New Zealand, Australia

On Farm Story from New Zealand: Spud family name’s on the packet

James Bowan grows potatoes for a nationwide paddock-to-packet potato chip brand. Nearly a decade after the business started he’s still happiest in the paddock. Tim Fulton reports from New Zealand. The Bowan family farms more than 600ha at Orari in South Canterbury. Down the road at industrial Washdyke, in the slipstream of Timaru, the family also runs the Heartland chips[Read More…]

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NZ potato industry get smart in the Tomato Potato Psyllid battle

The tomato potato psyllid (TPP) has caused enormous problems for potato growers in New Zealand since it was discovered in 2006. Since then, the potato industry has been waging a battle to control this insect pest. The tomato potato psyllid vectors the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso). CLso is the putative agent of zebra chip (ZC) disease in potato tubers.[Read[Read More…]

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Spud lovin’ Kiwi’s needed to chow down on spuds in the name of science

Calling all carb fans – here’s your chance to chow down in the name of science.  Massey University student Sarah Ross is on the hunt for 120 potato connoisseurs to sample spuds as part of her masters project. The project requires volunteers who regularly buy and eat potatoes to taste test the steamed vegetables and give feedback on the flavour. Although steaming might not[Read[Read More…]

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Tasmania: ‘Potato farmers need McCain’s investment to increase demand and raise prices’

Potato farmers are hoping McCain Foods’ $37 million investment into the Smithton processing facility will increase demand and raise prices.  The multi-national announced on Wednesday it would become the company’s primary retail french fry production facility in Australia and New Zealand. Tasmanian McCain grower committee chairperson Rob Bayles said while it’s great to see McCains investing into the future, it’s important[Read[Read More…]

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McCain Foods to make $37m upgrade to processing facility in Tasmania

McCain Foods is to spend $37 million to upgrade its Smithton french fry plant in Tasmania. The multi-national announced on Wednesday it would to become the company’s primary retail french fry production facility in Australia and New Zealand. McCain Foods’ managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Claudia Martinez, said the plant upgrade would be a significant boost for Smithton, its economy[Read[Read More…]

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Australia: New tech doubles potato production at Bornholm potato farm

A potato farm in Bornholm is the first in the country to receive game-changing sorting technology, allowing them to more than double production. A Visar Sorting machine separates unwashed potatoes into grades using high-speed cameras to capture photos of the potatoes and direct them to the correct conveyor belt. The potatoes are shot through the machine at 3.2 m/sec; up[Read[Read More…]

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Australian man turns potato-only diet into a business

A Melbourne dad who shed 50 kilograms by eating nothing but potatoes for a year has turned his obsession into a business. Former athlete Andrew Taylor was 151.7kg at his heaviest, but he committed to a radical spud diet to shed 53kg in a year. His extraordinary weight loss made news around the world, leading Mr Taylor to launch his[Read[Read More…]

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Aussie potato grower Troy ‘Fred’ Bensley: Family ties binding a successful growing operation

Troy Bensley – or Fred as he is better known – runs Stillbrook Potato and Pastoral Company, a certified seed growing operation in Crookwell, New South Wales in Australia. Fred spoke to AUSVEG about his role in the business, its venture into exporting spuds to Fiji and the challenges he faces alongside the wider potato industry. A fourth generation potato[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealand: Potato season in good heart across region

Early potato harvests are looking good for South Canterbury with early indications it will be an average season, Potatoes NZ technical manager Iain Kirkwood says. Heavy rain pre-Christmas resulted in some Black Leg and Powdery Scab in crops but this has not proved a problem in Canterbury where between 50% and 60% of the national crop is grown, most of[Read[Read More…]

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Potatoes New Zealand continues work in response to potato mop-top virus find

In the latest Update newsletter to the industry, Communications and Engagement Officer at Potatoes NZ, Gemma Carroll, writes that the 2018-2019 Summer Season in that country is stable so far, with occasional short bursts of torrential rain and in the last week of January a heatwave has moved across the country from Australia, which could bring short-term challenges.  Overall there’s[Read[Read More…]

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The Good Crisp Company receives investment boost

The Good Crisp Company, a brand of guilt free stacked chips, recently announced the closing of a new round of financing from CircleUp Growth Partners, a leading venture fund for innovative early-stage consumer brands.  Spurred by consumer demand for simpler, cleaner ingredients, The Good Crisp Company is taking on the $8 billion potato chip market with its line of stacked[Read[Read More…]

