North America

Canada revamps its potato breeding program

It’s been a little over a year since Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) began revamping its potato breeding program. In addition to making the program more efficient and up to date, the move reflects a strong desire by the AAFC to make the program more responsive to the needs of the Canadian potato industry, writes Mark Halsall in an article published[Read More…]

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Convenience, sustainability, recyclable options driving latest potato packaging design

The challenge to creating a compelling package for potatoes is complex, because bags must protect product integrity while attracting a shopper’s attention, says Jeff Watkin, marketing director with Collinsville, Ill.-based packaging manufacturer Sev-Rend Inc. told The Packer magazine in a recent interview., One challenge Sev-Rend has met involves a bag that prevents greening and preserves the potatoes’ shelf life, he said.[Read More…]

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Researchers find that potato plants are at highest risk of PVY infection during first three weeks of growing season

Potato virus Y is the most economically important and devastating aphid-transmitted virus, affecting both tuber yield and quality. The virus is also a major cause of seed potato degeneration, which leads to regular flushing out of seed potatoes after limited field production cycles. There is no remedy for this virus and once a plant becomes infected, it stays sick for[Read More…]

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Sustainable technology company successfully converts Lay’s potato chip bag to make plastic bottles

New York-based sustainable technology company Anellotech has announced that a laboratory demonstration of its latest technology, which transforms mixed plastic waste directly into chemicals, successfully converted a Lays (PepsiCo) barbeque potato chip bag into paraxylene, the primary chemical used to make virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for beverage bottles. [PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common plastic for single-use bottled beverages, because it[Read More…]

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US: PVMI to promote new varieties of potatoes

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s (PVMI) main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. Bob Larson from AGInfo reports. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon … DeBONS … “PVMI is a non-profit that represents the[Read More…]

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Big Idaho Potato Truck tour starts soon

The Big Idaho Potato Truck is back for it’s ninth annual tour with the same all-female Tater Team. Students at Rolling Hills Public Charter school in Eagle got to check out the giant potato Wednesday ahead of the tour. From Boise, the truck and tater Team will travel around 35,000 miles and visit close to 100 cities over the next[Read More…]

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Canadian drone service company helps farmers to assess crop health

Lee Dodson from Summerside on Prince Edward Island believes he has found a technological way for farmers to have detailed knowledge of the health of their fields without stepping outside. Dodson, CEO of Skygate Drone Services, was one of about 120 exhibitors at this year’s International Potato Technology Expo in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island this past Friday and Saturday.[Read More…]

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US: Success with dollars and volume sales at retail, but russet, red sales down

IRI data for the calendar year 2019 (January through December 2019) showed success with dollars and volume sales for total potato sales at retail, Potatoes USA reports. Total dollar sales increased by 2.2% and volume increased by 0.4%. Potato chips, frozen potatoes, refrigerated potatoes, and dehydrated potatoes increased in sales volume. Refrigerated potatoes saw a 7.0% lift in dollar sales[Read More…]

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Potato industry applauds China's steps on trade pact

U.S. potato industry representatives say steps China just took to follow through on the recent phase one trade agreement mark a historic breakthrough likely to bring substantial benefits, Capital Press reports. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Feb. 25 announced that China had signed a protocol allowing importation of U.S. fresh chipping potatoes, among other[Read More…]

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Study finds its fine to eat a potato-a-day

Potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetable in the U.S., yet they often get a bad rap. Most are eaten the form of fries or chips, so many people consider them an unhealthy food. It doesn’t have to be that way. Eating one medium-size potato a day can be part of a healthy diet and doesn’t increase cardiometabolic risk —[Read More…]

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U.S. potato industry leads D.C. rally, urging passage of farm labor bill

Potato industry leaders from throughout the country led a rally outside of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon, urging the Senate to take action on a comprehensive farm labor reform bill.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and leaders from the U.S. Apple Association and the Agricultural Workforce Coalition also spoke in[Read More…]

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Specialist: Why the physiological age of potato seed tubers matters

According to Carrie Huffman Wohleb, Associate Professor and Regional Specialist – Potato, Vegetable, and Seed Crops at Washington State University, physiological age is an important concept in potato production. “The physiological age of seed tubers determines when the buds will sprout and how many sprouts will develop from those buds,” she says. “It affects stem numbers and vine growth. It[Read More…]

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US: Deal to ship Northwest-grown potatoes to China

Federal agriculture officials announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement to export U.S. potatoes to China for processing. The deal, which includes crops grown in Idaho, Washington and Oregon, is expected to add about $20 million worth of exports a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture along with the U.S. Trade Representative announced the deal Tuesday for potatoes, which has[Read More…]

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Specialty, organic potatoes help expand sales

There’s more to the potato business than reds, whites and russets, marketers in the US say. Specialty varieties and organics are important parts of the product mix, they note. “We need to continue to explore varietals,” said Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing for Fryeburg, Maine-based Green Thumb Farms.  “When I look at the produce section as a whole and[Read More…]

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US: Skagit County potato farmers lost crops due to heavy rain

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Potato farmers in Skagit County in Washington State suffered big losses after they were unable to harvest some of their crops. Farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 3 square miles of potatoes in the fall, with losses valued between $5 million and $10 million, The Skagit Valley Herald reported. Don McMoran of the Washington State[Read More…]

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Thousands attended International Potato Technology Expo on Prince Edward Island

The 2020 edition of the International Potato Technology Expo welcomed professionals from across North America back to Charlottetown on Canada’s Prince Edward Island this past Friday and Saturday. According to the organizers, the industry event took Charlottetown by storm with an impressive display of equipment and products, alongside an educational conference attracting hundreds of delegates. 3,078 attendees walked the show floor to check[Read More…]

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No small fry: New MountainKing merchandising program focuses on baby potatoes

As sales of baby Golds, Reds and Medley potatoes continue to climb, MountainKing is embarking on an aggressive program to provide its retail partners with turnkey, display-ready options aimed at driving sales of the smaller, pre-sized variety. “Small potatoes are under-promoted and under-merchandised,” says John Pope, MountainKing vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re working to change that narrative in[Read More…]

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Aberdeen fry trials test processing potential of spud lines

It’s that time of year in Aberdeen when the pungent aroma of deep-fried french fries wafts through the hallways of the Marshall building on the campus of the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research & Extension Center, Bill Schaefer reports for Farm & Ranch.

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Expert advice: Potato fertilization on irrigated soils

This in-depth and extensive article on the subject of potato fertilization was written by soil and potato specialist and expert, Carl J Rosen, Department Head and Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Prof Rosen wrote that optimum potato growth depends on many management factors, including sufficient supply of nutrients.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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