Europe, UK, Ireland

Opinion: ‘To plant or not to plant potatoes’ in the Netherlands in 2021

In reality, there is no indication at this point in time that most arable farmers in the Netherlands are opting to plant a smaller potato area in 2021, writes industry analyst Haijo Dodde in a recently published article in the Dutch agriculture magazine Nieuwe Oogst. Dodde writes that the North-Western European Potato Growers organization (NEPG) recently called on potato growers in Europe to plant 15 percent fewer potatoes. The question now is to what extent growers are following this advice.

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Storage technology: The ‘Humigator’ said to humidify and also disinfect potato storage facilities

“You can humidify and disinfect a potato storage warehouse’s air using just water and UV. No chemicals,” says Jef Viaene of Jebe bvba in Belgium, a Humigator DFS dealership. “You’ll have two to ten percent higher yields. The potatoes will be disease-free and can be stored for a long time. And do that without using sprout inhibitors.” The Humigator is said to be a world first. The machine was developed in Idaho and was introduced to Europe in 2020.

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Leading Italian potato company opts for TOMRA’s new Sentinel II optical sorting machine

Installing TOMRA’s Sentinel II sorting machine has enabled a Bolognese company to select large quantities of potatoes – its flagship products – with great precision and minimal waste. When the time came this year to find a replacement machine which would continue to meet the need for superior tuber production, the company turned 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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Documentary video: Potato farming in Ireland

This film follows the fortunes of several potato growers throughout Ireland and also gives a short history of the potato, a crop synonymous with Ireland. The producers look at the importance of potato growing in Ireland, showing how the humble spud stills plays a vital role here to this day. This documentary was produced by Thompson Video Productions Co. in Derry, Northern Ireland.

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Video: AVR puma 3 potato harvester on tracks

In this YouTube video you will see the Puma 3 in action during potato harvest 2020 in Europe. The video was uploaded today on the YouTube channel of AgroMovie. The video can also be watched directly on YouTube.

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Large Nordic chicken producer invests in potato-based, chicken alternative

Scandi Standard, the largest producer of chicken in Nordic countries, announced this week its partnership and investmentin Veg of Lund, which is a producer of bottled plant-based smoothies. It seems like an unlikely duo, but Veg of Lund has patented its smoothie base of potato and rapeseed oil, which will be used to create the plant-based chicken alternative. The meat producer has[Read More…]

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Researchers found biopesticide to be effective in controlling potato cyst nematode

Abamectin is a mixture of avermectins, acting as an insecticide by affecting the nervous system of and paralyzing insects. A team of researchers from Italy and Moldova took part in a research project to test the efficacy of the biopesticide Abamectin in the control of potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida. The research team concluded that their research shows abamectin to be effective in controlling potato cyst nematode G. pallida on potato crops.

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Doug Niven’s Gleaner column: Gloomy outlook for Scottish potatoes – but wheat on a high

“Winter-sown crops in Scotland continue to look well given recent relatively mild weather, even though we had 100mm, or four inches of rain in October to give a total for the year at the beginning of November of 541mm, or 21 inches,” writes Doug Niven in his column published in The Scottish Farmer today. He points out that there are some quality issues that have been identified recently with pest damage, rot and bruising, which will be a concern for long term storage. Niven asks: Will that see supplies coming onto the market earlier than planned?

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Wildflowers could control aphid-borne viruses in potatoes

Sowing wildflowers into potato crops could reduce aphid-carried viruses and offer an alternative to declining access to insecticides for growers, according to Scottish Agronomy. In Scotland, trials are being carried out to discover the effectiveness of growing flower strips in tramlines and headlands to promote natural predator populations to reduce pests as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

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Schaap Holland: The quest for a sustainable potato variety

The corona virus is forcing the potato variety companies to consider a different format for the traditional variety shows this year. A number of companies opted for an event online, others have decided to postpone the shows for a year. In this series on Akkerwijzer, the potato variety companies talk about their showpiece varieties and the challenges that accompany its development. In this article, Sheep Holland reflects on “the traditional breeding work that is under pressure.”

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Branston unveils plans for a new potato processing facility

UK based Branston submitted plans for a new processing facility. The company, which supplies own-label products to supermarkets, such as Tesco, as well as selling under its own brand, is seeking the go-ahead for a 10,462 sq ft building. North Kesteven District Council is expected to make a final decision in the coming months. The design of the buildings and the landscaping proposed is said to will help ameliorate the impacts of this development.

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What a mess: Some British potato growers muddle through harvest after fifth-wettest October since 1862

Potato harvesting has once again been affected by wet weather, with widespread rainfall in recent weeks hampering grower efforts to get the crop out of the ground. According to the Met Office, the UK experienced the fifth-wettest October since 1862 last month. It included the wettest day on record for average rainfall (31.7mm) on 3 October. Key processors McCain and Lamb Weston both spoke of challenging conditions in East Anglia, parts of which saw close to 200% of their usual average rainfall in October.

