It looks like being a tough season for potatoes across much of the world. The hot dry weather during the growing season in most production countries has had a severe effect on potatoes, as for many other crops, as FreshPlaza reports in an extensive overview of the potato market situation in many potato producing regions and countries around the world.
Europe, UK, Ireland
Potato yields in Britain are down significantly this season due to the hot, dry spring and early summer weather, and for growers putting spuds into cold storage there is the double whammy of higher electricity costs along with lower tuber numbers. The cost of electricity was about £21-22/t for long-term storage on the farm last year, says Mark Means in Norfolk. This season prices had reached £82/t.
Royal Avebe’s fertilisation strategy said to help potato growers achieve ‘significantly higher starch yields’
Due to the current scarcity of fertilizers, the ‘red areas’ and the increasing production costs, efficient nitrogen fertilization is becoming increasingly important. Patrick Riek, account manager at Royal Avebe, has full confidence in a nitrogen-reduced fertilization strategy for good cultivation and fertilization advice, as the company notes in a recent news release.
Leading vegetable handling equipment manufacturer Tong Engineering has announced its latest product development, which will see advanced optical sorting options available on all new models of its popular fieldloader machine, the FieldLoad PRO. Designed to allow growers to effectively clean and load crop in-field and on-farm, the FieldLoad PRO is one of the latest Tong machines on offer with fully-integrated camera sorting facilities.
A Suffolk potato and onion grower is facing eye-watering costs to dry and store his harvested vegetables over winter. Woodbridge farmer James Foskett says potato storage costs will see big increases from about £30/t to £80-90/t for these. “So, the energy charges will really start to bite,” he says. “There’s slightly less energy used in storing potatoes and we don’t store them as long,” he says. Most will go in January to February.
It took over 1,350 kilos of potatoes to cook the world’s largest rösti — a traditional potato fritter from Switzerland. According to a Euronews report, members of the Swiss Farmer’s Union cooked up the colossal 13 square metre rösti handing out portions to the crowd in front of the parliament building in Bern on Monday. The farmer’s union president announced the new rösti record, which beat the one set in 1994, when a three-square-metre fritter was made.
Managing CO2 levels in potato stores is mainly done with large, energy-hungry fans. By not using your large fans, but instead using a small Restrain CO2 extractor, you can save one and a half hours of run time of the large fans every 24 hours, according to a news release issued by Restrain company. Furthermore, store managers can simply enter crop and storage information online and within 30 seconds the Restrain Energy Calculator will calculate how much can be saved monthly.
According to IFA, growers in Ireland continue to prepare for harvest, while reports from growers remain consistent that yields are much lower than last year. In Belgium current yields seem to be between 15 and 25% below the long-term average. In France and the U.K., industry estimates put the reduction in yields at possibly 20%.
A combination of the high summer temperatures and growers being unable to apply maleic hydrazide means potatoes coming into stores this season will be under increased sprouting pressure. That’s why British growers are being advised to act early and treat crops with a new sprout suppressant, as Richard Allison reports for Farmers Weekly.
Elea will host a webinar on Tuesday, September 27th during which participants will learn more about the company’s PEF Advantage systems and the benefits of raw product treated with Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology. Elea specialists will guide participants through the production process of chips and French fries – with a focus on the numerous benefits of PEF technology during each phase of the process.
The prices of basic foods including chicken, vegetables, milk and potatoes have increased by up to 60% in local supermarkets in Britain over the last six months. According to a report by Joel Adams for Eastern Daily Press (EDP), a standard 2.5kg bag of white potatoes in both Sainsbury’s and Tesco are now an eye-watering 61 or 62% more expensive than in April respectively, and have shot up 51% in Aldi too. Norfolk potato farmers said retail prices continue to climb through the autumn.
The increasingly unpredictable climate is triggering a new set of challenges to the Scottish potato industry, where milder summers and winters are leading to an increasing risk of virus transmission in seed crops, says Donald Paterson, cereal and potato husbandry specialist at Scottish Agronomy. To tackle this challenge, Paterson says growers need to be looking increasingly to using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies alongside plant protection products to maintain quality seed.
EUROPLANT celebrates 30th anniversary, announces merger with Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion (BNA)
During the recent PotatoEurope event in Germany, more than 300 guests from Germany and abroad met on 7th September 2022 at Gut Rethmar to celebrate the 30th anniversary of EUROPLANT Pflanzenzucht GmbH, and to pay a tribute to Dr Heinrich Böhm, who is retiring. EUROPLANT and Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH (BNA) announced a merger to come into effect during the new financial year 2023/2024.
UK-wide potato supplier Branston is set to create 45 new jobs at its prepared foods factory near Lincoln after completing a £6m extension to the facility. The company has launched a recruitment drive to find new production operatives, quality controllers, technical administrators and forklift drivers after experiencing an increase in demand for its products.
