Retail sales remain unchanged this week in Ireland, the food service sector should see some increased business with the bank holiday weekend. In Europe, fresh markets are reported to be flat but there is good export movement. Sales of product from the E.U. to the U.K were 818,418 tonnes and up 13.2% in the year to October 2022.
Europe, UK, Ireland
McCain has today confirmed a further £35m of investment in its supply chain, as it seeks to boost supplies of UK potatoes and bolster its regenerative farming initiatives. McCain says its indexation model for determining payments to the farmers who supply the company had resulted in a 31 per cent increase in contract pricing to “ensure its growers continue to be fairly compensated in light of soaring inflation”.
Scotts Precision Manufacturing, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of vegetable cleaning and harvesting equipment, will attend the Fruit Logistica show in Berlin next week, 8 – 10 February. The event is expected to bring together more than 2,000 exhibitors from 87 countries. Other than the Evolution Separator, Scotts will also be revealing details on its 2023 revisions of the Microlift Pro windrower, cabbage de-leafing system and the company’s range of Trinity haulm toppers.
NEPG: Potato growers face a multitude of risks, disruptions in the industry expected in the near future
The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) organization says potato growers in its member countries face multiple risks and these risks seem to increase each season. Apart from uncertain and fluctuating production acreage and free-buy prices, farmers now have to include a series of “new” risks to manage. Recent developments, such as higher contract prices, could lead to profound imbalances throughout the whole of the potato sector, according to NEPG.
Potatoes have received a key health boost on the back of a major research project recently completed by staff at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the United States. The study confirms that the potato is a healthy vegetable, filled with nutrients and packed with health benefits. Wilson’s Country managing director Lewis Cunningham believes the Pennington study ‘re-writes the rule book’ in terms of potatoes’ perception as part of a healthy diet.
Fungicide resistant blight strain in Europe: Syngenta advice to British growers on protecting fungicide efficacy
Reports of a single strain blight pathogen in Denmark where some samples were shown to be resistant to the highly important CAA group of blight fungicides, has reinforced advice for growers and agronomists to prevent it occurring in the UK. The strain, EU_43_A1, had been identified in Denmark for the past four seasons, but never identified among the multitude of blight clones that make up the population in the UK.
There’s no more denying it: plant-based foods are booming, and consumers are increasingly gravitating towards food that does not contain animal products, says Aviko Rixona on its website. Aware of this development, Aviko Rixona was eager to explore the potential of extracting even more added value from potatoes. The company is now the first in the market to launch Potato Cheezz: cheese made from potatoes.
The Princesa Amandine potato has been awarded the ‘Flavor of the Year’ for the second year in a row – a distinction given by consumers in blind testing carried out by independent sensory laboratories. “Obtaining the Flavor of the Year award for the second consecutive year is a confirmation that our Princesa Amandine potato’s fine, rich, and creamy flavor have won over Spanish consumers,” said Jean Michel Beranger, Managing Director of the Princesa Amandine Iberian Association.
Potato growers have been told they are massively underestimating the economic significance of their sector which could be as high as £4.5 billion rather than the commonly-used estimate of £765 million, as Nancy Nicolson reports for The Courier. “So while the £100m seed potato sector is a small component of the total sales in the potato sector, it is underpinning all retail and processing and £3bn of value,” he said.
The discovery of the first strain of potato blight in Europe that is resistant to a carboxylic acid amide fungicide has highlighted the need to use mixes and alternate between different ones in 2023 spray programmes, as Richard Allison reports for Farmers Weekly. It was detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. And it is expected to spread to the UK.
The findings of a ground-breaking farm trial investigating potato varieties resistant to crop-destroying potato cyst nematodes (PCN) were revealed last week at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Invergowrie. Thanks to scientists from JHI, SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy, SRUC and SASA working collaboratively on this Scottish Government-funded project, new varieties of potato have been shown to be both highly resistant to PCN, and suitable for growth in Scotland’s climate.
Veg of Lund, parent company of Sweden’s DUG that is the maker of DUG potato milk, announced last week that the European Patent Office notified its intent to approve the company’s vegan potato emulsion patent. Veg of Lund’s says its comprehensive patent portfolio creates the conditions for the company to develop more product categories within new plant-based foods, such as ice cream and cream products as well as alternatives to red and white meat.
Potato Storage Insight’s latest bulletin has advice for dealing with the continuing battle against rising storage costs and a reminder of the forthcoming PSI Potato Store Managers’ Course which is attracting interest from across the country and overseas. The latest Synopsis bulletin’s technical insight feature has information on the effective use of plenums in box stores and the importance of them in optimising air flow to help get the best out of every kilowatt of energy expended over the storage period.
