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Scottish based Caithness potato variety company demerge to become ‘Caledonia Potatoes’

The Caithness Group of Companies successfully completed a demerger on 30th June 2020. From 1st July 2020, a new Company, Caledonia Potatoes Ltd, has been created by former Caithness contributors Alistair Melrose, Mike McDiarmid and Robert Doig. The prior Caithness team says they will continuously work in the many areas and with several of the varieties that growers will recognise as having been associated with Caithness previously. “For many of you the change will be seamless, apparent in name only,” they say.

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Research discovery could provide strategy to increase potato yields

James Hutton Institute plant scientists in the UK have discovered that a specific protein encoded by the potato genome is a key component of tuberisation, the process by which the potato plant initiates and develops tubers,. The research findings have been unveiled in the latest issue of The Plant Journal, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Scottish Government’s RESAS Strategic Research Programme. It is hoped that the genetic discovery will enable potato breeders to develop fast-maturing, more resilient potato varieties that will safeguard production during climate change.

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Agrico East Africa goes digital – and Kenyan potato farmers love it…

The Agrico East Africa team was working hard the past few months to produce video tutorials on ‘Profitable Potato Farming in Kenya’. They did this in a well-rewarded effort to continue their work of rendering agronomic support to smallholder farmers in Kenya, despite the debilitating COVID-19 restrictions that was imposed on Kenyan citizens during the pandemic. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed.

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New app aids accurate slug pellet application for British growers

A new online tool aiming to improve accuracy of slug pellet applications is now available, allowing operators to effectively set up uniform and precise pellet doses, according to a news story published by Farmers Weekly in the UK today. The app, named Calibration Wizard, which has been developed by slug pellet manufacturer Certis, in partnership with SCS Spreader and Sprayer Testing, hopes to reduce labour time calibrating equipment.

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McCain steps in to support UK potato industry, put three-to-five-year loyalty scheme in place for growers

The UK’s £1bn potato growing sector has been hit so hard by extreme weather and coronavirus that its largest customer is stepping in with £25m of support to secure its supply chain. The hardest hit growers have been those who sell in the spot market rather than under contract, such as those selling for “fresh chipping” on the premises of food outlets. McCain, which buys about 15 per cent of the UK’s annual potato crop, normally has one-year contracts with growers. But as part of the £25m investment it will put in place a three-to-five-year loyalty scheme so farmers can be assured of their market.

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Global potato statistics: An overview

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains a databasis on many different crops, named FAOSTAT. It provides a powerful search facility that users can employ and manipulate to obtain data about a chosen crop. I extracted data for the potato crop related to “production” and “area harvested”, and present the results in the tables below (for 130 countries where potatoes are cultivated). The latest FAOSTAT data available is for 2018.

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New ACC Canada Gold-Dorée ‘could soon outstrip Yukon Gold’

There’s a new potato in town and its name is AAC Canada Gold-Dorée. The new spud is yellow-skinned, pleasantly round, and, some say, even tastier than Yukon Gold. AAC Canada Gold-Dorée may just be setting the new gold standard for the fresh potato market in the country, reports Emily Leeson in Farm Focus. She writes that the new variety is licensed by New Brunswick-based and family-owned Canadian Eastern Growers Inc., which acquired the North American rights for 20 years back in 2017.

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‘Another unpredictable year for potatoes’

Potato acreage will be lower this year but by how much? Tom Karst, Editor-in-Chief of The Packer asks this question in an article published earlier today. He says an acreage estimate from the subscription-based North American Potato Market News indicates a fairly significant cut in potato acreage, according to a report in Spudman. According to Mr Karst, it sounds like the early scuttlebutt is that the processors may have underestimated the rebound associated with French fry demand, which is coming back faster than the processors anticipated. That could set up a competition for potatoes between processors and fresh potato shippers later in the year.

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Czech potato farmer develops one-of-a-kind vending machine

One local potato producing company in the south of the Czech Republic is taking advantage of tourism to the area and developed and then installed a one-of-a-kind potato vending machine in the barn door on its property, reports Samantha Tatro for expats-cz. The vending machine lets people insert coins and to buy fresh potatoes, according to Viktor Kopa?ka, the company’s director. The varieties of potatoes available at the vending machine will change over time, depending on what’s in season. Right now, the machine sells the Suzan variety of potatoes.

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Upcoming webinar: Desiccation – how to apply diquat alternatives to potato crops

Next Wednesday, 19 August 2020, AHDB in the UK will host a webinar focused on potato desiccation. During this online event, participants will get an in-field view of this year’s SPot Farm desiccation trials, as AHDB continues to provide independent data on how best to replace diquat as a desiccant. Observations from this year’s crop will be discussed, as well as a look at completed trial results from previous seasons and an interview with lead trials researcher Mark Stalham, before an online Q&A.

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‘Unsung potato heroes’: Indigenous peoples hold the past and future of food in their hands

August 9 is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. For centuries, crop diversity has enriched the world, but has been taken out of the hands of Indigenous people in doing so. That story is only beginning to shift as the rest of the world starts to give Indigenous farmers the respect they are due.

