Irish donations to a Native American community battling COVID-19 with limited resources have now topped $1m (£768,000), reports David Blevins, senior Ireland correspondent at Sky News. In 1847, at the height of the potato famine, the struggling Choctaw community had sent $170 (£130) across the Atlantic to Ireland. The act of kindness is remembered in Ireland.
Europe, UK, Ireland
Potato Virus Y: Specialist provides overview of testing facts, methods and interpretation of test results
Testing your potato seeds for Potato Virus Y (PVY) is an important step in developing healthy, disease-free crops. In this article Adrian Fox, Senior Plant Virologist at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in the UK, discusses what is involved in testing and answers questions (FAQs).
UK based potato grower, Fairfields Farm in Essex, recently announced that it will be supplying HelloFresh with its low carbon footprint potatoes from October. HelloFresh is the leading global meal kit player, operating in 14 countries, it has delivered 149 million meals worldwide in Q2 2020 alone. Fairfields Farm will be supplying HelloFresh in the UK with fresh potatoes from its family farm in Colchester, Essex, and helping the recipe box delivery service in its quest to become carbon neutral.
Britain’s seed potato sector is in turmoil, with just 10 weeks before exports to Europe and Northern Ireland (NI) face a total ban under a no-deal Brexit, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. As an EU member state, Britain has exported 30,000t of seed worth £13.5m to mainland Europe each winter. However, after 31 December, Britain will be classified under EU trade rules as a “third country” unless a trade deal is reached with the EU.
The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.
Haith Group has seen a resurgence of interest in its innovative bag filling machine after a video posted on social media was viewed more than one million times. The twenty second video which shows the Haith Supa-Bag 10 mobile bagging trailer filling ten one-ton jumbo bags was posted by the company last month. One week later, video views had exceeded 100,000, and the company had received seven sales enquiries from people in the UK, New Zealand, North America, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The already popular video was later posted by Pro Horizon and viewings rocketed to over one million.
It’s a green light for a temporary Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham. That level may be 0.4 mg/kg in ware potatoes. A European Union Standing Committee agreed to this in a digital vote. The temporary MRL is expected to take effect around the summer of 2021. The exact starting date depends on further decision-making within the EU. The current 10.0 mg/kg MRL will remain in force. That’s until the temporary MRL comes into effect. The use of Chlorpropham has been banned. But, ware potatoes will still be delivered under the current MRL. That’s in the 2020/2021 season.
According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.
Last week the organizers of the PotatoEurope 2021 event opened pre-registration for participants interested in taking part in the coming event, and they report that a great number of participants have opted to sign up for the upcoming edition. PotatoEurope takes place each year in one of four partnering countries, namely Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. Next year PotatoEurope 2021 will be hosted in The Netherlands on 1 and 2 September at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Field crops in Lelystad. The event is expected to feature more than 275 exhibitors from all over the world, welcoming more than 16.000 visitors in the two days during which it will take place.
One of the UK’s leading potato packers has seen a dramatic increase in productivity after investing in new machinery. Over the last six months, IPL, which is part of the ASDA family, has seen throughput increase by 25%. In February, the company doubled the number of GIC machines operating at its Scottish factory and has since seen productivity increase by 15% and mechanical downtime reduce by 2%. Kirsty Reid, Factory Manager at IPL Inchture, says: “Introducing the two new GIC machines to our line at IPL Inchture in February has been incredibly successful. We now operate four GIC8000s and as a result, the tonnage we can handle each hour has increased.
A changing market landscape in the British potato industry: What behavioural changes has Coronavirus driven?
Following an extraordinary few months for the industry, join the AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight team during a series of webinars, focused on reviewing how the market and consumers have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, and what opportunities and threats this now presents for AHDB sectors. Grace Randall joins Kim Malley for this webinar focused on potatoes, discussing how purchasing and consumption has been impacted by coronavirus, pulling out the opportunities and threats for the category in the future.