Birds Eye praises LIMAB UK’s expertise and technology solutions for the production of its potato waffles
The production of potato waffles led Birds Eye to contact LIMAB UK in 2021, wanting to source a moisture and fat analyzer. NDC product specialist at LIMAB UK, Kevin Goodison suggested they use the InfraLab Food Analyzer. “The potato waffles are now the crispiest that they have ever been and are now Birds Eye’s star product,” says Nigel Jackson, Process Technologist at Birds Eye.
The Potato Trials and Technology Transfer event will take place on Wednesday, 1st February. Host Scottish Agronomy Ltd says this event provides the company with an opportunity to update growers on new developments in potato production. “In-store energy costs, monitoring and actions for efficiency improvements” is one of several topics to be discussed during the meeting.
Haith, a leading manufacturer of vegetable handling solutions in the UK, will be promoting its innovative mobile optical sorter at the Fruit Logistica event next month (8-10 February). The PRO-Sort optical sorter was developed by Haith in partnership with GRIMME UK and automates the removal of stone, clod and foreign debris from potatoes. Capable of handling up to 100 tonnes per hour with high levels of accuracy thanks to the integral TOMRA 3A optical sorter, the PRO-Sort is proving popular with growers faced with labour shortages.
crop.zone, the specialist company for herbicide-free haulm desiccation, continues to focus on new partnerships and cooperation. With Tobias Menne as a new member of the advisory board, the company has now gained an important expert in this field. Tobias Menne recently set-up the SmartFarming joint venture between BASF and BOSCH. He now contributes his extensive professional expertise to the crop.zone supervisory board.
There are worrying signs that the UK’s farmers are starting to turn their backs on the potato, leading to predictions of higher prices and shortages for the British consumer, as Lucie Heath writes in this iNews report. Cedric Porter, managing editor of World Potato Markets, estimates there will be a 10 per cent reduction in the land being used to grow potatoes in 2023, which could lead to a 10 per cent reduction in the harvest.
Potato industry challenges posed by PCN and blackleg were among the topics discussed at the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers’ Association (CUPGRA) annual conference, as Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer reports in this news article. Scotland’s seed potato sector has an increasingly serious problem with the potato cyst nematode (PCN) species, globodera pallida, warned specialist potato agronomist, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy. Prof Ian Toth, of the James Hutton Institute, eld a workshop to discuss his latest research into Root damage by free living nematodes (FLN) as an important factor in blackleg infestation.
The last remaining granular nematicide for potato cyst nematode (PCN) control, Nemathorin (fosthiazate) faces an uncertain future on UK farms, as Mike Abram reports for Farmers Weekly. At the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association (Cupgra) conference, Scottish Agronomy’s senior potato agronomist Eric Anderson highlighted four areas where action is needed, or more research required.
The Simple Root has announced the launch of a range of “naturally creamy” plant-based cheese alternatives for the UK market, made from potatoes and root vegetables, as Grace Duncan reports for The Grocer. The brand said it had created a new technique for its manufacture, which made the cheese alternatives less oily than many other vegan cheeses in the market.
Today Lamb Weston / Meijer released its Sustainability Report 2021-2022. The company says it made good progress on the three key challenges through which it believes it can make the greatest contribution, as it strives to achieve its sustainability agenda and create positive impact from potato to plate.
Throughout 2022, potato growers in the EU were impacted by higher production costs, largely from energy, fertiliser and transportation. As Alice Witchalls reports in a news story for Mintec, higher costs are weighing on growers’ profit margins and are driving the cost of cultivation and storage to unsustainable levels. There is a risk that in consecutive seasons some farmers will opt to grow alternative crops.
A Scottish potato grower found that investing in better air flow in his stores, had reaped major benefits for crop quality and energy costs, while also reducing the environmental impact, as John Sleigh reports for The Scottish Farmer. James Fairlie, who grows potatoes at Kirkton of Monikie, in Angus, recently had air curtains fitted to two of his stores and is already noticing a difference in air flow, energy use and quality of his crop.
Tong Engineering is pleased to announce its appointment as UK distributor for Dutch palletising solutions manufacturer Verbruggen. “Verbruggen is renowned for manufacturing first-class palletising and stacking solutions with excellent product support. We have successfully collaborated on a number of projects with Verbruggen in the past,” says Simon Lee, Sales Director at Tong Engineering.
FAM Stumabo will be present to showcase its latest cutting innovations in the vegetable and fruit industry at the Fruit Logistica show in Berlin, Germany from 8 to 10 February. As the European leader in the field of industrial cutting machines, FAM focuses on developing industrial cutting machines for the food industry, by providing customers with the solutions they need for the cutting, slicing and dicing of vegetables, fruits, potatoes.
Retail potato trade over the Christmas period was buoyant in Ireland and it is now back to usual levels, according to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA). Planted area is expected to reduce again in Ireland. In the U.K., IFA reports that movement over the holiday period appears to have kept up with expectations. In Europe, processing factories are back to full production after the holiday break, and confidence in the export market for frozen potato products is strong.