Europe, UK, Ireland

Tuberzone 2020: A precision approach to predicting potato tuber growth

The Tuberzone project addresses the benefits of using precision technology to optimise the value of seed potato crops in the UK. Tuberzone partners support the use of Tuberzone software, developed by SoilEssentials, to help farmers make decisions on when to stop tuber growth to maximise yield, quality and value of Gemson seed potatoes.

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Trimble appoints Sencrop as a Select Partner for Agriculture

Sencrop has announced that it has been chosen as a Trimble Select Partner for agriculture. Under the Trimble Select Partner Program, Sencrop’s connected ag-weather stations will be available to customers through the Trimble and Vantage™ distribution networks in the European Union (EU) and in the United Kingdom (UK) as part of Trimble’s marketplace dedicated to precision agriculture. Sencrop is the only fully connected ag-weather ecosystem in Europe.

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A beleaguered industry: British potato growers expected to deliver higher quality products with less irrigation water

The British potato industry is under pressure due to increased expectations of potato quality from the supermarkets. Previous studies have shown that irrigation plays a crucial role in reducing common scab, but water resources are less available than before, says AHDB Potatoes in a recent news release. AHDB points out that water resources have diminished over recent years, becoming more expensive and less available due to strict licencing.

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Focus on innovative microbial approaches: Yara partners with Boost Biomes in joint development agreement

Yara and US-based startup Boost Biomes announced a joint development agreement between the two companies. Yara is investing USD 3 million in Boost, and Erkki Aaltonen, Director of Venture Investments at Yara, will join its board of directors. “This partnership underlines Yara’s commitment to further developing our biostimulant product range under the BIOTRYG platform, as part of our strategy to promote sustainable farming practices,” said Joacim Christiansen, SVP, Yara Farming Solutions.

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Herbicides – a season of replacements for British potato growers

Over the last three years, potato growers lost the approval for the most commonly used herbicides: linuron (in 2017) and diquat (in 2019), AHDB Potatoes says in a news release. It says weed control management has become a challenge, which experts are now trying to resolve by researching alternative options at the Strategic Farms trials. During the trials at the AHDB SPot Farms, two herbicide options have come forward: Emerger (aclonifen), and Shark (carfentrazone-ethyl).

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Breeders Trust invests in potato variety recognition using Geo4A satellite technology

The Brussels-based Breeders Trust today signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille. GeoVille specialises in the data processing of satellite images and is a leader in the field within Western Europe. The idea behind Breeders Trust is that together breeders can act more forcefully against unfair production and commercial practices adopted by the often globally operating rogue companies that discredit the entire sector.

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Morrisons’ ‘Wonky’ range a saving grace for British potato grower during lockdown

Specialist potato grower Scutt Farming was selling 100 per cent of its 152-hectare (375-acre) potato crop to fish and chip shops when lockdown began, forcing the East Yorkshire family business to urgently find a new market. The business’ potatoes found a home as part of Morrisons ‘Wonky’ range. “The Wonky range shows the public is happy to buy potatoes which are not necessarily as visually perfect as the classic pre-packed sample,” says Mr Scutt.

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Video: A working day of planting potatoes in the Netherlands

In this video by YouTube content creator, Martijn of the Trainspotter channel, followed planting activities on the arable farming operation L.B. van Nieuwenhuijzen. The operation is located on the island of Goeree Overflakkee in the Netherlands. Farm operators were planting potatoes with a brand new Fendt 940MT vario and 8-row Grimme GL860 planter. Preparing the soil was done using a Fendt 926 vario and a 4.5m wide tilling machine, and hilling was done with two Fendt 720’s with Grimme 4-row rotary hillers.

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Analysis: European potato area up a little on last year

European potato growers did not reduce planting despite the Covid-19 crisis, latest estimates from grower organisations show, World Potato Markets editor Cedric Porter writes. Even average yields would result in large crops, which could lead to an over-supplied market, especially if demand from foodservice buyers of potatoes, fries and other potato products does not return to normal in the next few months, according to Porter.

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Blight fungicide Percos has tuber blight recommendation on its label

The blight fungicide Percos (ametoctradin and dimethomorph) from BASF is one of the few blight fungicides which has a label recommendation for reducing tuber blight, according to a press release issued by BASF in the UK today. Percos is also said to have the benefit of being from a unique class of chemistry. “Percos is a vital part of any programme due to its unique activity on tuber blight brought about by the active ametoctradin as well as its unique mode of action and no cross resistance to most other fungicides,“ according to Paul Goddard, potato specialist for BASF.

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AHDB-hosted webinars on post-CIPC potato sprout control coming up soon

The 2020 storage season is the 1st where store managers in Europe cannot apply Chlorpropham (CIPC) in store. AHDB Potatoes in the UK initiated two webinars where growers and store managers will be informed on the latest developments in this regard by experts from Sutton Bridge CSR, Adrian Cunnington and Adrian Briddon. The webinars will focus on storing for the processing and fresh sectors respecctively.

