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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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‘Varieties for a changing climate’: Europatat provides update on the ‘ADAPT’ research project

The European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) is part of an international consortium involved in the research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”). The project aims to develop new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging climatic growth conditions expected in future. It was started in July 2020 and will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million Euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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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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‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’: BASF opens forum for potato growers

Agri-chemical company BASF has launched a new initiative to help UK growers unlock the potential – and the profits – of their potato crop. Titled, ‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’, the initiative provides a platform on which the potato industry can come together to share experience, know-how and passion for developing and perfecting healthy potato crops.

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Warmer, drier weather: Russet Burbank variety not a happy camper

The most common potato variety grown in North America is the Russet Burbank, which is mainly grown in the Pacific Northwest. But as the climate there gets warmer and drier, growing these tubers may become more difficult. To help the industry adapt, Richard Novy, a potato breeder and plant geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Idaho, and other scientists have been developing new, more resilient potato varieties, including the Blazer Russet and Clearwater Russet.

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‘Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector’: Register now for Europatat Congress 2021

Registration is now open for the upcoming annual Europatat Congress that will be hosted on Thursday, 10th of June in a virtual format. With the slogan “Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector”, this special edition of the Congress will explore how the potato sector can benefit the most from modern day digitalisation. Opening a two-hour virtual event moderated by Jean-Paul Judson (Founder of Nowmore), the Digital Expert Ömer Atiker will give an energising and inspiring keynote speech on how to use new digital possibilities in potato companies.

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The ‘Great Wrap’: Aussie couple goes to market with world first compostable potato-based cling wrap, pallet wrap

A young Australian couple have thrown in their day jobs as an architect and wine maker to tackle ‘the plastic problem’ after being disheartened by the sheer amount of waste in their industries. Julia and Jordy Kay are producing the world’s first compostable cling wrap and pallet wrap which is made out of potato waste. The Melbourne couple sold more than $30,000 of ‘Great Wrap’ in their first week. The next product will be the pallet wrap which will be made from the potato waste as well.

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Chris Voigt: Challenging conditions remain for Washington state potato growers

Despite a sense of that the end of the pandemic may be in sight, a host of challenges remain before potato growers in Washington state. Chris Voigt, Executive Director for the Washington state Potato Commission told Glenn Vaagen of PNW Ag Network that one of the biggest challenges is not in the field, but after the spuds are pulled during harvest. He said several Washington growers were offered a pricing contract this year that was roughly 3%-3.5% smaller than a typical year.

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Late blight studies reveal evolution of potato disease in Europe and Asia

Plant scientists at the James Hutton Institute are studying the evolution of late blight in potato by working with industry and research partners to track the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in Europe in 2020, and have also contributed to a review into the development of the disease in Asia in the last 150 years, as part of global efforts to improve the sustainable production of healthy potato crops.

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Buds with spuds: Why Newfoundland is banking on potatoes for food production

At a ceremony this week that celebrated small farmers taking big leaps, the Newfoundland and Labrador government has put the potato as front and centre to its approaching deadline to double food production in the province by 2022. There, three farming operations were allotted 700 acres between them as the successful bidders for Crown land leases specifically designated for large-scale potato production.

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: Mexico overturns ban on fresh U.S. potatoes

In this edition of the NPC hosted podcast: After years of delay, on April 28, Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled to overturn a lower court decision that prevented the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout the country. The ruling marks the end of a decade-long legal process.

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Wyma Europe and UK: Continued development, innovation and customer success crucial, says general manager

The fresh vegetable industry in Europe and the United Kingdom is undergoing rapid and exciting change at present says Jason Gerrie, General Manager of Wyma Europe and Wyma UK. Having been in the industry almost 20 years, as well as leading Wyma’s companies in Europe and the United Kingdom, Jason is no stranger to development in the industry. But it is the current pace of change that is exciting and highly motivating, especially for a customer-focused company such as Wyma.

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Meet ‘Tom’, a world-first commercial monitoring robot to do non-chemical ‘per plant weeding’

Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced its first commercial robot, ‘Tom’. SRC’s first service using Tom will be per plant weeding, a world-first milestone. This is now in field trials, with Tom scanning first arable crops to detect weeds, and robot weeding prototype ‘Dick’ then zapping individual weeds with electrical ‘lightning strikes’, using no chemicals.

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‘Greening the Green’: PepsiCo to make snack packaging 100 percent recyclable, teams up with Clean Up Australia

PepsiCo has strengthened its commitment to tackling plastic waste by becoming the first large food FMCG business in Australia to move to 100 percent recyclable packaging across its entire snacks range. PepsiCo’s portfolio includes some of the most recognisable snack brands in Australia including Smith’s, Red Rock Deli, Sakata, and Doritos. By the end of the year consumers will be able to recycle all of their PepsiCo snack packaging via their home curb side recycling.

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What’s next for the frozen food trend?

After a stunning year of growth for frozen food, Specialty Food magazine looks into where the thriving sector will go from here. The resurgence of the freezer shows that time-pressed shoppers are looking for simple meals that don’t compromise on taste: an area where the fine frozen food industry excels. Demand for frozen fruits, vegetables and herbs is on the rise. There is one area that has fared as well as the rest of the frozen and chilled food market over the past year: ready meals.

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Maine potato farmers celebrate as Mexico lifts its ban on fresh US spuds

The Mexican Supreme Court unexpectedly voted on Wednesday to overturn a 2017 lower court decision banning U.S. fresh potato sales in most of Mexico. While it’s unlikely potatoes grown in Aroostook County will make the several-thousand-mile trip into Mexico, it’s still good news for Maine’s growers because western farmers such as those in Idaho and Colorado who market on the east coast now likely will start moving their crops south.

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