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James Hutton Institute: New research to shed light into mechanisms of potato blight infection

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions are set to explore previously undiscovered mechanisms through which the pathogen responsible for late blight in potato, Phytophthora infestans, breaks through cell walls to infect plants. The main research hypothesis of the project is that there are other factors that influence the establishment of P. infestans in a crop and identifying these will provide new targets for crop protection strategies.

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Jake Blauer hired as post-harvest potato physiologist at Washington State University

Jake Blauer is the newly hired post-harvest potato physiologist at Washington State University (WSU). “I’m delighted to be rejoining the potato research team,” Blauer said. “These are amazing people, and I’m excited to be able to contribute to this great industry.” At WSU, Blauer will conduct both in-field and postharvest studies to understand the full picture and to explain how choices during crop production will have significant impacts months later in storage.

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Report: ‘Making carbon farming America’s next cash crop’

America’s farms were struggling just to make a profit even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but long-ignored soil practices could provide new revenue opportunities and long-term profitability for thousands of hard-hit farms across the US, according to a new report from E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). The new analysis details why the US’s downturned farm economy needs to make carbon farming America’s next cash crop.

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Plan for new storage facilities to boost potato processing sector in Ukraine

According to an Interfax-Ukraine report, the Institute of Agrarian Economics jointly with the Ukrainian Association of Potato Producers have proposed a state-funded program for the development of processing potato growing for 2021-2025, which provides, in particular, for the construction of potato storage facilities with 30% funding from the state.

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Frito-Lay ramping up brand advertising with Ruffles campaign as snack food sales grow

PepsiCo’s North America Frito-Lay unit is launching the first TV campaign for its Ruffles brand of ridged potato chips in almost a decade, while extending its marketing partnerships with star basketball players. Snack foods have seen stronger sales growth in the past year as homebound consumers do more of their own cooking during the pandemic. To help maintain that sales momentum, Frito-Lay has ramped up its marketing efforts with higher-profile campaigns.

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Canada: No more potato wart found in Prince Edward Island fields

Testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found no more potato wart fungus in two fields in Queens County, Prince Edward Island, according to a report by the CBC. CFIA said in an email to CBC News today that it continues to work with officials in the U.S. to resume exports. With its preliminary investigation now completed, the CFIA said it will conduct regulatory research on the two fields.

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Canadian scientists help to develop new weapon in the war against wireworms

For many years, farmers have struggled with limited options to control wireworms, leading to crop damage and loss. Now, thanks to support efforts from three Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientists, farmers have a new wireworm defence in their arsenal. The AAFC researchers have been assessing the performance of Broflanilide on cereal and potato crops at the Harrington Research Farm in PEI, the Agassiz Research Farm in BC, and with local farmers.

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Post-emergence herbicide faces de-regulation if British growers don’t act

Commonly used on potatoes, beans, peas, linseed, and alliums, the chemistry of BASF’s bentazone post-emergence herbicide is absorbed through the leaves of target plants, disrupting the photosynthesis and causing a reduction in the carbohydrate reserves. However, it is highly soluble in water and mobile in soil. As such, bentazone has been detected in both ground and surface water for many years and whilst BASF and the wider agricultural industry has had a stewardship programme in place from 2014, records show no serious decline in the levels detected.

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Mackie’s invests £750,000 in new type of crisp production facility

The joint venture behind Mackie’s Crisps is investing £750,000 in a new production facility to scale up production of a new snack brand. Mackie’s said the facility at Errol, Perthshire, will allow mass production of its Wholesums brand. The brand, launched by the Taylor family behind Mackie’s Crisps, is made thanks to “an innovative slow baking process that is able to incorporate up to 45 per cent whole fresh vegetables”.

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Early disease detection company now hiring

Spornado is a Canadian based company with clients across North America, specializing in the early detection of diseases such as late blight, sclerotinia, fusarium head blight, powdery and downy mildews. The company’s Spornado Sampler is an innovative, easy-to-use and low-cost tool that helps growers detect harmful airborne diseases long before they impact the crop. The company is now looking for a Sales Leader to join the Spornado team.

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Weird news: Mr. Potato Head goes gender neutral

Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister. Hasbro, the company that’s made the potato-shaped plastic toy for nearly 70 years, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year. As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will release a new Potato Head playset this fall that will let kids create their own type of families, including two moms or two dads.

