North America

Wisconsin potato outlook strong

Harvest will pick up steam in August for the 2021 Wisconsin potato crop. Sources said acreage won’t be much changed from a year ago, and the crop outlook is generally favorable, though weather factors could influence the outcome of the crop through the end of harvest this fall.

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Lamb Weston adding scale to seize global opportunity

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. is expanding. During the past five months the company has announced three significant capital projects in markets around the world that will increase its scale and capitalize on global consumer demand for value-added potato products. The investments come in the wake of what Thomas P. Werner, president and chief executive officer, called “the most challenging operating environment in our company’s history.”

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Living Lab – Atlantic research shows positive results with manure and high-residue cover crops

Dr Judith Nyiraneza is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Charlottetown Research and Development Centre on Prince Edward Island. She and a team of colleagues conducted a two-year research study to evaluate the effects of pen-pack cow manure application, as well as a number of cover crops on nitrate dynamics and soil nitrogen (N) supply, potato yield, selected soil properties, and soil-borne diseases.

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Chipping, fresh market and french fry variety lines on display during Ontario open house event

The Elora Research Station in Ontario will host its annual open house event next Wednesday, August 11. Everyone who is interested in potato research is invited to come see the new variety demonstration plots in the field. Chipping, fresh market and french fry lines will be on display. This includes elite selections from the National Potato Breeding Program-AAFC, promising lines from Michigan State, Wisconsin and more.

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Report: Potato sales dip in the US year-on-year, but demand is elevated in grocery stores

According to a market report issued by Potatoes USA, potato sales declined in dollars by 10.5% and in volume by 15.5% during April – June of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. However, when sales are compared to that same timeframe in 2019, sales increased in value and volume. Consumers bought 53 million more pounds of potatoes, demonstrating demand for potatoes is elevated in grocery stores.

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Key Technology introduces ‘Key Discovery’: A next-generation suite of software solutions

Key Technology introduces ‘Key Discovery’. This suite of software solutions transforms Key’s digital sorting systems into IIoT connected devices that collect, analyze and share data while sorting product. “The Industrial Internet of Things is a reality in the food processing industry. Key Discovery represents the next-generation of our information analytics software solutions,” said Dave Crewe, Senior Vice President of AIS Engineering at Key Technology.

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Researchers unveil innovative technology to treat plant pathogens and pests, including zebra chip disease

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced recently that they have found an innovative way to treat pathogens and pests in potato, citrus trees, and tomato plants without the use of antibiotics, zebra-chip disease in potato. They found that plants showed significant reduction of each pathogen or symptom development in response to FANA treatments.

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Farmer Ambassador: ‘Farmers like me want to join the fight against climate change. But we need help’

Vanessa Kummer is a farmer from Colfax, North Dakota. She is a Farmer Ambassador with Farm Journal Foundation. In a recent article published as a CNN Opinion piece, she writes: The agricultural industry is often misunderstood by the general public, and we haven’t always been credited for being forward thinking on climate change. However today, more farmers recognize the evidence around us and are turning the tide. …To truly move the needle, the government needs to provide more support.”

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ProSource Produce and Arrowhead Potato agreement to boost year-round potato packing and sales capacity

ProSource Produce LLC., and Arrowhead Potato Co., announced that they have entered into an exclusive sales and marketing agreement beginning in August of 2021. Arrowhead Potato Co., doing business as Moss Produce LLC., is a family owned and operated farming and fresh potato packing operation located in Rupert, ID. ProSource Produce LLC., is a grower owned and operated sales and marketing company based in Hailey, Idaho.

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Lamb Weston posted ‘robust’ fiscal results, expects demand for fries to return to pre-pandemic levels

Lamb Weston Holdings posted robust fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 results, as both top and bottom lines increased year over year. Results were largely aided by demand recovery for frozen potato products, with curbs being lifted and restaurant traffic improving. Demand in Europe and key export markets is likely to improve with the increased availability of vaccines in the regions.

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Texas A&M potato breeding program to show off latest varieties

The annual Texas A&M Potato Breeding and Variety Development Program Field Day, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Barrett Potato Farms, will be July 28. Isabel Vales, Ph.D., AgriLife Research potato breeder Vales said it has been a challenging year to grow potatoes in Springlake. Potatoes emerged late and had to endure inclement weather. “It is a miracle to see tubers underground,” she said.

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‘How to drink a cold spud’: Two Canadian companies launch potato based beers

Last week, The Establishment Brewing Company announced the release of a new beer called “This Spud’s For You” – an American lager. In its promotional campaign, the company use the slogan “Taters. But not for tots.” Earlier in the year, Holy Whale Brewery in New Brunswick announced “a kind of goofy beer” brewed with Prince Edward Island potatoes.

