New Zealand, Australia

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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Unique DNA soil test service alerts growers to pathogens

The Australian potato industry have invested during the past few years in the development of a unique soil test that extracts DNA – which allows for the determination of the presence and intensity of potato pathogens prior to planting. This service was developed and is provided by the South Australian Research  Development Institute (SARDI) to potato growers. Oppressive soil pathogens in Australian potato production regions include[Read[Read More…]

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Deciphering potential climate change impacts on potato production

Allan Siano is a Senior Science Research Specialist at the government of the Philippines, undertaking a PhD programme in Horticultural Science at the School of Agriculture and Environment of Massey University, New Zealand. Siano says recent extreme weather events such as heat and drought, and unprecedented heavy rain have resulted in reduced bulking and encouraged rotting of tubers in major potato production areas in New[Read[Read More…]

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Impacts of seed and soil health on potato production

Rising production costs for process potatoes grown in New Zealand mean that yields of at least 70 t/ha are needed to achieve a sustainable profit, yet the national average is only 55 t/ha. Computer modelling predicts yields of 90 t/ha are possible most years in New Zealand. This issue has led to a 3-year study (2015–2017), funded by industry and involving the New Zealand[Read[Read More…]

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New faces at Potatoes New Zealand

Potatoes New Zealand is the official organization representing potato growers’ interests in that country. Chris Claridge functions as Chief Executive of the organization. Earlier this year, he announced that two new staff members joined Potatoes New Zealand: Iain Kirkwood and Gemma Carroll. Iain Kirkwood has a strong career background in potatoes having spent over 30 years in the industry working[Read[Read More…]

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Australia: Spudshed empire grows profits by 76%

Tony’s Galati’s growing Spudshed empire increased its profit by 76 per cent to nearly $4 million over the past year, despite pressure on margins fuelled partly by rising competition from international players. Spudshed entity Vegie Bandits’ $3.96 million net profit for fiscal 2018, up from $2.25 million a year earlier, still reflected tight margins in a business which turned over[Read[Read More…]

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New study: The key to human evolution may be… potatoes?

There’s been good news for potato lovers this week, with new research linking starchy food with humanity’s ascent to the top of the food chain. Science has finally gotten behind everyone’s favourite root vegetable. New research conducted by the University of Sydney has linked a certain gene with starch digestion, metabolism, gut microbiome, methane production and, ultimately, increase in brain size during[Read[Read More…]

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Wyma and Volm to showcase post-harvest equipment at PMA Fresh Summit

The annual PMA Fresh Summit Convention and Expo gets underway tomorrow, October 19 and will run for two days. Wyma is exhibiting from Booth 3643 at the event’s largest ever expo on record, where its Territory Manager from The Americas, Stuart Oldham will be on hand to talk over the Wyma range of post-harvest equipment and solutions. Wyma is a global company, headquartered in New Zealand, and[Read[Read More…]

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Potato virus: More farms put on suspect list in New Zealand

Eighteen farms are now on the suspect list for a new potato virus, Biosecurity New Zealand says, and testing has been widened to the North Island. The Potato Mop-Top Virus, or PM-TV, affected potatoes used to make chips. It was found for the first time in New Zealand on two properties in Canterbury last month. But the latest industry stakeholder update showed that[Read[Read More…]

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Two-fold business growth for Australia’s leading potato and onion packer

High-tech innovations and a two-fold business growth in 18 months. It’s been a big past few years for Australia’s leading potato and onion packer, The Mitolo Group, and according to Theo Sasopoulos, it’s still all systems go in the world of spuds and onions. Theo is the group finance manager for the longstanding family-owned company that built its fortunes on growing, harvesting and[Read[Read More…]

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Whisky and vodka flow as Tasmanian farmers embrace sustainability

That’s the case for two very different Tasmanian farms diversifying into alcohol production. At Lawrenny, a historic farm dating back to the 1800s, Ross Mace has been farming beef on Lawrenny since he bought it 20 years ago, but it’s never been big enough to make a good profit. “Right from a very early stage we looked to diversify and four years ago[Read[Read More…]