Potato Days in the Netherlands is an internationally known event on the annual potato industry event schedule. Every year in November, the event is organized by several companies, including potato breeder HZPC. This year the event will be hosted as a virtual event on Wednesday, November 4th. The theme is “Let’s connect!” Professionals from across the potato chain will come together from all corners of the world virtually to experience the latest potato varieties and to network. The digital domain offers potato breeder HZPC many opportunities to help even participants to connect in creative ways.
Potatoes’ versatility and health benefits have been highlighted during a three-month lockdown marketing campaign by AHDB, reports News Journalist Kelly Henaughen for The Scottish Farmer. From May to July, the levy-funded body brought back its Bud the Spud character to encourage consumers to rethink the way they saw potatoes in a continuation of the ‘More Than a Bit on the Side’ campaign.
The potato trade in Ireland has been warned to have all seed potatoes for next year’s crop imported from Britain by December 31, according to a report by Declan O’Brien, published in the Independent. A trade notice issued by the Department of Agriculture said imports of “certified seed and ware potatoes” from Britain will be prohibited from the end of 2020 when the UK leaves the EU.
Ada, husband Martin and their twins Gemma and Mark have spent this strangest of summers taking part in An Empty Gunny Bag Cannot Stand, an ingenious food-growing project dreamt up by Angus Farquhar and Rudy Kanhye of Aproxima Arts. It culminated in a fantastic harvest event, featuring music and performance by Mischief-La-Bas, and free chips. Ada Stewart adds: “This project has been a light of sunshine in months of uncertainty. The team’s determination and hard work to make this happen is a great inspiration for us and the kids.
According to AHDB figures released yesterday, the 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. In a news report, AHDB says the total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2016 and 2017. The driving force behind the drop is mainly the processing sector, but also the fresh bags sector with a combined reduction of 4.1Kha.
A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce. Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in a new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.
Appropriate tuber treatment is an essential step in developing healthy and abundant harvests, according to potato specialists at AHDB in the UK. In a recent news article, AHDB says the cost of growing potatoes is likely to increase in the following years as a result of replacing lost chemicals; potential losses due to diseases must be avoided whenever possible through application of the correct treatment, starting with the seed. As this is a complex process, AHDB says potato seed producers, traders and end users are encouraged to seek information regarding the correct treatment procedure, such as the best time to apply the chemicals or the stage of the skin set.
This Friday, October 2nd, marks a very special day in Ireland. National Potato Day was created to celebrate one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular foods, writes Jack Beresford for the The Irish Post. He says it’s a chance to “indulge in one of the most versatile vegetables on the dinner plate, whether baked, fried or sautéed.” National Potato Day is the brainchild of Bord Bia, who were eager to celebrate the humble spud with a selection of recipes shared on social media, shared under the hashtag, #NationalPotatoDay campaign.
An exceptionally wet start to the autumn has bogged down farming operations across Norfolk – and prompted concerns over potato crops in sodden fields, according to a report by Chris Hill, published in Eastern Daily Press. Nick Hood, of Heath Farm in Woodbastwick, recorded 129mm of rain in September, saying “From a farming perspective it is a critical time of year for lifting potatoes and establishing winter wheat and winter barley. We have not drilled anything for a week and lifted very few potatoes and it has put a lot of water into the ground…
According to this week’s Potato Market Update from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), although weather conditions have improved, growers are facing additional setbacks due to reduced yields and skin set issues. Reports from growers suggest that main-crop yields are well below average this year. Poor skin set appears to be a problem for a lot of growers and some growers have halted liftings due to this problem.
Irish potato growers have been handed a minor reprieve from the EU’s campaign to reduce use of pesticides by 50%. Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has granted a temporary, once-off and short term emergency authorisation for diquat, writes Stephen Cadogan in a report for the Irish Examinar. He writes that diquat has been the most commonly used desiccant in the potato sector for many decades. It is no longer approved for use as a plant protection product within the EU, he says. However, to facilitate industry transition and to support growers as they move to other methods of dessicating potato crops, Minister McConalogue granted a derogation.