News May 2021

R.S. Cockerill continues to grow with Aldi

A family-owned British potato farm in Yorkshire is celebrating 30 years of a successful partnership with Aldi. Located in Dunnington, R.S. Cockerill started supplying potatoes to the supermarket shortly after it opened its first British store back in 1990, making it one of Aldi’s longest supplier relationships. Starting from supplying just one pallet of potatoes with a team of 20, the business now supplies potatoes to over 150 stores across the country and employs over 145 people.

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Can extracts from northern-hardwood trees become a substitute for CIPC? Canadian researchers think so

Chlorpropham (or CIPC) is widely used as a sprout suppressing agrochemical applied to stored potatoes almost globally, although its use has been banned by the EU not long ago. It is expected to be banned in Canada as well in future. Researchers in Quebec are optimistic about the anti-sprouting properties of extracts from black spruce, yellow birch and balsam fir that grow in northern-hardwood forests.

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Webinar: ‘Bulking potatoes – Increasing yield while maintaining quality’

Proper crop nutrition, taking into consideration the critical demand timings of the essential nutrients and proper application mechanics, can help to ensure the high yielding high quality potatoes that growers are looking for and the high quality that processors and consumers are demanding. This webinar on Tuesday May 11, will offer physiologically based suggestions on the best crop nutrition applications for the best potato crop. The webinar will be moderated by Spudman managing editor Zeke Jennings, and is sponsored by YARA North America.

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APH Group announces new Baselier rotary cultivator

APH Group recently introduced the brand new Baselier rotary cultivator to the market. The new Baselier has a heavy-duty frame as standard and the potential to add different options for vegetables on the machine. The new machine is fitted with the so-called, “Mountain APH Group high-speed plates”, to obtain the most “full ridges” compared to similar machines in the market. Standard these new plates are fitted with special high resistance wearing plates for smooth ridges and a low maintenance cost.

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Sweden’s Starch Producers ready to put CRISPR to work in developing ‘new climate-smart potato varieties’

Sweden’s Starch Producers organization expressed a very positive view about this conclusion from the European Commission’s study into new genomic techniques, and of the fresh optimism that it will now potentially be possible to use the CRISPR technique. Sweden’s Starch Producers will now be able to commercialise the efforts it has made in this field within the EU. They began a drive to use the CRISPR technique to develop new, climate-smart varieties of seed potatoes in 2014. The new varieties are now being cultivated for the second year.

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Linwood’s Chef’s Taste: ‘Setting out to change how consumers buy fresh potatoes’

For the first time in years; a significant change is coming to the UK’s fresh produce aisles. A Cambridgeshire potato business is setting out to change how consumers buy fresh potatoes. Chef’s Taste is an established fresh potato range used by chefs in the UK’s premium restaurants. Devised by Linwood Crops, Chef’s Taste presents the perfect potato for each culinary purpose: roasting, mashing, baking, chipping and salads. “The brand ultimately assures the very best taste, all year round,” the company says.

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UPGC reports on 2021 Canadian potato crop outlook, planting intentions

Potato acreage in Canada will not be officially reported until early July, so it is often helpful to take an early look at industry projections across the country, says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada in an industry report. MacIsaac says the analysis is more difficult this year as demand for potato products returns to pre-COVID levels. This is further precipitated by delayed contract negotiations between processors and growers across the country for pricing, and now the determination of volume needed for 21-22, he says.

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‘Scotland finds our quality chips to be extremely tasty’, says Wilson’s Country chairman

The growth in home cooking during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more families in Northern Ireland picking up packs of local potatoes for meals. It’s a development that Angus Wilson of Wilson’s Country in Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s largest potato processor, has been working towards for many years. In addition, novel potato products from the Northern Ireland company last week won acclaim for their quality and taste from retailers in Scotland in the shape of a major award for a UK producer in the influential Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.

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Restrain expands in Latin America, appoints Daniel Caldiz as international potato consultant

Restrain, the well-known manufacturer of anti-sprouting systems for potatoes, is expanding its business in Latin America. Since April 1, the company has been receiving assistance on the continent itself. International potato expert and agronomist Daniel Caldiz has joined Restrain as an international potato consultant. Caldiz was associated with the University of La Plata, Argentina as an agronomic researcher for more than twenty years. He then worked in research & development at McCain Foods between 2000 and 2020.

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Interseeding cultivation method shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching

A two-year project funded through the University of Wisconsin-Water Resources Institute is investigating an interseeding cultivation method for potato cropping that shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching. Researcher Kevin Masarik from UW-Stevens Point is pursuing what he termed an outside-the-box idea – interseeding rye, oat and millet between the rows of potatoes to create biomass to take up excess nitrates.

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Peruvian native potato vodka awarded sixth international gold medal

The first Peruvian vodka made from Andean native potatoes was awarded its sixth international gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the most important competitions in the United States, the State-run Innovate Peru (Innovate Yourself, Peru) Program reports. It says that Vodka 14 Inkas obtained this distinction for the third consecutive year – a celebration of the intensive research and development work done to achieve a high-quality product that meets international standards.

