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Famous Irish potato chip company issues apology as ex-director gets busted for weed

Although chips and cannabis are often considered the ultimate combination, the pairing resulted in a patently unchill situation involving both an arrest and a PR snafu. Keogh’s Crisps, a much-loved Irish potato chip company, posted a public apology following the arrest of a retired company director for growing nearly €20,000 worth of cannabis on July 10, reports Emma Spears for The GrowthOp. farmer Tony Keogh, 64, who is the uncle of company founder Tom Keogh, was arrested by Gardai.

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McCain Foods unveils Australia’s largest ‘behind-the-meter’ renewable energy system

McCain Foods Australia has announced today it has commenced construction on a renewable energy system that will reduce emissions from its Ballarat food processing facility by more than 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The project, which will house Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system, will subsidise McCain’s energy consumption in Ballarat by 39 per cent. The solar power, which will be generated from unused flat space on existing land surrounding the plant, will also provide three electric charging ports and shaded car spaces.

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Canada: Hotter and dryer conditions for Prince Edward Island potato crop

“Overall, Eastern Canada has been dryer than normal at this time of year.” So says Dwayne Coffin of Vanco Farms in Mount Albion, PEI, who is carefully watching how the 2020 crop of Prince Edward Island potatoes is developing. Coffin describes the growing season as a Catch-22. “Most growers were pleased to get their crop in on a timely manner. But it’s been extremely dry for our region,” he says. As of right now, a harvest date for the crop is still in the air.

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Rooted apical cuttings bridging the seed potato gap in Kenya

Potato is the second most consumed crop in Kenya after maize. However, majority of the farmers still struggle to access quality clean seed and this has always led to reduced productivity. Using rooted apical cuttings introduced through USAID’s Feed the Future Accelerated Value Chain Development Program (AVCD) is changing this. Cuttings are similar to nursery grown seedlings. They are produced from tissue culture plantlets in a screenhouse and are clean and free from disease.

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McCain’s ‘French Fries Feed Farmers’ campaign encourages Canadians to eat more fries

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, McCain Foods stepped in to help potato growers by releasing a video encouraging Canadians to eat more french fries, titled ‘French Fries Feed Farmers’. Despite the Canadian government’s relief programs, McCain Foods stated in a release that “the private sector has an important role to play.” The company put several initiatives in place “to show its deep-rooted commitment” to its 130 potato growers across Canada. The campaign is a 38-second video designed for social media highlighting one main message: Eat more fries, Canadians!

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Research study provides basis for new processing strategies to mitigate acrylamide formation, improve chip quality

Potato chips are among the highest contributors to the dietary intake of acrylamide, a potent neurotoxin and likely carcinogen in heat-processed foods, says a Canadian research team, whose study on acrylamide formation in chips was recently published online in the journal Food Control. The research team says their findings provide the basis for new processing strategies to mitigate acrylamide formation, and improve the quality of chips from these, and possibly other, potato cultivars.

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Newly launched ‘next generation’ soil test helps growers to manage and improve soil health

A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. recently announced the launch of VitTellus Bio, a new soil health test for the agriculture industry that quantifies soil microbial populations which support improved soil health and greater crop productivity. A&L says in a news release that VitTellus Bio is a new analysis which complements the VitTellus Soil Health test, a diagnostic used to make more informed decisions on application of nutrients, managing and improving soil health.

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The cost of potato haulm desiccation without diquat

According to AHDB in the UK, Spotlight and/or Gozai straights or combinations, along with flailing, can give virtually as quick desiccation as diquat. This was shown in trials and demonstrations across AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm network to evaluate potential replacements have shown. But at what cost? Dr Mark Stalham, Head of NIAB CUF who led the trials, reveals the results, and Mark Topliff from AHDB’s Farm Economics team crunches the numbers.

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Potatoes NZ: ‘Cheap European frozen potato products are being dumped on New Zealand market’

Potatoes NZ says in a press release issued today that it has submitted an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) for anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products originating in Belgium and the Netherlands. The application is based on the real threat of material injury to the New Zealand potato industry. The threat is said to be a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, the organization says.

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Namibia to spend millions on potato imports in effort to address food crisis

To make up for the monthly potato production shortfall, drought stricken Namibia will have to spend around N$160,2 million on potato imports for the next five months – N$13 million a month. This was revealed by the Namibia Agronomic Board. The country’s production forecast for the next five months revealed that local farmers will only produce 8 121 tonnes of potatoes, while the country needs 19 144 tonnes. Potatoes are the most consumed fresh produce product in the country, with an average demand of 3 800 tonnes every month.

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Poor potato harvest hits McCain UK’s profits

Profits more than halved at frozen foods specialist McCain UK last year as “one of the worst potato harvests in 40 years” hit its bottom line. Newly filed accounts for the year to 30 June 2019 show McCain’s operating profits fell 63% to £21.3m from £57.6m a year earlier. It said it maintained a value share of 54% and a volume share of 42% of the UK frozen potato category, according to IRI data for the 12 weeks to 20 June 2020.

