North America

Down history lane: Old time pictures of potato farming on Long Island

Escaping the political upheaval in their homeland, Martin and Anna Wesnofske travelled from Poland to the United States in the 1870s. The German-speaking Wesnofskes settled in what is now the Queens/Nassau border on the Hempstead Plains and bought their first farm in 1892 where they raised seven children. Their kids migrated eastward, bringing their farming traditions with them. On Long[Read More…]

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Manufacturer of novel insulation coating material eyes potato storages and potato processing facilities

Advanced Coating Solutions, headquartered in Kirkland, WA in the US produces a thin insulation coating material that works by blocking heat transfer. Instead of using mass to work as a heat sink and absorb heat (fiberglass), the thin insulation coating works like the ‘Low E’ window concept, where thin oxide coatings diffuse infrared radiation. According to Richard Stratton, founder and[Read More…]

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Potatoes USA: Exports show strong growth

Exports of U.S. potatoes and products show strong growth through the first six months of the July 2019 – June 2020 marketing year, Potatoes USA says in a press release issued earlier today. According to the organization, exports of frozen potato products are up 11% to 551,338 metric tons valued at $643 million. Dehydrated potato exports are up 10% to[Read More…]

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Rough fall weather in the US leads to strong winter market for potatoes

Rough weather during the U.S. potato harvest last fall continues to shake up the markets well into 2020, marketers say. “Overall, the market is elevated due to several weather-related issues across the country during fall harvest,” said Rachel Atkinson-Leach, category and brand manager for Russet Potato Exchange Inc., Bancroft, Wis. Recent prices seemed to support that contention, with year-on-year prices[Read More…]

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Canada: Another winter of headaches for Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba potato growers are facing the inevitable result of a second extremely challenging digging season â€” elevated losses in storage. Wet weather in September and early October kept producers out of the fields, while a three-day snowstorm over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped upwards of 75 centimetres of snow in areas of south-central Manitoba, followed by yet more precipitation. Just 60 to 65[Read More…]

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The PVY scourge: How new potato virus strains are troubling Maine farmers

The rise in rejected seed potatoes from last season’s crop can be blamed on new strains of an old virus, a Maine Potato Board plant pathologist said Tuesday. The Maine Potato Board announced recently that 60 percent more seed potato lots tested in the 2019-2020 Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s annual post-harvest test were rejected than in 2018-2019.[Read More…]

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Breakthrough: Japan grants year-round access to U.S. chipping potatoes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry  has informed USDA that U.S. chipping potatoes are now allowed to enter year-round. Previously, Japan’s import protocol for U.S. chipping potatoes granted access only from Feb. 1 through July 30. The new language granting year-round access officially took effect on Feb. 14. “The National Potato Council and the entire U.S. potato[Read More…]

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New russet potato variety honoring Idaho's Galena Peak poised for release

A high-yielding russet potato that was bred locally and should be officially released soon has shown promise as a short-season variety for processing that’s suited for storing at cold temperatures. Rich Novy, a potato breeder with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, made the initial cross for the russet line, A03141-6, in 2003. Novy said the spud will be called[Read More…]

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Canada: Make spring nutrient plans now, say Univ of Manitoba soil scientists

A series of looming challenges makes planning now for spring nutrient applications crucial, two Manitoba soil scientists say. A wet fall and stretched-out harvest kept many producers from applying nitrogen fertilizer. While spring nitrogen application is not unheard of, it will then have to compete with many other tasks, said University of Manitoba soil science professor Don Flaten. This may[Read More…]

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The Potato Sustainability Alliance: New organization drives sustainability in the potato sector

Key players in the U.S. and Canadian potato industries announced at Potato Expo earlier this year the creation of a new organization dedicated to sustainability in the potato sector, the Potato Sustainability Alliance.  “Ten years ago, a group of potato processors, farmers, distributors and a major restaurant chain collaborated to create the Potato Sustainability Initiative,” said Ed Schneider of Schneider[Read More…]

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Eye on Potatoes Podcast: Potato Nutrition Research – The recipe for Good Food Policy

The podcast called “Eye on Potatoes” has been created by the National Potato Council in the US. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, it provides an opportunity for growers throughout the country and policy makers in Washington to learn about industry policy priorities. According to Kam Quarles, NPC CEO, “Eye on Potatoes is a terrific way to keep[Read More…]

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Upcoming event: International Potato Technology Expo to take place this week

The International Potato Technology Expo returns to Charlottetown on Canada’s Prince Edward Island this Friday, February 21 and Saturday the 22nd. The event welcomes those who grow and package potatoes, together with the leading manufacturers of equipment and product solutions from across the Maritimes and beyond. The highly successful international event has been held biennially for more than two decades.[Read More…]