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One billion dollar NZ potato sector looking chipper, says executive

The opportunities for the potato industry lie in a planned series of sustainable developments, says Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge. “We don’t see a boom and bust with potatoes, just a gradual improvement,” he says. The sector is now close to a one billion dollar industry. Claridge says looking at the value of exports per hectare they estimate the[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealand potato scab expert to visit South Africa to consult

An international expert on powdery scab will visit the Republic of South Africa at the southern tip of the African continent from 12 – 22 February this year to consult with the handful of commercial potato farmers in that country. Professor Falloon is a principal scientist at the Plant and Food Research Institute in New Zealand and he is also[Read[Read More…]

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Unique way works for potato farm in Australia

Plenty of growers have a unique point of difference, something that makes them stand out from the crowd, and for Kerri Lamb it’s the way she grows potatoes. Kerri helps run the family’s Killarney property, on the Condamine River in southeast Queensland with her husband, Haydn, and you would be hard pressed to find a potato grower down south that[Read[Read More…]

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Potato growers relieved as South Australia market reopens

There is more relief for South West potato farmers after last week’s announcement that South Australia will reopen its doors to West Australian potatoes. The State is the last to restart importing WA produce almost two years after the Eastern States implemented a ban following the discovery of tomato potato psyllid in February 2017. Potato Growers Association of Western Australia[Read[Read More…]

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Spanish potato chips a sellout in Australia

Galician exporters in Spain closed 2018 with record figures, mainly due to the boost of the automotive industry. However, with the start of the New Year, another product, namely Galician potatoes, could also contribute their bit to a statistic that indicates the health of the region’s economy, but this time in snack form. Bonilla a la Vista, one of the[Read[Read More…]

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Demand from Woolworths and Coles spurs Simplot Australia’s processing plant volumes

Recently there were concerns that Simplot – the last vegetable processor in Australia – would move some of its vegetable processing plants offshore. These rumours have been quashed as the company pushes through record volumes at its factories at Bathurst and in Ulverstone and Devonport, Tasmania. The low dollar is keeping  vegetable producers in the profit loop and with added[Read[Read More…]

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Lamb Weston acquires Australian frozen potato processor

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced today that it has acquired Marvel Packers Pty Ltd (“Marvel”), a frozen potato processor in Australia. Marvel operates frozen potato processing and storage facilities in Hallam, Victoria. “Our purchase of Marvel is part of our strategy to strengthen our global capabilities and continue to drive growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Tom Werner, President[Read[Read More…]

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Western Australia potatoes allowed to go east again

The Western Australia state government has succeeded in regaining  market access for its potatoes, following the detection of tomato potato psyllid in February 2017. Access for seed and ware potatoes has been re-established to every jurisdiction, after South Australia agreed to allow WA potato imports this week. Extensive surveillance and testing of more than 10,000 psyllids for the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter[Read[Read More…]

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US potato specialist to go on sabbatical in Australia

Dr. Steve Johnson, a full professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spends most of his time at the Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle. That won’t be the case starting this December when Dr. Johnson goes on sabbatical. (Johnson) I have applied for and been granted an opportunity to go learn about potato production and help some growers[Read[Read More…]

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West Australian potato growers fear new water fee

Potato farmers say proposed water re-licensing fees could be the final straw at the end of a tumultuous run that has included the industry’s deregulation, a factory closure and crop pests. Submissions closed earlier this month on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s proposal to introduce re-licensing fees to water users in the agricultural sector — a move that[Read[Read More…]

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Potatoes down under? Yes!

Look nowhere else than New Zealand to find them spuds down under! The potato industry in NZ is valued at $982 million per annum, says Gemma Carroll, Communications and Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand. Gemma says that processed products make up 65% of that value. NZ has a growing export market, primarily to neighbouring countries in the Pacific, including[Read[Read More…]

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Hummingbird launches new high-tech irrigation tool in Australia

Hummingbird, an award winning artificial intelligence company based in the UK, is launching a new irrigation scheduling product in Australia. Hummingbird analyses imagery captured by satellites, planes, drones and robots to help farmers identify problems in their crops earlier and assist them with input optimization. Launched in 2015 and servicing hundreds of arable customers across 250,000 hectares in the UK,[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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