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Dewulf launches new cultivator

Potato and root crop equipment manufacturer, Dewulf, recently announced the launch of the new SC 360 cultivator. This machine follows on the heels of the previously introduced SC 300 and SC Compact, and is the third type in the SC series of cultivators. The SC 360 was developed for growers who plant 4 x 90 cm rows and want perfect planting bed preparation.

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Maleic Hydrazide as a potato sprout suppressant: A review from the UK

Maleic Hydrazide (MH) is a potato sprout suppressant that was first identified as a plant growth regulator in the 1940’s. In an article published by AHDB Potatoes this week, it is said that the reduction in permitted treatments rate for CIPC have driven an increase in MH use in recent years. Interim data from AHDB at Sutton Bridge has shown that in the absence of CIPC, MH can offer good sprout control and boost efficacy of alternative treatments when used in combination with them.

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Scotts launched two new haulm toppers, completing its 2020 line-up

Ten years since introducing its first haulm topper, Scotts has this month launched two new machines, making its range the most comprehensive available. This month, Scotts unveiled the Trinity 36B four row topper and the Trinity 54B. The company also announced plans for an 8 and nine row models, which will be available in 2021.

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Gowan: ‘Unique mode of action in Electis suits late season use’

Hutton periods are now being recorded in England and the focus needs to shift to blight control in potatoes. Recent changes to the UK blight population over the last couple of years have revealed more dominant aggressive strains with higher spore production and faster life cycles. Coupled with the emergence of the fluazinam-tolerant blight strain 37_A2, this makes decisions around[Read More…]

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IFA: Retail and early markets remain strong; drought still a concern across Europe

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) reports in its weekly potato update that demand at retail level remains strong, given that the majority of people are still working from home. Recently released figures show potato area similar to 2020. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly below 2019. The UK and Europe have gotten some rainfall in the past week. However, like in Ireland there is considerable variation on amounts in different areas.

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Flandre Pomme de Terre invests in a TOMRA food sorter to keep pace with its growth

This is the story of a family farm in the North of France, handed down from father to sons some twenty years ago. Over two decades, the sons have earned a fine reputation in the washed potato business. Having researched the solutions available on the market and having tested his samples at the demo center in Leuven, Olivier Vandaele opted for TOMRA Food’s Sentinel II. Installed last November, the machine already completely revolutionized the working processes.

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GRIMME Technica show will not take place this year, but all plants worldwide continue operations

Since 2004 the in-house exhibition GRIMME Technica has taken place every two years at our headquarters in Damme (Germany). The company says in a press release that due to the uncertain development of the Corona virus crisis and our responsibility to guarantee the greatest possible safety to visitors and staff, GRIMME Technica, which was planned for December 1-4, 2020, has been cancelled. Thanks to the introduction of strict hygiene rules and new working processes, all plants worldwide are able to continue their operations in manufacturing.

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Potato blight warning issued across the UK

Potato growers across the UK should be on high alert for potato blight, following a period of warm, wet weather. Rain showers, coupled with warming temperatures have heightened the threat of the major potato disease across many of the UK’s key growing regions. The Blightwatch alert system, hosted by AHDB and the MET Office, has displayed red warnings since June 11 – indicating the highest level of blight threat – just as many crops are reaching the crucial rapid canopy growth stage.

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BOGK: ‘Coronavirus a recipe for disaster for German potatoes’

According to a Reuters report, German demand for potatoes and potato products has collapsed during the coronavirus crisis, meaning the vegetable is being used as animal feed or for making biogas instead, an industry body said on Tuesday. “Several hundred thousand tonnes of processing potatoes could not be used,” BOGK chief executive Horst-Peter Karos said.

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New Zealand potato industry opposes potential dumping from Europe

Makikihi Fries in New Zealand is bracing for impact as manager Stewart Hydes pleads with Government, on behalf of the potato industry, to stop a surplus of European product being dumped in New Zealand, according to a report published by Otago Daily Times. The country’s $1billion-dollar potato industry is at threat of an influx from Europe, which is facing an officially declared 2.6million-tonne surplus of fries created by temporary food service closures during Covid-19 lockdown. Mr Hydes said dumping European surplus had the potential to be a major problem.

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Hyperspectral imaging for sustainable, more productive potato crops

Hyperspectral imaging, a growing area in remote sensing, holds the promise of providing a solution for crop monitoring over large areas, and scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working with partners in industry and academia to investigate the potential of the technology to maximise the sustainability and productivity of key food crops. The InnovateUK-funded project “In-field Optical Detection of Potato Disease” primarily explored the utility of aerial imaging (drone captured multispectral and high-res RGB) to detect and differentiate between a selection of economically important potato diseases.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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