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Weber Farms: Modern technologies and sound agronomic practices key to successful spud production

Weber Farms is a 3rd generation family farm that was established in 1962 in Quincy, Washington. The farm typically raises around 4500 acres of potatoes that are processed by Lamb Weston. Varieties grown include Clearwater, Altura, Umatilla and Burbank’s. Other crops include sweet corn, apples and cherries. During an interview with Potato News Today, Adam Weber shared more information on[Read More…]

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Big birds hit the potato jackpot in Skagit Valley fields

Farmers’ loss is trumpeter swans’ and snow geese’s gain, as the migratory birds feast on spuds left in the ground, reports HeraldNet. For the tens of thousands of swans and snow geese that migrate here, it has been a winter like no other. The birds can thank early rains in September for that. Heavy rain fell before Snohomish, Skagit and[Read More…]

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Multi-state potato research project in the US analyzes improving soil health

It’s called the kitchen sink treatment among the scientists involved in a four-year, 10-state research project analyzing how to replenish depleted soils in potato rotations. Essentially, the researchers throw “everything but the kitchen sink” into improving soil health in their plots — fertilizing with composted dairy manure and planting a crop as “green manure” between rotation crops. Green manure maintains[Read More…]

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Colorado potato grower-brothers cooking up a successful recipe for improved soil health

In some ways, soil health conferences are like recipe swaps — with attendees always on the lookout for a mix of ingredients that will produce better results. One of those recipes presented at the sold-out Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing last month came from a Colorado potato grower who farms in high-elevation, near-desert conditions and no longer uses chemical inputs. Brendon Rockey calls[Read More…]

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Pathogen attack: Maine Potato Board announces worst Post-Harvest Test since 2012

Maine Potato Board plant pathologist/lab manager Andrew Plant said during a meeting Feb. 12 that the 2019-20 results of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s annual Post-Harvest Test was the worst since 2012-13, Bangor Daily News reports. Plant said that 7.3 percent of all seed potato lots were rejected because of the presence of pathogens within the crop,[Read More…]

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A pregnancy craving turned into a successful 'tornado potato business' for Hawaiian student

Starting with $20, Ganchudur Batgerel, a senior from Mongolia majoring in supply chain operation at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, with the help of her friends, earned more than $1,000 with her “tornado potato business” for the Great Ideas competition. A tornado potato elevates the potato with fried meat and sauce, all in a convenient stick form, she said. “When I was[Read More…]

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Weedkiller breakthrough? Bayer launch new herbicide mode of action

With stakes in the fight against tough-to-control and resistant weeds at an all-time high, Bayer is adding a new tool to farmers’ toolboxes in coming years. The company says it will introduce a new herbicide mode of action. A new herbicide mode of action hasn’t been introduced for more than 30 years. “Bayer announced a molecule in Phase 2 of[Read More…]

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Smart farming: Prince Edward Island potato growers using new decision support tools to improve use of crop protectants

A growing number of Prince Edward Island potato farms in Canada are taking advantage of new technology to improve their use of crop protectants, including fungicides used to prevent late blight. Late blight has historically been a major disease effecting potatoes in Prince Edward Island, with the potential to cause millions of dollars in crop losses if there is a[Read More…]

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Study: Daily intake of non-fried potato linked to better diet quality compared to refined grains

Potatoes are often equated with refined grains due to their carbohydrate content. Yet, potatoes contain fiber, resistant starch, and key micronutrients that Americans need more of in their diet. A randomized crossover study that included 50 generally healthy adults directly compared the nutrient quality and impact on cardiometabolic risk factors of non-fried potatoes to refined grains. The study was conducted[Read More…]

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Potato breeding research in Maine boosted by new federal funding

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced February 13th that the University of Maine’s (UMaine) Cooperative Extension Potato Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program has been awarded $553,486 to conduct further research on potato breeding in Maine. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). “Maine’s potato industry is an integral[Read More…]

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'Industry trends to look for in the coming decade'

This is the title of a fascinating article published in the January 2020 issue of Potato Grower magazine in the US. The article is now available on the magazine’s website. It says that “in this super-extended version of our ‘Top 5,’ we take a look into the future. We asked several of our much more intelligent and well-informed friends—the Zoltars of the[Read More…]

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Industry veterans join Wisconsin association’s Hall of Fame

Larry Alsum, president and CEO of Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., and Dick Okray, president of Okray Family Farms, are the newest members of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Association Hall of Fame. Their accomplishments in state and national potato industries were recognized during the association’s annual awards banquet Feb. 5 in Stevens Point, Wis. Alsum became the general manager of the family company, then named[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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