Europe, UK, Ireland

Research job opening: ‘Getting to the roots of stress resilience of potato plants’

Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands is advertising a challenging position for 1,5 years for a candidate with a PhD in Plant Sciences or Molecular Biology, with preference for candidates with good background in stress physiology. In this project the function of several candidate genes involved in potato root architecture will be investigated, by qPCR, CRISPR-CAS9 genome editing and overexpression approaches.

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New campaign to promote the benefits of the baked potato to Brits

A new AHDB marketing campaign to promote the benefits of the baked potato will use in-depth consumer analysis to pick the right spud selling point for each segment of the market. AHDB says it will launch the campaign in February with a budget of £150,000. It follows a £100,000 burst in the summer that promoted potatoes during the lockdown.

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Richard Hackett: ‘Ireland’s potato growers need a new brand and storage flexibility to cut carbon footprint’

Agronomist Richard Hackett writes in a column in the Farming section of Independent that in the broadest terms, reducing carbon footprint means reducing energy use, diesel use and fertiliser use. What can we do in the potato sector to achieve these aims? he asks. He goes on to say that “we have got ourselves in a position where one variety, harvested over a two-month period, supplies practically the entire ware market for 12 months of the year.

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Another Scotts Evolution Dirt Remover sent to Wyma in New Zealand

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting equipment has seen a surge in demand for its unique vegetable handling machine from customers in New Zealand. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has this month sent its fourth Evolution Dirt Removers to Wyma, which has included the innovative separator in a cleaning line that will be used by a large scale potato packer in Canterbury.

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British potato market update

AHDB Analyst Thomma Shepherd reports in the latest Ptoato Weekly report that free-buy markets experienced a downturn in trade this week, with most overall demand met by contracted material. Markets have seen demand dampened by the coronavirus pandemic, with Christmas parties this year restricted by government guidelines. The processing trade has seen quieter levels of demand, with free-buy prices declining slightly from last week. Much of this demand is able to be met using contracted supplies.

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British potato storage expert to retire

Farm Electronics’ Production Director, Paul Jackson, is retiring after almost half a century at the forefront of the business, reports Potato Review. Paul said: “I would like to thank all customers, suppliers and work colleagues past and present for their trust and patience in our dealings over my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the path of the evolution of Farm Electronics. Time seems to have flown by.”

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TV documentary recalls the horror of the Irish Famine, 175 years on

To mark the 175th anniversary of the Irish Famine, a two-part series, The Hunger: The Story Of The Irish Famine begins on RTÉ1 tonight, Monday November 30, at 9.35pm. Narrated by Liam Neeson, it reveals and develops a challenging analysis of the crisis, and is one of the first occasions that one of the most defining historical moments in national history has been comprehensively shown on television. Today, Ireland is the only country in the western world with a population lower than it had in the 1840s.

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Pandemic impacts Chef endorsed UK potato brand

UK based Linwood Crops was established in 2016 by four potato specialists with over 100 years in combined experience. They set out to create a passionate business dedicated to supplying fresh Potatoes based on taste and purpose. Matt Thory, Linwood’s Commercial Director says it is clear that his passion for the brand has made the decision to agree an exit plan very difficult.

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‘Agronomy Week’ will see the launch of the new Potato Variety Comparison Tool and more

The AHDB hosted Agronomy Week will run as a virtual conference from Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December in the UK. It will comprise a series of webinars aimed at agronomists on important issues in contemporary agronomy. Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to cereals and oilseeds During the rest of the week, the event will focus on the potato industry. The new Potato Variety Comparison Tool will be launched on Wedneday.

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Recording of Potato Soil Health webinar now online

This winter AHDB in the UK is running its Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. You can now watch a re-recording of the AHDB hosted soil health webinar – ‘Potato Soil Health – Why bother?’ online. The webinar was hosted live by AHDB on 19 November.

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Production estimate: British potato production up despite tough year

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges for the British potato industry, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be unlifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt. This is based on 75% of the sample and will be updated.

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Brexit race on for British seed potato sector

The UK potato industry has been left in no doubt about the frustrations, fears and risk attached to trading high value Scottish seed potatoes as the clock ticks down to a possible no-deal Brexit. With just five weeks left until current trading conditions change forever, Sandy McGowan of Milnathort-based seed export company Cygnet PEP gave delegates at the AHDB’s virtual potato conference his personal perspective of the looming cliff edge that threatens the industry on December 31.

