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Prices versus plantings: A British potato market insight

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Amber Cottingham analyses the seasonal relationship between price and plantings and asks how potato farmers can apply this knowledge to business planning. Potatoes are one of the most volatile crops grown in the UK, with prices easily shifting £50 a tonne and more within a season, never mind between seasons. When a grower considers[Read[Read More…]

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Spore trapping: Another tool in managing potato late blight

Control of late blight is mostly achieved through fungicide application, and growers anticipate that late blight control requires routine applications of fungicides at high rates and short intervals throughout the growing season, beginning at 50 per cent emergence. This is an unsustainable situation that is now being questioned, according to potato expert Prof Khalil Al-Mughrabi, ‎Plant Pathologist & Adjunct Professor[Read[Read More…]

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UK: Recent cold weather threatens to delay potato cultivation

Patience “will be key” this potato season as the recent cold weather threatens to delay cultivation. The recent freezing temperatures caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ coupled with wet soils has delayed ploughing in some areas. Andy Steven, agronomist at Agrovista, explains that there’s still a lot of ground preparation to be done before planting starts in April. He said this will[Read[Read More…]

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Idaho Potato Commission announces value of 2017 crop: 22,7% higher

Idaho, the United State’s top producing potato state since 1957, reached a new crop high in 2017. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the preliminary estimated value for the Idaho® Potato crop is $1.2 billion, a 22.7% leap from the previous year. Harvested acreage was down 5% and yields were down 1.2%. Foodservice operators can thank a large crop of[Read[Read More…]

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Famous potatoes make famous vodkas in Idaho

Walking into the small distillery here, customers are welcomed by a series of faux motivational signs such as “If life hands you lemons, add vodka.” For several eastern Idaho businesses, however, life has not necessarily handed them lemons, but the liquid counterpart that helped start a thriving business. Distilleries ranging from locally owned operations to multi-national corporations call Idaho home. The region’s[Read[Read More…]

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The Irish Potato Famine – could it happen again?

Ireland wasn’t always dependent on potatoes, but in the decades leading up to the famine, more farmers started growing potatoes. As a crop, potatoes are inexpensive and high-yielding. As a food, they are packed with calories and nutrients. The Irish potato famine occurred in the mid-1800s, the result of a fungal disease. Let’s look at the scientific factors that contributed[Read[Read More…]

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UK: Tyrrells airs new ‘absurdly good’ ad

Tyrrells has launched a new advertising campaign to showcase its ‘Best Ever Recipes’. The ‘Absurdly Good’ ad goes live today (5 March) and will be aired on TV and VoD until May 2018, with £2m of investment behind it.  It is centred around Tyrrells’ most popular flavours – Lightly Salted, Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, and Mature Cheddar & Chive. Adam Draper, Marketing[Read[Read More…]

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Potato processor Agristo invests 200 million in french fry factory

Potato processor Agristo has invested 200 million euro in a new French fry factory in Wielsbeke, Belgium. The family business hopes it can break into the global top five this way. “This is the most innovative French fry factory in the world”, Filip Wallays, who runs the company alongside Hannelore Raes told De Tijd. Pretty much everything is automated, which requires only fifteen people per shift,[Read[Read More…]

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New seed potato markets in Africa for the UK

Rwanda and Uganda have been identified as two potential new export destinations for UK seed potatoes. After recent successful trials of GB seed in Kenya, levy body AHDB was invited to visit Rwanda as part of a UK Government trade initiative, during which AHDB’s head of crops trade Rob Burns met with the heads of Rwanda and Uganda’s plant health authorities. “We discussed the[Read[Read More…]

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Silver scurf: Great name, but bad for spuds

Fans of colorful, alliterative language may like “silver scurf.” Not Red River Valley potato growers; they see the crop disease as a growing threat. “I’m getting more questions about it at harvest,” said Andy Robinson, Fargo, N.D.-based potato extension agronomist for both North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. He helped to organize potato educational sessions during the recent International[Read[Read More…]

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Grocerants and Gen Z: Looking for the future for potatoes

You may not have heard of a “grocerant,” but you’re almost certainly among the growing number of Americans who have eaten in one. It’s part of a fundamental change in eating patterns, and one the U.S. potato industry is well positioned to benefit from, an industry official said. “More people are eating out, at bars and restaurants (and other establishments), more[Read[Read More…]

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Faster emergence for rapid potato growth, chemical company in the UK says

Effective control of soil borne pests can ensure potato crops get up and out of the ground faster, with benefits that last right through the season. Results of new trials, presented at Syngenta Potato Science Live events, have shown Nemathorin control of PCN enabled faster and more consistent crop canopy development, with benefits for weed suppression and greater photosynthetic activity[Read[Read More…]

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Talking potatoes: ‘Potato consumption is under pressure, competing with other starch sources’