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AHDB Petitioners: ‘Environment Secretary’s comments show growers’ vote will be honoured’

Growers opposed to the continuation of a compulsory levy to fund AHDB Horticulture have welcomed comments made by Environment Secretary George Eustice that the clear vote to abolish the levy will be honoured, according to a press release by the so-called AHDB Petitioners. Vegetable and potato grower John Bratley said: “We have always said that growers must not be forced to pay the levy, and that it amounts to unfair taxation without representation.

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Potato Soil Health Project: Webinar now available on demand

In this recorded webinar, hosted by Spudman magazine, you’ll hear from researchers for the USDA/SCRI funded Potato Soil Health Project and learn about what they’ve discovered through research. The panel will introduce three distinct aspects of the program. The webinar is now available to watch at your convenience.

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Online seminar: Foliar disease management and avoiding fungicide resistance

Miller Research in Idaho will host another of its online potato seminars. Dr Jeff Miller will discuss the strengths of weaknesses of different fungicide programs for managing early blight, brown spot, white mold, and late blight. He will also cover guidelines for responsible fungicide use with respect to avoiding the development of fungicide resistance.

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Potato Europe 2021 event theme ‘resonates with the industry’

With the event theme “What’s Now, What’s New and What’s the Future”, PotatoEurope 2021 promises to provide insights into current developments in the potato industry as well as a look at the future. As FreshPlaza’s Nick Peters reports, “the large interest in booking a stand for the trade fair to be held at the location of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) Field crops in Lelystad on September 1-2, shows that this theme resonates with the industry.”

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UK regulations relaxed to allow Mallorcan potato exports

Mallorca has been exporting potatoes to the United Kingdom since 1927 and future exports are now guaranteed because the British Government has agreed to change the regulations and allow Mallorcan potatoes to be sold in the British market. Conditions for exporting companies are not the same as they were before Brexit, because London requires a phytosanitary certificate with more demanding standards than before.

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Mexico’s Supreme Court delays decision on US fresh potato imports

During today’s hearing of the Mexican Supreme Court, the justice who authored the draft ruling overturning a ban on the importation of US fresh potatoes asked the court to postpone a vote until next week at the earliest. At issue is a draft ruling that would overturn a 2017 lower court decision preventing the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow for the importation of fresh US potatoes throughout the country.

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WUR researcher: ‘Early blight spread a warning to potato growers across Europe’

Across Europe growers are being encouraged to give greater thought to how they protect crops against early blight (Alternaria spp.). Speaking at the Bayer potato conference via video link from his office in the Netherlands, Bert Evenhuis of Wageningen University & Research, reported that a novel genotype of Alternaria solani has shown itself to be more aggressive than wild relatives and less well controlled by products containing pyraclostrobin, azoxystrobin and famoxadone.

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Tong introduces updates to its range of vegetable polishing equipment

As part of the company’s ongoing development programme, Tong Engineering has unveiled several updates to its range of vegetable polishing equipment. “As a supplier to the food industry we have been fortunate that demand for advanced and automated vegetable handling equipment has continued to strengthen,” explains Simon Lee, Sales Manager at Tong Engineering. “With this in mind, our product development team not only focus on designing and introducing new equipment to the market, but they are also committed to developing our existing machinery.

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2021 online Canadian Spud Congress and virtual trade show to kick off

Spud Smart magazine partnered with provincial and national potato associations to in Canada to organize the first online Spud Congress, said to be “the most exciting Canadian potato industry trade and educational event of the year”. The event will be hosted virtually and start at 10am CST today. Potato industry professionals are invited to join others for high-level discussions and unscripted debates with the industry’s innovators, producers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

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2021 British potato area set to decline?

The last 12 months have really taken their toll on potato markets. The coronavirus pandemic happened at one of the worst points within the potato growing cycle, and there was not much growers could do to reduce their area. Many growers may be thinking of reducing their area for 2021. How much could the area reduce by?

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GRIMME’s EVO 280 harvester underwent major upgrade

GRIMME’s EVO 280 harvester was first launched in 2018. This two-row bunker harvester with its three large separators and an intake for various crops, such as potatoes, onions and carrots, underwent a major upgrade. The EVO 280 has been upgraded and is now equipped with a completely redesigned version of the NonstopBunker, with a capacity of up to 6 tonnes, in addition to the 8 tonnes standard bunker. Several other upgrades were made to the machine as well.

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Two new Tri-State potato varieties poised for release

Two new potato varieties with ties to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen are poised to be released soon by the Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program. Rainier will be well suited for both the fresh and processed potato markets. It’s a cross of Canela Russet and an Aberdeen breeding clone. NDA050237B-1R is a vibrant, red clone that was crossed in North Dakota.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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