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The UK’s 50 best fish and chip shops – and what it takes to make the list

As it stands, there are around 10,500 fish and chip shops operating in the UK and for many of them the pandemic has proved fruitful. According to data from delivery platform Foodhub released last May, fish and chip orders shot up by 208 per cent since the start of lockdown. But at a booming time for the trade, what does it take to be the very best of them all? Fry Magazine’s annual top 50 list is open to all to enter, but the selection process is “in-depth”, according to Reece Head, Fry’s events director.

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No more plastic: Meade invests in new compostable, paper-based potato packaging

Global packaging and paper manufacturer Mondi has partnered with Polish compostable packaging producer SILBO to develop paper-based, eco-friendly packaging for potatoes. Created for Irish farm potato business Meade Farm Group, the packaging has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The solution will enable Meade to replace hard-to-recycle plastic with paper in line with its sustainability targets.

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Royal rumble: Jersey blockade threatens potato shortage

Farmers on the Channel island warn that a protest by French fisherman could delay shipments to the UK. The blockade at Jersey’s port capital St Helier threatens to disrupt exports of Jersey Royal potatoes just as its harvesting season gets underway. Farmers have warned that a protest by French fisherman may delay shipments to the UK, potentially leading to higher prices and shortages in British supermarkets.

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‘Foods that go farther’: Farther Farms closing the French fry gap, revolutionizing food processing, transportation, storage

Today, the French fry. Tomorrow, the global food supply chain. Farther Farms is a high-growth food technology start-up, based in Rochester, NY, working to solve one of society’s greatest challenges: how to make food go farther. The company began by creating the world’s first commercially-available shelf-stable, fresh-cut style French fry that’s never-frozen and ready-to-cook. The French fries have a 90-day shelf life at room temperature – no artificial preservatives added, and no freezing or refrigeration required.

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Valmont to acquire Prospera, creating world’s largest vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture

US-based Valmont Industries, known for its irrigation equipment solutions, including Valley Irrigation, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prospera Technologies Inc. an Israeli-based AI company. The transaction will create the largest global, vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture. Using the pivot as the digital data hub, this solution brings demonstrated, advanced agronomy to the field enabling the grower to take immediate action to remediate issues.

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AHDB: ‘What we’ve learned from 17 years of Fight Against Blight data’

AHDB’s Fight Against Blight programme started in 2004 and since then ‘blight scouts’ have sent in over 10,000 samples of potentially blight infested potato plants for genotyping. Each year the results are published because knowing the location of outbreaks and the dominant genotypes, allows for better prevention of the disease. This has been particularly valuable when genotypes behave differently to the norm, for example if they are insensitive to a certain treatment, or if they aggressively reproduce more quickly than typical spray cycles.

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Scotts appoints Vegcraft to support Scottish growth

Scotts Precision Manufacturing has extended its distribution network with the appointment of a new sales and service agent to cover Scotland. The Boston manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and cleaning equipment formally appointed Vegcraft Agricultural Engineering this month. Based near Dundee, Angus, Vegcraft will be offering Scotts’ range of Trinity toppers, Microlift Pro fully mounted windrowers and harvesters, Evolution separators and their latest Grimme GT170 Windrower conversion kits.

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Canadian researcher leading the fight against blackleg of potato

Dr. Michele Konschuh, a research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge in Canada’s Alberta province, is leading a study to help ensure Alberta’s potato industry stays healthy. Blackleg is caused by Pectobacterium and Dickeya bacteria. Of the two, Dickeya is especially aggressive. “The one we have in Alberta is caused by Pectobacterium species. At this time, we have no Dickeya and we want to keep it that way,” says Konschuh.

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Potatoes USA: Retail sales dip after yearlong streak of record-high sales

Potatoes USA reports that potato sales for Q3 (January – March 2021) of Marketing Year 2021 have caught up to the changed buying habits that the pandemic brought about. March 2020 was an unprecedented time for potato sales in grocery stores as panic buying began a yearlong streak of record-high sales in dollars and volume. It is no surprise that sales in March of 2021 could not keep up with the buying patterns that occurred in that crazy month a year ago.

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Fight against blight: ‘BlightSpy’ replaces ‘Blighwatch’

BlightSpy is a tool for British growers and agronomists that can be used in their fight against late blight – it offers an eight-day blight forecast and more detail than its predecessor Blightwatch. Anne Stone, AHDB Knowledge Transfer Manager, Potatoes reports that the new tool allows users to monitor weather forecasts for the predicted occurrence of Hutton Criteria at over 669 carefully selected location points in Britain.

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Northern Ireland potato growers to receive Covid-19 financial aid

Potato growers in Northern Ireland whose incomes have been directly impacted by the pandemic will receive financial aid, the government has announced. FarmingUK reports that the Covid-19 support package will contribute towards the verifiable losses incurred by farmers and growers during periods of lockdown. The financial aid will help to address the cash flow difficulties and financial impact of losing valuable markets.

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