Potato growers in Northern Ireland whose incomes have been directly impacted by the pandemic will receive financial aid, the government has announced. FarmingUK reports that the Covid-19 support package will contribute towards the verifiable losses incurred by farmers and growers during periods of lockdown. The financial aid will help to address the cash flow difficulties and financial impact of losing valuable markets.
Europe, UK, Ireland
Agri-chemical company BASF has launched a new initiative to help UK growers unlock the potential – and the profits – of their potato crop. Titled, ‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’, the initiative provides a platform on which the potato industry can come together to share experience, know-how and passion for developing and perfecting healthy potato crops.
Registration is now open for the upcoming annual Europatat Congress that will be hosted on Thursday, 10th of June in a virtual format. With the slogan “Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector”, this special edition of the Congress will explore how the potato sector can benefit the most from modern day digitalisation.
Plant scientists at the James Hutton Institute are studying the evolution of late blight in potato by working with industry and research partners to track the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in Europe in 2020, and have also contributed to a review into the development of the disease in Asia in the last 150 years, as part of global efforts to improve the sustainable production of healthy potato crops.
Wyma Europe and UK: Continued development, innovation and customer success crucial, says general manager
The fresh vegetable industry in Europe and the United Kingdom is undergoing rapid and exciting change at present says Jason Gerrie, General Manager of Wyma Europe and Wyma UK. Having been in the industry almost 20 years, as well as leading Wyma’s companies in Europe and the United Kingdom, Jason is no stranger to development in the industry. But it is the current pace of change that is exciting and highly motivating, especially for a customer-focused company such as Wyma.
Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced its first commercial robot, ‘Tom’. SRC’s first service using Tom will be per plant weeding, a world-first milestone. This is now in field trials, with Tom scanning first arable crops to detect weeds, and robot weeding prototype ‘Dick’ then zapping individual weeds with electrical ‘lightning strikes’, using no chemicals.
After a stunning year of growth for frozen food, Specialty Food magazine looks into where the thriving sector will go from here. The resurgence of the freezer shows that time-pressed shoppers are looking for simple meals that don’t compromise on taste: an area where the fine frozen food industry excels. Demand for frozen fruits, vegetables and herbs is on the rise. There is one area that has fared as well as the rest of the frozen and chilled food market over the past year: ready meals.
Improving technology, coupled with the difficulty of sourcing seasonal labour, has led to a significant investment for Fram Farmers member Home Farm Nacton in Suffolk. The organic fresh produce farm has taken delivery of a Robotti 150D, from Danish manufacturer Agrointelli,which is the first robotic tractor in the UK, and is now fully operational on the farm. Home Farm produces both organic and conventional vegetables including potatoes across 1940ha. The company was looking for ways to adopt more advanced technology into the business.
HZPC Holdings B.V. announced last month that it will end the business activities of Solentum B.V.. Pessl Instruments GmbH will acquire some of Solentum’s products as of May 1, 2021, including the products SolGrader and SolAntenna. Herman Verveld, commercial director at HZPC says the company is pleased with the agreement and satisfied that customers can continue to work with Solentum’s products.
Bayer hopes to lay waste to early blight in potatoes, with its new fungicide, Caligula. It contains 125g/L fluopyram and 125g/L prothioconazole in a suspo-emulsion (SE) formulation and has demonstrated a level of yield protection against early blight in trials that looks set to secure it one of the highest ratings of any product on the Euroblight early blight league table.
Lamb Weston is utterly chuffed to announce that its runaway success, The Dukes of Chippingdom, have picked up the Silver Award for the Best New Side of Plate/Ingredient Foodservice Product in the 2020 British Frozen Awards. The Dukes of Chippingdom are Proper British Chips. Distinctively natural, gloriously golden, royally rustic, thick-cut chips – made from 100% British potatoes, they are more British than a British bulldog in a Union Jack waistcoat!
Work has started on a new £6m facility at Branston’s site in Lincolnshire to extract high grade plant protein from potatoes. The UK potato supplier is working alongside B-hive Innovations as part of a collaborative project to improve potato crop utilisation. The commercial factory is the first of its kind in the UK.
European Seed has published its list of “The 20 Most Innovative Plant Varieties of 2020” recently. Marcel Bruins, Editorial Director of European Seed writes: “Let’s face it, not many people can make reliable predictions about the future. But do you know who has to make such predictions due to their jobs? Plant breeders!”. Two varieties from European potato breeding and seed companies made the list: ‘Alouette’ from Agrico, and HZPC’s ‘Cayman’ variety.
An investigation into the European dumping of frozen processed potato into the New Zealand market has been deemed as not being a material threat to the country’s potato industry, according to a new report. New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Interim Report said that while dumping had occurred, it did not require tariffs to be applied.
Two agricultural engineering graduates from Warwickshire are preparing to propel the UK into a robotic agricultural revolution, by introducing a new kind of robotic tractor from Denmark. their company is now the UK representative for the Agrointelli Robotti, a versatile autonomous robot, designed for solving multiple tasks in the field throughout the complete farming season.