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Latest PlanetPotato podcast: Off to Idaho, and learning why a potato makes an ideal block printer

World Potato Markets travels to Idaho and tries its hand at potato printing in the latest episode of its PlanetPotato podcast. Presenters Anna Lambert and Cedric Porter discuss why Idaho established as the US’s largest potato state with Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. Printer Molly Mahon describes why a potato makes an ideal block printer for making patterned paper and fabric.

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Aldi and Puffin Produce launch new potato line

Puffin Produce has announced a partnership with Aldi to stock its exclusive range of local Pembrokeshire Early potatoes in stores across Wales. The Haverfordwest business worked with Aldi to roll out a new line of the potato variety as part of the supermarket’s award-winning Specially Selected range from June. Puffin Produce expects to supply around 200,000 packs of the new range to Aldi’s Welsh stores over the next two months.

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Outstanding women of the Wisconsin potato industry

These ladies are among an impressive group of women that continues to further potato and vegetable production in the state of Wisconsin, writes Joe Kertzman, Managing Editor of the Badger Common’Tater, in an article published by Wisconsin State Farmer. Joe is writing about Lynn Leahy and Heidi Alsum-Randall. As head research agronomist at Heartland Farms, Inc., Lynn Leahy attributes success in her career to hard work, grit and commitment to life goals… Heidi Alsum-Randall is the first female president of the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board (WPIB), She is chief operating officer of Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland, Wisconsin.

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NPC welcomes revised USDA coronavirus aid payment rates, presses for additional increase

The National Potato Council released a statement Thursday, July 9, after an announcement by USDA that it is issuing revised payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which previously prevented potato growers from receiving equitable access to relief funds. “The potato industry appreciates the rapid work of USDA in considering these changes and making potatoes eligible for all three categories of payments. We believe the economic justification submitted by the industry strongly supports the meaningful inclusion of potatoes in this relief program, given the devastation faced by the industry due to the government-mandated food service shutdown,” said Britt Raybould, NPC President.

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Wyma management growth shows confidence in future

Wyma Solutions announced today the appointment of Danny Burns as Global After Sales Manager. This appointment follows several years of sustained growth and further recognition by Wyma of the ever-growing importance of maintaining strong after sales and operational relationships with customers. The appointment of a dedicated After Sales Manager position is a strong indication of Wyma’s confidence in the current market as well as their continued focus on delivering excellent customer care and ongoing support.

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French Federation of Seed Potato Growers confirms efficient seed certification, despite COVID-19 and high incidence of aphids

In a press release issued by the French Federation of Seed Potato Growers (FN3PT), the organization says that the normal measures are in place to ensure efficient and high quality potato seed certification activities, despite the current COVID-19 situation, as well as an unusual incidence of of virus-transmitting aphids this season. FN3PT says field inspectors are fully mobilized to carry out the inspection work in accordance with the agreement between FN3PT and GNIS/SOC, the official authority for certification and phytosanitary matters for seed potatoes in France.

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IFA: Retail trade good in Ireland, improved growing conditions in Europe

According to information published in the Irish Farmers Association’s weekly potato report, there were mixed reviews on trade in the food-sector service over the weekend as pubs and restaurants began to re-open. Retail demand remains buoyant with colder weather than expected for July so far. In Europe improved growing conditions are reported over the last week, particularly in Eastern Europe. Market disruption remains in place, with fears of a ‘second-wave’ in some countries.

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Tasmania still TPP free thanks to strong biosecurity system

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, says the Tasmanian Liberal Government has made biosecurity a priority to protect the state’s reputation as a premium producer of agricultural and seafood products. Working closely with industry and the community, Biosecurity Tasmania has recently completed the first year of a three-year volunteer plant pest surveillance program called the ‘TPP Adopt-a-Trap-Survey’. Strict biosecurity regulations are in place to reduce the risk of entry of this pest to Tasmania.

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Innovative Farmers: Establishing potato cyst nematode trap crops

Innovative Farmers, a not for profit membership network for farmers and growers in the UK, reports on a ‘field lab’ that explores the practice of establishing trap crops to control potato cyst nematode (PCN) – the UK’s primary potato pest. Currently, the main control option is to use nematicides hazardous to operators and the environment, which only prevent one season’s crop yield and do not prevent PCN increase. Innovative Farmers says an alternative cultural control method is the use of trap crops, which limit nematode multiplication and reduce existing soil PCN populations.

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US potato industry experts see mixed foreign trade outlook, increase of french fry imports from the EU

International trade experts within the potato industry are encouraged by a new trade agreement with China but have concerns about a rise in frozen fry imports from Europe. Matt Lantz, vice president for global access at Bryant Christie, summarized international trends and trade issues. The export market for U.S. potatoes continues to grow, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a reduction of exports, there’s still promising news in the international markets for U.S. potato growers, he said. “There has been a major surge of fries from the EU, and I say the term ‘surge’ very deliberately,” Lantz said.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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