Europe, UK, Ireland

IFA: Potato demand improves in Ireland, blight widespread in parts of Europe

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that overall, consumption and demand have improved over the past 10 days in Ireland, following the return of cooler weather conditions. Estimates put the area damaged by the storms two weeks ago in Belgium, Holland and Germany at around 20,000 ha’s. A full assessment can only be made once the crop reaches maturity but blight is widespread and tuber quality and yields are very likely to have suffered.

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AHDB Petitioners blast comments over horticulture and potato levy

Vegetable, flower and potato growers who led the campaign to abolish a statutory levy on horticulture and potato production – the AHDB Petitioners – have expressed concern and disappointment by recent comments by NFU representatives, and the Growers Better Levy Group, suggesting the industry supports a compulsory levy. Lincolnshire potato and vegetable grower John Bratley said, “In two decisive votes, two-thirds of growers across the horticulture and potato sectors unambiguously rejected the idea of a statutory levy.

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GRIMME UK celebrates sale of the 1,000th VARITRON self-propelled harvester

GRIMME UK is celebrating the sale of the 1,000th VARITRON self-propelled harvester by offering customers the opportunity to take advantage of several sensational upgrade packages. To mark the milestone, GRIMME has introduced three commemorative models: The VARITRON 470 Edition 1000, VARITRON 470 Platinum TERRA TRAC Edition 1000 and an Edition 1000 two-row harvester.

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Call for British farmers and scientists to engage on Twitter

British farmers could improve production levels by engaging with scientists more on social media, researchers have suggested. FarmingUK reports that farmers and scientists are encouraged to engage with each other on social media to improve the carbon footprint of farms and increase production of crops and livestock.

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PotatoEurope 2021 outdoor exhibition cancelled

Due to the current developments in regard to the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands and the associated lack of official approval from Dutch authorities to hold the event, PotatoEurope 2021, an outdoor exhibition on 25 hectares, scheduled for 1-2 September 2021 in Flevoland, Netherlands, has been cancelled.

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Potato growers in Northern Ireland to receive more Covid support funds

A further Covid-19 support scheme worth up to £2 million for Northern Ireland farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain has been announced. The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector. Growers who still have quantities of unsold potatoes in their stores, which were destined for the potato processing supply chain, can apply.

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UK produce growers call for grower-run research agency

The Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG), a voluntary group of business operators in the horticulture and potato sectors, is calling for Defra to support a grower-managed research agency following the ballot on the AHDB statutory levy for horticulture and potato growers. GBLG is made up of a voluntary group of 36 independent and representative business operators in the horticulture and potato sectors.

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New Tong mobile washing system creates efficiencies for major UK potato supplier

A new mobile washing facility, featuring Tong’s next generation barrel washer, is bringing increased throughput and a highly flexible washing solution for UK potato supplier Wolds Produce this season. Featuring the latest model of Tong’s popular potato barrel washer, the new mobile washing system is built to handle high throughputs of crop, with a 4m long, 1200m wide barrel washer and integrated destoner for reliable removal of stones from crop prior to washing.

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Desiccating potato crops: What are the options in 2021?

With diquat no longer available (Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland), Irish potato growers will have no option but to look at other crop desiccation options over the coming weeks. This issue was the focus of a farm demonstration, hosted by the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) at its Greenmount farm in Co. Antrim this week, which Agriland’s Richard Halleron went along to.

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Irrigation now in use to maintain potato yields in Ireland

According to Wilson’s Country agronomist Stuart Meredith, up to 30% of potato crops in the Republic of Ireland are now being irrigated in order to maintain yields. The equivalent figure for Northern Ireland is 10%. The continuing warm spell has created significant moisture deficit challenges for most Irish potato crops.

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Expert: ‘Will potato late blight ever go away?’

Andrivon Didier, Research Director at INRAE, France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, discusses the existential threat of potato late blight in a recently published ebook article. What can be done to stop it though? According to Didier, the answer to controlling blights is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). He further explains: “A more complex strategy relying on a combination of control methods, such as prophylaxis (sanitation), resistant cultivars, biocontrol, decision support systems and precision agriculture.”

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Nominations for the 2022 World Potato Congress Industry Awards now requested

The World Potato Congress Industry Award ceremony is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. The award recognizes a lifetime of contributions to the potato industry. Typically, three outstanding individuals are recognized during the Industry Awards ceremony at the World Potato Congress. Nominations for the next Congress in Dublin, Ireland, May 30 to June 2, 2022 are now requested.