Mike Renouard, business unit director at The Jersey Royal Company, said that farmers were hoping for a period of rain to help with the growth of their crop. Cool and dry conditions over the last two weeks are slowing down the growing process, forcing farmers to irrigate their fields. This continued dry spell could impact the quantity of potatoes being lifted.
Lambweston / Meijer Sustainability Report: ‘Eat balanced, don’t waste food and care about the climate’
Lamb Weston / Meijer defines 3 key sustainability challenges for 2030: ‘Balanced Diet, Zero Waste and Climate Action’. These are disclosed in its sustainability report 2019-2020, which was published last week. The report shows that most of the 2020 goals are reached. Compared to the reference year 2008, 90% of its frozen products are pre-fried in healthier vegetable oil, low in saturated fat.
New PCN resilient varieties are now available thanks to advancements in potato breeding technologies writes Teagasc’s Denis Griffin and Dan Milbourne and Colm McDonnell of IPM Potato Group Ltd. Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are increasingly problematic where potatoes are intensively grown. Until recently, very few potato varieties have been available for commercial production with resistance to both species of the pest.
In Belgium’s former coal-mining heartland, locals say the potato industry is the new top polluter. Eddy Wax reports for POLITICO that inhabitants of a small town in the French-speaking province of Hainaut are trying to stop one of the country’s largest potato processors from constructing a gigantic €300 million factory on their doorstep, which the company says will create hundreds of jobs in Belgium’s south, which has been economically hammered by deindustrialization.
With aphid migrations predicted to start imminently in the South of England and two to three weeks later in Scotland, potato growers must adopt a range of integrated pest management measures to minimise the yield and quality-robbing effects of the viruses that these airborne insects transmit, writes Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer, in this article.
KisanHub report: ‘Environmental and financial sustainability in fresh food production – The role technology plays’
Agriculture’s digital revolution has potential to benefit both business and planet, with sustainability quickly becoming a priority in the industry, KisanHub specialists say in a newly released report. They say say this pressure to take action has been increased during the past 12-months, which have shown how global factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, affect our food system and the ‘normal’ way of growing and supplying fresh produce has had to adjust.
Seed potato producers are leaving no stone unturned to slow the proliferation of virus in British stocks, with straw mulches and mineral oils set to compliment systemic insecticides as part of a robust integrated pest management (IPM) strategy this year, write Rob Jones and Lucy de la Pasture in this in-depth article, published by crop production magazine (CPM).
Agronomy expert: ‘Doing nothing is not an option – whole systems approach needed to reduce potato virus’
Writes Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist at Scottish Agronomy: “We have sprayed ourselves into resistance, and we need to be bolder in adopting natural measures into pest management if we’re to secure the health and quality of seed potatoes in Great Britain. The prevalence of virus in seed stocks is challenging the industry and we are at a tipping point. It’s clear that insecticides are not doing the job on their own anymore and that we need to do something differently.”
Dewulf and Agrointelli have announced that they will be working together to explore the benefits of using autonomous machines in potato cultivation. This joint effort is triggered by a shared vision of broadening the possibilities for potato growers to implement new solutions for more sustainable, efficient, and robust production methods and technologies.
There seems to be little hope for an imminent agreement between the EU and the UK on mutual trade in seed potatoes. If no agreement is reached on the phytosanitary preconditions for import and export, there is a good chance that the export of seed potatoes from EU countries to the UK will be resolutely closed on 1 July. This is what Dick Hylkema, director of the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO) fears.
For the sake of the health of conference participants and in consideration of the dynamically changing realities related to the COVID 19 pandemic, EAPR President Jadwiga Śliwka and the organizers have announced today that they have decided to postpone the 21st EAPR Triennial Conference. The new conference dates are now 4-8 July 2022. The Conference will be held in the International Exhibition and Convention Centre EXPO Kraków, former capital of Poland.
As the potato season edges closer, growers will be pondering herbicide programmes and asking which strategy is likely to deliver the greatest bang for their buck. Ken Fletcher, Editor of The Scottish Farmer writes that the first decision confronting growers will be whether to use metribuzin, or not? With it, weed control is almost always easier and less expensive, but the long list of varieties sensitive to this substance means many growers have to consider the alternatives.
Lamb Weston / Meijer and TOMRA Food: A solid partnership that assures high quality and sustainable products
Fueled by their dedication to innovation and improving efficiency, Lamb Weston / Meijer is a leader in producing high- quality products. To keep the quality of their end products top-shelf and remove defects from raw product processing lines, the best steam peeling equipment and optical sorters are necessary – and for Lamb Weston / Meijer this means TOMRA Food. The 11 TOMRA Steam Peelers operating in seven Lamb Weston / Meijer processing facilities worldwide help the business churn out a whopping 255 tons of potato products every hour.