Electricity prices have been the subject of significant debate across the UK lately. No more so than within potato production with suppliers facing price hikes of up to 400% to secure new supply contracts, says potato storage consultant Adrian Cunnington in his latest monthly bulletin, Synopsis. Adrian points out that producers are facing energy charges of up to 80 pence per kilowatt hour, against a history of paying under 20 pence.
McCain Foods has acquired Scelta Products, adding the Netherlands-based producer of frozen foods to its growing family of prepared vegetable appetizer product offerings. The deal represents a significant investment which, as McCain Foods says in a press release, ‘will fuel McCain’s growth and expansion in the frozen vegetable appetizer space’. McCain says it continues to look for opportunities to invest in acquisitions that align with its global leadership position.
After successfully registering ‘halloumi’ (a traditional Cypriot cheese) as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, the government is now preparing an official request to register the island’s second most important agricultural product, the ‘Cyprus red potato’. The unique red soil in which much of the potatoes are grown, is said to give the tuber its earthy flavour.
The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that potato production in the NEPG zone (EU-04) countries will on average be down by between 7 and 11 percent, with Belgian and French farmers most affected. The heat waves experienced in Europe throughout the summer would also have caused some quality and storage issues. With very much higher input costs and higher risks linked to climate change and the war in Ukraine, there is uncertainty about the 2023 season.
In Tanzania, The Netherlands has been an important stakeholder in promoting and developing the production and use of the potato crop, as Jafari Juma reports for the Citizen. The Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Tanzania, Wiebe de Boer, says with the availability of improved Dutch potato seed varieties, farmers have an opportunity to increase efficiency in farming which will trigger more investments and trade within and across the sector, creating an immediate and long-term impact on income generation.
Development of the UK’s new Seed Potato Organisation is ‘quietly making progress’ and it will be launching in the next few months, as Gordon Davidson, News & Online Editor for The Scottish Farmer, reports. Following a packed-out session at the Potatoes in Practice event, a co-operative is now formally being set up to support the British seed potato sector.
The PotatoEurope trade fair, which took place this week on 7 and 8 September, at the Rittergut Bockerode Estate in Springe-Mittelrode near Hanover, Germany, has confirmed its role as the premier international venue for potato professionals, the organizers say in a news release. With 8,000 visitors from 65 countries, the outdoor exhibition with technical program attracted over 250 exhibitors.
Queen Elizabeth ll, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the nation’s figurehead and a towering presence on the world stage for seven decades, died peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday aged 96, as Reuters reports. Her death triggered reaction from politicians and officials around the world. And as Dan Wiggins reported earlier this year for MyLondon.news, the Queen was particularly picky about her spuds…
Met Éireann has said that a Status Yellow warning for potato blight is set to remain in place for Ireland until next week. The national forecaster noted that weather conditions conducive to the spread of the disease will remain across many parts of Ireland through to Tuesday (September 13).
At the PotatoEurope event in Germany this week, the new SL 919 store loader with “Quantum” infeed conveyor will be demonstrated in practical use. The store loader is equipped with a 900 mm wide conveyor belt and a CCI 800 ISOBUS operator terminal. The SL series store loaders can be used for storing and loading potatoes, onions, red beet, celery and bulk goods.
British potato crops have paid a heavy penalty as a result of this summer’s record-breaking temperatures and drought. First digs from this year’s Quantis heat-stress biostimulant field trials suggest yields may be over 30% lower in untreated crops. The total tuber numbers in marketable size grades have been on average 34% greater in the treated areas, reported Syngenta Technical Manager, Andy Cunningham.
Scotts Precision Manufacturing Ltd will be exhibiting its Evolution Separator at PotatoEurope in Hannover, Germany this week. Attendees will find the company at Exhibition area G, stand D16 on Wednesday and Thursday. “We have been continually developing our industry leading Evolution Separator, best known for its ability to give exceptional cleaning capacity amongst most root crops,” says Derek Scott Managing Director.
The Bernard company specializes in the production of seed Potatoes for gardeners, market gardeners, and farmers. The TOMRA 3A optical sorter provides the company with the working power and accuracy to secure operations in the high season and has enabled it to increase its production capacity. The Bernard SME employs 35 people and is almost one hundred years old.
Newtec: Helping companies optimise production through durable weighing, sorting and packing equipment
Newtec’s weighing, sorting and packing solutions offer reliability and efficiency of production for customers in the food industry. With its focus on establishing long-lasting trust with customers globally, Newtec helps companies optimise production through easy-to-use and durable weighing, sorting and packing equipment, minimising giveaway and turning produce into highly competitive end-products.