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British farm levy body AHDB announces plans to cut costs by £7.8m

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK plans to axe a number of senior management staff as part of efforts to reduce costs by £7.8 million. The UK farm levy body has also unveiled plans to let levy-paying farmers and agricultural businesses vote on the future direction of its activities in spring next year.

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Scientists’ view on how to tackle worrying emerging potato blight strains

Breeders in Britain believe they have the tools to stay one step ahead of late blight in potatoes, despite concern about new and more aggressive strains emerging across Europe. Since 2000, researchers have had technology that allows rapid identification of any genetic changes – or new “clones” – in populations of Phytophthora infestans. In the Netherlands, Wageningen-based Solynta’s research team lead Michiel de Vries says it is now up to the breeding companies to develop resistant varieties.

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Annual Report: McCain Foods in Britain impacted by pandemic and poor potato crop

McCain Foods (GB) Ltd is a leading manufacturer of frozen potato products in Great Britain. The company this week released its “Annual Report and Unaudited Financial Statements for the Financial Year ended June 2020”. According to the annual report, McCain saw drop in annual sales and fell to a loss last year as Covid hit its out of home sales and it suffered from a poor potato crop.

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‘First of its kind’: Branston getting ready to create vegan meat using potato protein

UK potato supplier Branston is creating a new factory dedicated to transforming potatoes into plant-based protein. Vegan Food & Living writes that the £6 million facility will extract high-grade plant protein from potatoes, using potatoes from Branston’s supply. Right now, Branston supplies potatoes in fresh or prepared formats such as ready-made potato fries. However, the company wanted to find more uses for its potato crops.v

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Full speed ahead with the new AVR MultiForce front cultivator

Perfect seedbed preparation of the soil is crucial in potato cultivation. For this reason, AVR continues to develop not only its planting and harvesting machines, but also its cultivators. The company is committed to ensure that each new edition to its cultivator range is even better adapted to new conditions and fitted with the latest technology available.

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Morrisons says Scottish potato depot closure will not affect farmer suppliers

Supermarket giant Morrisons says plans to close its potato grading and storage depot in Carnoustie will not affect its Scottish growers and its commitment to buying Scottish potatoes, according to a report by Gemma Mackie for The Press and Journal. The company, which sources potatoes from 40 growers in Scotland, announced the closure of the grading and storage depot at Clayholes Farm near Carnoustie, on Tuesday.

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European potato growers reduced planted area in 2021

The total potato area within the NEPG zone (EU-04) has been reduced by 4,7%, according to a press release issued by the North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG). Potato area in EU-04 declines from 522.300 ha to 497.700 ha (-24.600 ha). There was a decrease in all countries, but most in Belgium and the Netherlands who had the highest increases in area these last years, with total plantings less than the 5 year average. This is a historical event.

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Post diquat: CAFRE, Grimme to host haulm flailing workshop for potato growers in Northern Ireland

Following the withdrawal of diquat last year, desiccation of potatoes has become more challenging. The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), with the support of Grimme, have organised a workshop at Greenmount Campus on Thursday 22nd July. The workshops will highlight how to set flailing machines correctly to provide a suitable target to apply the follow-up spray.

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Organic potato crops in the Netherlands hit hard by late blight

Organic potato crops have been hit by a blight which means this year’s harvest may be only a quarter of the normal yield, organic farmers trade organisation Bionext has said. Farmer Annewillem Maris from Dinteloord in Noord Brabant, who stands to lose some 30,000 kilos of potatoes, said the disease would be eradicated in a few years’ time when new, resistant varieties come in. ‘But for now I will lose a huge amount of money,’ he told broadcaster NOS.

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The CORDA Invicta: A specialist fryer with exciting new features coming to market

Kiremko announces the launch of its new fryer – the CORDA Invicta. This specialist fryer is the result of two years of intensive research, continuous testing and consultation with customers, the company says. “Along with the STRATA Invicta steampeeler, Kiremko is proud to once again introduce a unique product in the processing marketplace,” notes Kiremko Director, Andy Gowing.

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‘A seedy affair’: UK’s Defra ends seed potato deadlock

Scottish potato growers have welcomed the decision of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to implement a reciprocal ban on EU imports of seed potatoes. EU seed potatoes are now banned from entering Great Britain, after having been granted a six-month passage by the UK Government, when talks between both sides failed to agree on equivalence post-Brexit, writes Claire Taylor in this news story published by The Scottish Farmer.

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