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Leading Scottish scientist recognised for lifetime of service to potato industry

Scottish scientist Professor Ian Toth has received this year’s prestigious British Potato Industry Lifetime Award. Professor Toth is the director of Scotland’s Plant Heath Centre at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, where he has been undertaking plant health research for over 25 years, which brought him into regular contact with UK and devolved governments, the public and industry to whom he regularly presents his work.

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‘TOMRA Visual Assist’ – the new augmented reality tool – mobilizes TOMRA’s global expertise

TOMRA Visual Assist is TOMRA Food’s new Augmented Reality tool that enables remote experts to provide specialist support to a customer or a TOMRA Field Service Engineer on-site – just as if they were standing in front of the machine. It enables TOMRA to solve a broader range of problems of varying degrees of complexity remotely. The result is more uptime and better machine performance for the customers.

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Glyphosate extension to December 2025 likely in Britain

According to a Farmer Weekly news report issued earlier today, the widely used herbicide glyphosate is likely to have its authorisation expiry date extended until 15 December 2025 in Great Britain after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December. According to the report, Darren Flynn, head of active substances delivery for the Chemical Regulation Division (CRD), explained that all active substances due to expire between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2023 would be granted a three-year extension under the new GB pesticides regulation regime.

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First potato production estimate for the UK higher – despite reduced planted area

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most, according to an AHDB report by Alice Bailey. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be un-lifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt.

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Ukraine imports ‘cheap’ potatoes from Poland and the Netherlands

Ukraine has reportedly started to import potatoes from Poland, where prices fell sharply due to a significant reduction in consumption by the European segment of HoReCa. This was announced by the President of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPOA), Taras Bashtannyk, according to “ProAgro Group” with reference to AgroTimes. “We have been importing products from Russia and Belarus for two years now, and this year, at the beginning of summer, we started importing potatoes from the Netherlands and now imports from Poland have also started,” Bashtannyk said.

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TOMRA Food and Ortofrutticola Parma: Selected quality, from the earth to the table

Ortofrutticola Parma has operated a TOMRA sorting machine since 2008 on its potato selection line, where it has processed about 180,000 tons of the company’s flagship product every year. When the time came this year to find a replacement machine that would continue to meet the need for superior tuber production, the company turned once again to TOMRA Food. The solution, which the company put into service at the beginning of May, was a new Sentinel II.

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Dewulf launches the Enduro, their new 4-row self-propelled harvester

Dewulf, full-liner in machines for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops, proudly present their new 4-row self-propelled sieving harvester: the Enduro. This new harvester on tyres is intended for growers and agricultural contractors that harvest potatoes. The Enduro combines new harvesting technologies with existing, proven technologies. The result is a powerful harvester that excels in product-friendliness, capacity and ease[Read More…]

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German potato producers expand acreage due to ‘lack of a good alternative’

Few industries have been so affected by the Corona pandemic as the potato industry. From the hoarding in spring to the sales problems with peeled potatoes in the wake of the current lockdown closure of restaurants and other eateries. The year 2020 was without doubt a remarkable marketing year for the German potato industry. Volker Peters – Managing Director of Helle Niedersachsen – looks back on the year and reflects on the future.

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Webinar: Potato soil health – Why bother?

Soil health has a major impact on productivity and economic performance. This winter AHDB in the UK is running our Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. New ideas and ways of approaching the emerging new legislative guidelines, will have a huge impact on traditional management practices and ultimately the financial health of a business.

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Britain’s bi-annual Seed Potato Industry conference to be held online for first time

The bi-annual Seed Potato Industry event in the UK will for the first time be held online and delivered via the Hopin digital platform on Tuesday 24th November. This will take place between the hours of 9.30am and 5.00pm. The conference’s keynote speaker, Brendon Rockey, grows ware and seed potatoes for the North American market at his farm in Center Colorado. He does this at 7,600ft, with less than 6 inches of rain a year. He has met this challenge by developing his own ‘Biotic Potatoes’ system and carefully managing carbon exchange using a diverse range of cover crops and grazing livestock on them.

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Current trends in the British potato industry

The English lockdown seems to have had a limited effect on the free-buy market. Packing demand is leading the way, with chipping seasonally quiet and processing continuing to see trade covered primarily by contracts. Some quality issues are being reported due to bruising, wet rots and also wireworm and slug damage.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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