News March 2020

Kiwi potato leadership on display: Zero net emissions by 2050

In February 2020, the Potatoes NZ board adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project (SVS) is a multi-stream nationwide project that will transition crop production to more sustainable land management practices while growing resilient communities and economies.

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The 7 habits of highly effective agronomists

The demand for agronomists in the agriculture industry is growing every single day, writes Shane Thomas, Global Digital Ag Lead at FarmersEdge in this interesting article. Thomas says producing profitable crops while minimizing a farmers risk and benefitting their operation in the long term is getting more and more complex every year. Whether it be new crop protection products, agronomic[Read More…]

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Canada: How COVID-19 influenced the potato industry on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry had to scramble this month to respond to demand that changed seemingly overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. “The last two or three weeks have been anything but typical in the potato world,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. While demand for fresh potatoes surged demand for processed potatoes — such as french fries — fell significantly, he said. Restaurants are a major customer for these products, and their business has suffered as people across North America are being told to stay home.

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Closure of chip shops in Britain bad news for potato growers

The closure of fish and chip shops due to coronavirus has left thousands of tonnes of potatoes languishing in storage – threatening to put farmers out of business, Farmers Weekly reports. Based in Cambridgeshire, potato merchants Abbey Produce usually supplies about 30,000t of potatoes into the chip shop trade every year. But sales director Duncan Negus told Farmers Weekly his company hadn’t been able to sell a single potato for more than a week.

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Integration of chemical and biologicals the way forward for BASF

BASF are repositioning themselves in the fruit and vegetable sector with this being identified as one out of the four strategic foci for the future. Matthew Goodson, who heads up the speciality crop sector in the UK, explains that the company has laid out its future intentions and has indicated that the fruit and vegetable sector will be considered as a key sector for the company to develop. The company has been working hard to develop biological products in this speciality sector, believing that integration of chemical and biologicals has to be the way forward.

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New Chairman of Potatoes USA: ‘My main goal is helping the U.S. to fulfill the potato needs of the American people’

Potatoes USA, the marketing and promotion board for the U.S. potato industry, elected its new leadership during its 48th Annual Meeting on March 11. Marty Myers of Boardman, Oregon was elected Chairman of the Board. Myers said that up until this month, his main goal as chairman was to increase outreach to the processing community. With the impact of COVID-19 however, Myers’ priorities are shifting gears.

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COVID-19 impact: The Dutch need to move a ‘mountain of potatoes’

Potato growers are facing huge losses now restaurants and snack bars have closed their doors and compensation plans have not yet materialised, the NRC reports. Now that the majority of restaurants, bars and fast food outlets worldwide have closed their doors to contain coronavirus, growers are looking at a stock of 1.5 million tons of potatoes, two thirds of which cannot be sold.

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CIP responds to COVID-19 pandemic

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world and disrupt the operations of many organizations, the International Potato Center (CIP) says in a recent press release it is now actively taking measures to ensure its staff, beneficiaries and partners remain healthy. CIP has national offices in 19 countries where the spread of coronavirus poses a substantial threat. It wants to make sure its work does not exacerbate the problem. As such, CIP has updated its operations policies and made certain recommendations to staff members.

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NZ: As COVID-19 decimates job numbers, one Kiwi industry can’t hire fast enough

Breaking the silence of a nationwide lockdown, the hum of a tractor is the only sound. Farmers are among the country’s essential workers, so farms and fields are remaining busy keeping food on Kiwis’ plates. And despite panic-buying, there is no shortage. New Zealand could survive on potatoes alone, writes Conor Whitten in an article published by Newshub Nation.

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How the potato chip got its healthy new snack status

Potato chips have come a long way since the first mass produced varieties in the early 20th? century. Since then, the product has taken on many different forms to cater to evolving consumer needs, writes Thiago Roriz, TNA Solution’s General Manager for Latin America, in an article published by BakeryandSnacks.com. But it’s not just new flavours; potato chips have been gaining ground on the health front too.

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Screening for higher-yielding crop traits revolutionised

To drive progress toward higher-yielding crops, a team from the University of Illinois is revolutionising the ability to screen plants for key traits across an entire field, writes Hugo Claver, Web editor for Future Farming, in a recent article. The team analysed data collected with specialised hyperspectral cameras that capture part of the light spectrum (much of which is invisible to the human eye) that is reflected off the surface of plants. Using hyperspectral analysis, scientists can tease out meaningful information from these bands of reflected light to estimate traits related to photosynthesis.

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GRIMME opens ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters

GRIMME announced on Friday that it has opened a ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters in the industrial area of Niedersachsenpark in Rieste, Germany. The goal is to use the track to put the performance of self-propelled harvesters to the test and train service technicians. It is located next to Grimme’s self-propelled harvester factory.

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‘Potatoes in Practice’ event cancelled for 2020

The Potatoes in Practice Committee announced that the 2020 event, scheduled to take place in August in Dundee, was cancelled. The next event was scheduled for Thursday 12 August at Balruddery Farm, Angus. The Committee says cancellation of the event this year will allow those in agriculture to focus their resources, abilities and attention on the most pressing matters which are prioritising primary agricultural production and keeping the population safe.

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Europatat confirms its commitment to support members amid COVID-19 crisis

In the latest Europatat Newsletter published today, it is said that as the COVID-19 is spreading through Europe, and on top of the terrible human component and personal challenges that the outbreak is causing, there is also an unprecedented widespread disruption to companies involved in the trade of agricultural products. Europatat says the potato sector faces a difficult time and the organization is active in supporting members, citing examples.

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Spudnik to continue manufacturing during COVID-19 outbreak

This past Friday, Idaho-based Spudnik Equipment released a statement in which is said that all its locations will remain open and available to growers, despite the Stay at Home order issued last week in Idaho and other closures prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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