Consumer focus is critical in all markets – it is very dependent on the demographics and the maturity of the national supply chain, subjectively measured by how quickly and to what extent the regional supply chain can adapt to the changing demands of its consumer base, Abby Kellett, Arable Specialist of Farmers Guardian in the UK reports. The UK has some[Read[Read More…]

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Severe weather impacts British potato industry

Adverse weather has caused disruption across much of Great Britain this week. Some markets have reportedly benefited from consumers staying put at home and relying on cooking for themselves, although others were suffering as demand for out of home eating decreased. For the most part crops are storing fine, however, there were increasing reports of sprouting and some crops starting to[Read[Read More…]

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Potato crops at risk of frost damage in Ireland

Potato crops around Ireland which are still in the ground are at risk of frost damage as low temperatures continue. After days of sustained sub-zero conditions, much of the ground around the country remains frozen. While many farmers used this to their advantage by catching up with late harvest jobs, ground work and early cultivations, potato farmers who still have crops[Read[Read More…]

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First full year of Scottish potato research results to be revealed

Trial results from AHDB’s Strategic Potato Farm Scotland will be revealed at a Results Day to be held next week in Coupar Angus. Having initially started in 2016 with cultivation trials, the work with Bruce Farms was significantly expanded last season to cover nutrition, cover crops, seed spacing and handling and further work on cultivations. AHDB Potatoes knowledge exchange manager Claire Hodge explained:[Read[Read More…]

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New potato processing plant to be built in Russia

The Smolensk region in Russia wants to develop the region’s economy, with a great emphasis on the development of the “Feniks” State Industrial Park. One of the investments that is going to be implemented in this Park is the project to build a plant for the processing of potatoes and the production of natural and modified starch. According to estimates this[Read[Read More…]

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Higher potato stocks reported in North-Western European countries

All recent surveys of stock levels in the NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) countries show larger stocks of potatoes than the levels observed last year, or on average over several years. Remember that yields were 11% higher in 2017, and that the area planted to potatoes increased by 6%. Currently, potato stocks and the supply/demand imbalance have a negative impact[Read[Read More…]

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Dutch chips are a hit in South Korea

Phytosanitary rules stipulate that fresh potatoes and potato seeds may not be exported from the Netherlands to South Korea. Only a few regions in Japan, the USA, and Australia are allowed to send fresh potatoes to South Korea. Processed potatoes, such as chips can, however, be freely imported since they do not fall under these same phytosanitary rules. Dutch companies[Read[Read More…]

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Jersey potato crop hit by worst early season in 40 years

The Island’s potato growers are struggling through one of the worst seasons in 40 years – after heavy rain and then sub-zero temperatures delayed the planting of Jersey’s biggest agricultural export. However, the Jersey Royal Company says its UK competitors are facing the same problems, with other regional early potatoes having been wiped out by severe frost. William Church, sales and marketing[Read[Read More…]

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Potatoes that hurt: Potential injury to potatoes from glyphosate

The High-value Crops Project at North Dakota State University in the US has been evaluating the potential injury to potato from glyphosate for almost 10 years. According to Prof Harlene Hatterman-Valenti - a High-Value Crops Specialist – research results have suggested that red-skinned cultivars were more sensitive to low rates of glyphosate compared to russet cultivars and that low glyphosate rates[Read[Read More…]

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Drones: Toys or tools? Potato farmers share their experience

Drones can take aerial footage of such high quality that the user looks like a National Geographic videographer. But do those images provide any value beyond selling the latest edition of iron? Kate VanderZaag and her husband Peter have been experimenting with a drone on their 1,800 acres of owned and rented land in Ontario, Canada. They share an insightful experience. “We’re[Read[Read More…]

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McCain storage specialist warns growers against using CIPC-treated storages for temporary holding of seed potatoes

John Walsh, Associate Principal Scientist, Potato Storage at McCain Foods, presented on the effects of low levels of CIPC on seed potato performance during last week’s International Potato Technology Expo on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. Walsh told attendees that CIPC, also known as Chlorpropham, has been an affordable and effective sprout inhibitor of potatoes for more than 60 years.[Read[Read More…]

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Agronomist shares insights on specific gravity of processing potatoes

During last week’s International Potato Technology Expo held on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada, the Research Coordinator/Agronomy Lead at the PEI Potato Board, Ryan Barrett, presented on Factors Influencing Specific Gravity in Prince Edward Island Potato Production. “In recent years, achieving higher specific gravity scores has been a priority for PEI processing potato growers,” Barrett said. “Increased value has been[Read[Read More…]

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Potato-derived prebiotic shows insulin resistance benefits in Canadian study

A recent study conducted in Canada demonstrates a potato-derived resistant starch showed positive results in lowering insulin resistance in elderly subjects. The starch, branded as MSPrebiotic, was developed by a company that goes by the same name (an ‘s’ at the end), which was the outgrowth of a family potato farming operation. It’s a familiar story of innovation in looking for[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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