Andrew Freedman in an article for The Washington Post. The data, most of which was released Wednesday, shows that 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record, with the possibility of tying[Read More…]

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First successful True Potato Seed (TPS) trial of Solynta and Solidaridad in Mozambique shows potential

A first pilot using True Potato Seed (TPS) in Angonia District, Tete province in Mozambique, conducted by Solidaridad and Solynta shows great potential to drastically improve and innovate potato production in Mozambique. The potato crop is increasingly important for nutrition security and farmer livelihoods in Mozambique and many countries in Africa. Between August 2019 and April 2020 Solidaridad Mozambique and Solynta executed the first hybrid TPS field trial ever in Mozambique: growing potatoes from true seeds rather than traditional seed potatoes.

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Ireland: Potato growers supplying food service having ‘one of the worst years on record’

According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.

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Project to develop new potato varieties will benefit breeders, growers and consumers

Potatoes are a widely-loved vegetable. Baked, mashed, fried or chipped, they are a tasty treat. But they aren’t perfect. Potatoes present a big challenge for the plant breeders who work on the crop, trying to develop new varieties that are more savory, sustainable, storable or growable. “Potato is the world’s leading vegetable crop, but it hasn’t realized the genetic gains needed to keep pace with industry and consumer demands,” says Jeff Endelman, UW–Madison associate professor in the horticulture department.

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PotatoEurope 2021: Pre-registration opens, and participants are enthusiastically signing up

Last week the organizers of the PotatoEurope 2021 event opened pre-registration for participants interested in taking part in the coming event, and they report that a great number of participants have opted to sign up for the upcoming edition. PotatoEurope takes place each year in one of four partnering countries, namely Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. Next year PotatoEurope 2021 will be hosted in The Netherlands on 1 and 2 September at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Field crops in Lelystad. The event is expected to feature more than 275 exhibitors from all over the world, welcoming more than 16.000 visitors in the two days during which it will take place.

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Russian potato exports on the up, but imports still exceed exports

Roman Nekrasov, director of the crop production department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Russia reportedly said that in the first nine months of 2020, Russia exported 254,800 tons of potatoes (both table and seed), which is almost 36% more than in the same period last year. Nevertheless. while potato imports are declining, they still exceed Russian potato exports. Over the first nine months of 2020, 293,400 tons were imported into Russia (in 2019 the official figure provided is 298,300 tons). This means that it is necessary to develop the storage capacity of potatoes in Russia.

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British potato packer boosts output with new equipment

One of the UK’s leading potato packers has seen a dramatic increase in productivity after investing in new machinery. Over the last six months, IPL, which is part of the ASDA family, has seen throughput increase by 25%. In February, the company doubled the number of GIC machines operating at its Scottish factory and has since seen productivity increase by 15% and mechanical downtime reduce by 2%. Kirsty Reid, Factory Manager at IPL Inchture, says: “Introducing the two new GIC machines to our line at IPL Inchture in February has been incredibly successful. We now operate four GIC8000s and as a result, the tonnage we can handle each hour has increased.

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‘Potato-smart’: Idaho potato worker becomes Internet sensation and sends Fleetwood Mac sales soaring

When you’re on your way to work and your ride breaks down, you’ve got a couple of options. You can call a tow truck, call an Uber, or, if you’re like Nathan Apodaca, you can grab your bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice and your phone, hop on your longboard—and make a viral video that nearly breaks the Internet. As the old adage goes, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Rather than miss his shift at the potato processing plant where he works when his 2005 Dodge Durango—with 330,000-plus miles on the odometer— quit on him last month, the 37-year-old father of two took matters into his own hands…

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A changing market landscape in the British potato industry: What behavioural changes has Coronavirus driven?

Following an extraordinary few months for the industry, join the AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight team during a series of webinars, focused on reviewing how the market and consumers have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, and what opportunities and threats this now presents for AHDB sectors. Grace Randall joins Kim Malley for this webinar focused on potatoes, discussing how purchasing and consumption has been impacted by coronavirus, pulling out the opportunities and threats for the category in the future.

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NPC CEO on accessing COVID relief aid; Potato Expo 2021 update

In the latest Eye on Potatoes podcast, NPC CEO Kam Quarles calls in to discuss how potato growers are accessing $14 billion in aid available through USDA’s new CFAP 2 program and the latest Congressional efforts to fund the government until early December. Kam also provides an update on Potato Expo 2021, currently scheduled for January 6-7 as an in-person and online hybrid event and NPC’s Annual Meeting, moved to coincide with February’s Potato D.C. Fly-In.

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All hail the rise of the ‘climate-smart’ potato

The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized, writes Sandra Cordon in an article published by Landscape News. Sandra writes that some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food. In step, researchers around the world are hurrying to find ways to increase the quality and yield from potato production through targeted varieties better suited to local weather and soil conditions.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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