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Australia’s Nuffield Scholar to explore the global potato fresh cut industry

Potatoes have always been part of life for Wickham Farms managing director, Kerri-Ann Lamb, who is endeavouring to further her knowledge of the industry with her 2019 Nufflied Scholarship. Mrs Lamb is part of the third generation to run Wickham Farms. Wickham Farms produce around 11,000 tonnes of potatoes every year. “We produce about 6000 tonnes for retail and just under 5000[Read[Read More…]

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NZ govt and industry on the case with potato virus

Biosecurity New Zealand is investigating how potato mop-top virus (PMTV) could have entered the country. The agency was working with Potatoes New Zealand after the crop disease was discovered in potato tubers in Mid Canterbury, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) incident controller David Yard said. Two properties had tested positive for the disease, which had never before been found in New[Read[Read More…]

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Potato virus found for first time in New Zealand

A damaging potato crop virus could have a serious impact on the potato industry if not contained, an expert says. The potato mop-top virus (PMTV) has been discovered in New Zealand for the first time on two farms in Canterbury on the South Island. The virus causes a defect in the potato that means it can’t be processed for potato chips and[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealand, Fiji discuss potato trade, varieties and knowledge transfer

New Zealand’s potato industry governing body  has made a commitment to ensure the quality of potatoes imported from NZ by Fiji will be of top quality. Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) says it wanted to see Fiji’s potato industry grow. Its chief executive Chris Claridge made the comments during a bilateral meeting with the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries (NZMPI) in Nadi on Tuesday. PNZ[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealand offers assistance to develop Fiji’s potato industry

Technical assistance is being offered by the New Zealand Government to develop Fiji’s potato industry. The two countries have signed a bilateral agreement which will see more assistance being given towards Fiji. Biosecurity Authority of Fiji – CEO Hillary Kumwenda says this is an important step for Fiji to ensure the versatile crop is given the best possible platform to thrive. “One of them is[Read[Read More…]

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Key Technology and Heat and Control announce strategic partnership in Australia, New Zealand and India

Key Technology, Inc., a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, and Heat and Control Pty Ltd. announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to support customers in Australia, New Zealand and India. Under the terms of the agreement, Key has appointed Heat and Control as their exclusive agent to sell and service Key’s digital sorters, vibratory[Read[Read More…]

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West Australia’s spuds set for all-clear to head east again

West Australia’s potato growers could regain access to Eastern States markets by the end of the year, after a big biosecurity effort demonstrated a rare bug found in WA does not carry a damaging bacteria. The tomato potato psyllid was detected in WA 18 months ago, causing Eastern States markets to shut their doors to WA potatoes, a move estimated to have[Read[Read More…]

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New Zealanders take a closer look at ‘the good oil on fish and chips’

While other countries regulate fryer fat use, experts in New Zealand say degraded oils at its favourite chippies is concerning. The key to producing good fish and chips is to use top-quality oil, filter the frying vats each day, regularly change the oil, and cook oils at the right temperature. But industry experts say not all fast food operators are making the health grade, and neighbourhood chippies are some[Read[Read More…]

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Australian drought: Devastating impact of worst drought in living memory across New South Wales

The worst drought ever recorded is sweeping large parts of in particular eastern Australia. The entire Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has been declared in drought after a drier-than-expected June and July.  The entire state of New South Wales is effectively, and now officially, drought-declared. There is virtually no fodder left for livestock. June and July have been much drier than[Read[Read More…]

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McCain Foods Australia being investigated for “unconscionable conduct towards growers”

A Northern Tasmanian farmer has lashed out at McCain Foods (Australia) over contract potato pricing, as the consumer watchdog begins its investigation into the vegetable processor. The farmer, who has a contract with McCain, doesn’t wish to be identified due to potential backlash, said growers were sick of the low prices they were being paid by the processor for their product. “We[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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