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HZPC: Great supply of certificates offers opportunities for seed potato growers

During the half-yearly trading day of potato breeder HZPC Holding B.V. today it appeared that the supply of certificates has increased again. The large supply offers buying opportunities for seed potato growers. The supply of certificates is higher than ever. Mr Gerard Backx, CEO HZPC: ‘After many years with a limited supply, there are currently many – probably mainly older – certificate holders who want to sell their certificates. This offers opportunities for seed potato growers who would like to buy certificates’.

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Job opportunity at leading UK based potato storage company

Crop Systems Ltd is a well established company in Norfolk, dedicated to the potato storage industry. The company’s range of equipment includes electronic controllers, refrigeration, humidity and fan systems, are all built at its Happisburgh premises. Ray Andrews, Managing Director of Crop Systems says his company is expanding and is looking for a forward-thinking ambitious individual who can contribute to the success of the business and enjoy being part of a top rate friendly team.

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Annual Cambridge Potato Conference to be hosted as hybrid event in December

The 31st Annual Cambridge Potato Conference is scheduled for 15 and 16 December this year. After much discussion and planning by the CUPGRA Executive Committee, it has been decided, owing to COVID-19 restrictions, to go ahead with a hybrid real-virtual conference to continue the unbroken run of 30 successful CUPGRA Cambridge Potato Conferences.

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Crop.Zone: A revolutionary, sustainable new solution for weed control and crop desiccation

Crop.Zone develops alternative solutions for weed control and crop desiccation. The German-based company creates chemical-free alternative concepts and products, helping farmers to prepare their fields and get their crops ready for harvest in a sustainable, environmentally sound way. In Europe, this is traditionally done with the aid of chemicals. But the individuals who are the driving force behind Crop.Zone want to change all of that.

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Insort’s third gen Sherlock Safeguard a major development for increased food safety

Insort is proud to announce another major development for increased safety in food production processing plants with the Sherlock Safeguard®. The heart of the machine is the latest generation of the tried and tested Chemical Imaging Technology (CIT® Gen3). This hyperspectral imaging technology, which is now being used for the first time in the further improved 3rd generation, can record the chemical composition of food in real time. This means that not only dangerous foreign bodies such as stones, metals and glass but also all organic and unappetizing foreign bodies.

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UK: Agronomy Week 2020

Agronomy Week will run from Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December. It will comprise a series of webinars aimed at agronomists on important issues in contemporary agronomy. Ordinarily, AHDB hosts the Agronomists’ Conference in December. This annual event is a two-day conference for agronomists, covering the cereals and oilseeds and potatoes industries. Due to ongoing restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic, AHDB has taken the decision to cancel major events up until the end of 2020. As a result, this years’ conference will be entirely online and free to attend.

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The Irish connection: Scotts appoints new dealer in Ireland

Scotts Precision Manufacturing is aiming for growth in Ireland following the appointment of a new dealer. The designer and manufacturer of vegetable cleaning and harvesting equipment has added Quaile Machinery in Ireland to its dealer network. Operating from its headquarters in Dublin, Quaile Machinery will be promoting Scotts’ full range of Trinity haulm toppers, Evolution separators, Microlift fully mounted windrowers, Windrower conversion kits and parts replacement.

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COVID impact: European potato sector responds to NEPG call for acreage reduction

As FreshPlaza reports, just over a week ago, the North-Western European Potato Growers Association (NEPG) sent out a call. They want the sector’s acreage to be reduced by at least 15% for the 2021/2022 season. This is an emergency measure to nip the effects of the coronavirus in the bud. For instance, the hospitality industry has been closed. But does this measure offer real relief? How realistic is the NEPG’s appeal?

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‘The year of digital transformation’: Agrico presents new varieties on its online platform

Since last week, Agrico has been presenting its new varieties on its new online platform, agricopotatoes.com. This platform is also the next step in the digital transformation of the potato cooperative. Agrico has been organising a large and well-attended variety show in November for years now. Due to Covid-19, this meeting full of physical encounters was not an option this year. To maintain the moment of connection with its customers and to present its new varieties, the cooperative developed an online platform. Agrico has declared this season as the year of digital transformation.

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EU Exit Perspectives: Change is coming, says AHDB’s Phil Bicknell

In the second of AHDB’s blog series on Brexit, its market intelligence director and Warwickshire farmer Phil Bicknell shares his thoughts on the inevitable changes on the horizon and how he is equipping his own business to weather the challenges. He writes: “Our industry faces a decade of change, much of it driven by significant policy shifts. Some sectors will face the challenge of reducing dependency on direct payments as they are phased out. We know there will be an increased focus on the environment. The UK’s new trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world will impact our industry.”

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‘A more healthy planet for healthy people’: TOMRA Food joins WBCSD

Today, TOMRA Food joined over 200 forward-thinking companies as the newest project member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Michel Picandet, Executive Vice President and Head of TOMRA Food said: “To achieve a sustainable future for the food industry, governments, corporates and consumers alike, must change the way in which we produce and handle food – from farm to fork.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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