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‘Get the skinny on it’: Proposed class action over TGI Friday’s ‘potato skins’ snack comes to close

Before a federal judge could decide whether it was fraud to call a snack “potato skins,” the remaining sides in a proposed class action lawsuit have settled. Troncoso’s lawsuit said the snack contained no potato skins, only potato flakes. She said because of the packaging and because TGI Friday’s sells a potato skin appetizer at its restaurants, she was led to believe the snacks would contain real potato skins.

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UK late blight fungicide trials: ‘No significant decline in sensitivity found’

Results from blight fungicide testing show no significant decline in sensitivity according to research supported by AHDB. Data taken from trials carried out throughout 2019 means no changes in recommendations for blight control issued by the Fungicide Resistance Action Group (FRAG). Research leader David Cooke said: “…this data does not show any immediate cause for concern for potato growers that newer blight genotypes are causing problems for fungicide programmes.

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Organic potatoes: Scottish crop put at risk by politicking, says former Minister

Scotland grows an estimated 70% of the UK’s organic potatoes – but that’s now been put at risk from blight infection because of a bizarre ruling by the Scottish Government. So writes Colin Clark, former Scotland Office Minister with responsibility for food and farming, in an article published by The Scottish Farmer. Mr Clark writes that the UK farming minister has authorised the emergency use of copper hydroxide to control late blight, however the Scottish government ruled against using copper to control the disease.

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New herbicide approved for control of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops in New Zealand

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority for use in New Zealand, subject to certain conditions. Boxer Gold is intended to be used as a herbicide for the treatment of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops. Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers.

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Australian family farm has three generations of history with McCain

Callum Murphy is a Ballarat potato grower whose family’s relationship with McCain Foods Ballarat spans three generations. Callum, his father, and his grandfather have worked with McCain for 40 years to streamline production and create a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Callum Murphy of AP Murphy and Sons in Dunstown is proud to uphold his family’s relationship with McCain Ballarat for the third consecutive generation. “The relationship has been solid and it’s reliable to work with McCain. We work with them each year to improve output,” Callum says.

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AVR’s foldable ridger meets demand for mechanical weed control

Mechanical weed control is more and more becoming an essential part of farmers cultivation practices, and is no longer limited to biological cultivation only. For years now, AVR has been successfully designing and selling its combination ridging machine, which consists of a base chassis with a characteristic ‘weight transfer’ system, to which different elements can be added. This way the machine can be used as a speed ridger, hoe-rake ridger or an ‘eco ridger’. AVR introduces a foldable version to be able to remove weeds from even more ridges in one working pass

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World Potato Congress Inc Industry Award Nominations now open

President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), Mr. Romain Cools, Belgium and the Chairman of the WPC Industry Awards Committee, Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin, USA are pleased to announce that nominations are now being called for the 2021 World Potato Congress Industry Awards. The World Potato Congress Industry Awards is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. Prominent past Industry Award recipients include: Mr. J.R. Simplot and Mr. Harrison McCain.

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Improved market access for Aussie potatoes in Thailand

Australian potato farmers are enjoying improved access to the Thai market with two key commitments now realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and the removal of tariff rate quotas that limited the volume that could access the lower TAFTA tariff rate for Australian seed and processing potatoes. Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the removal of limits was a boost for potato farmers.

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Resurgence in Northern Ireland’s potato consumption

The latest Kantar figures confirm that Northern Ireland’s potato packing sector has grown by 3.9% over the past year in terms of total turnover. All the sector’s key parameters: including frequency of purchase and volumes purchased per retail visit are all up with one very obvious exception, according to a report by Farming Life. Wilson’s Country managing director Lewis Cunningham takes up the story: “The average price of potatoes in the shops has fallen over the past 12 months.

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PepsiCo to increase investment in India’s Uttar Pradesh

PepsiCo India has decided to increase its investment from Rs 500 crore to Rs 800 crore [approx 106,6 mil USD] in Uttar Pradesh state. This would provide direct and indirect employment to over 1500 people in the state. Siddharth Kalhans of Business Standard reports. The UP MSME and export promotion minister Siddharth Nath Singh said that earlier PepsiCo was to invest Rs 500 crore [approx 66,7 mil USD] in the potato chips plant at Mathura – which has been increased now.

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CIP’s 2019 annual report celebrates a year of discovery, innovation and impact

Technology to accelerate potato breeding in Lima… state of the art tools to diagnose crop diseases in the fields of Uganda… and fresh hearty varieties to boost incomes for smallholder farmers in India. These are just a few of the accomplishments of the International Potato Center (CIP) in 2019, which is commemorating those feats, and others, in its annual report, released this week. The annual report presents compelling snapshots of CIP’s work with 161 partners in 19 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, telling stories about relief work with sweetpotato in Mozambique and simple storage innovations that are putting more income in the pockets of Ethiopian farmers.

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Potato haulm destruction – take a hybrid approach without diquat

With many seed potato crops around Scotland coming up to size rapidly, potato growers are getting to grips with haulm destruction which will become part of the ‘new norm’ in the post-diquat era. The good news is that there are still viable options to bring down even vigorous canopies, but a change of mindset is needed. The industry standard is now to ‘flail-and-spray’. The canopy is destroyed with a pulveriser and one or more follow-up desiccant sprays are used to finish the job and to prevent regrowth.

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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