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Viewpoint: ‘How COVID has altered the future of US agriculture and the role of biotechnology’

The past year has been a doozy. Being locked up for a year and watching half a million Americans die was traumatizing. In the most productive agricultural country in the world, millions of people lined up for food and many Americans died because Covid preferentially attacks people with pre-existing conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So says Jim Budzynski in an article published by Genetic Literacy Project.

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First Nations chip brand hitting Canadian shelves

Canadian supermarkets are soon to be stocking Indigenous-owned potato chip brand Tomahawk Chips. In just over five years an Indigenous business owner has taken an upstart potato chip business from humble roots in rural Manitoba, to a distribution deal that will now see his chips sold all across the country.

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NPC President: Hoping for foodservice to open up, having live conversations with growers

Nearly halfway through his national potato council presidency, Dominic Lajoie spoke to Newssource8′s Rhian Lowndes about how things are going in this week’s County Ag. “The Delta variant and spikes across the country, it’s concerning,” he says. “We definitely want our schools open, our universities open, our restaurants fully open. You know food service is a big part of the potato industry. If those markets aren’t developed back to where they were, we’re gonna feel a lot more pain.”

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Lamb Weston to invest $415 million in new french fry processing line in Idaho

Lamb Weston Holdings announced yesterday an expansion of french fry processing capacity at its facility in American Falls, Idaho, and the declaration of its quarterly dividend. “This investment in American Falls complements our recently-announced plans to construct a greenfield french fry processing facility in China, as well as capacity expansion in Russia by our European joint venture, Lamb-Weston/Meijer,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston.

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Research breakthrough creates crops that can grow 50% more potatoes, rice

Manipulating RNA can allow plants to yield dramatically more crops, as well as increasing drought tolerance, announced a group of scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University and Guizhou University. In initial tests, adding a gene encoding for a protein called FTO to both potato and rice plants increased their yield by 50% in field tests. The plants grew significantly larger, produced longer root systems and were better able to tolerate drought stress.

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Canadian crop update: Good moisture levels in the east, hot and dry in the west

Growing conditions across the country seem to have reversed regionally from a year ago. This year the four main growing provinces in eastern and central Canada have received good moisture levels to date, while the four western provinces have been extremely hot and dry. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) provides an up to date summary of crop growth across the country.

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1,4Group considering building a $35 million chemical processing plant in Louisiana

An Idaho potato preservative and insect repellent producer is considering building a $35 million chemical processing plant in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Meridian, Idaho-based 1,4Group was founded in 1992 by a former potato farmer and has grown into a global business with operations in Canada, Mexico and Europe. The proposed complex would potentially replace a Chinese production site and manufacture insect repellent and a potato preservative for global export.

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Wisconsin potato researcher discussing season projects

Potato research and the current crop were the topics of a University of Wisconsin field demonstration day Thursday. Amanda Gevens is a potato & vegetable disease researcher for the University of Wisconsin and the state’s growers. She tells Brownfield the one good thing about a drier than normal June is fewer instances of potato disease. As for research this growing season, Gevens says she’s focused on comparing early and traditional planting dates and also on seed treatment.

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Video: Potato farmers in Maine’s Aroostook county expect a bigger and better year

Last year not a good year for potato farmers in Maine. Dry weather and the pandemic saw to that, but this year things seem to be turning around for them. This year growers are expecting a bigger yield, says University of Maine crop ecology professor Greg Porter. “There’s optimism that there’ll be a good supply here of good quality potatoes and that the market will be there to take those potatoes,” he says.

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Canadian growers planted more potatoes in 2021, although still well below 2003 peak

Statistics Canada released their first estimate of potato acreage in Canada from data obtained with their survey of Canadian potato growers. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) reports that the 2021 potato acreage is estimated at 378,624 acres. This is an increase of 5.3% above 2020. It is still well below its peak of 457,500 acres which occurred back in 2003.

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Canadian potato growers hope mustard and arugula combo will prevent pests, make soil healthier

New research on Canada’s Prince Edward Island is using mustard and arugula to tackle pest problems in potato fields with a side benefit, farmers hope, of making the soil healthier at the same time. As the CBC’s Nancy Russell reports in this news story, the mustard in the field is called caliente rojo, and is specially bred to have high levels of glucosinolates, a natural component in many pungent plants including mustard, cabbage, and horseradish.

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Staying up-to-date on harvesting technology key to final crop value, say equipment engineers

If you’ve been in the potato business for any time at all, you probably have an excellent understanding of your own harvesting equipment. However, because growers are often only familiar with what they themselves use, you may not realize how many money- and effort-saving options now exist in harvesting technology. In this article Lockwood engineers provide a brief overview of new harvesting technologies.

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