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Walkers to help recycle crisp packets

Britain’s biggest crisp manufacturer is promising to make its bags easier to recycle after being threatened with a boycott by environmental campaigners. Managers at Walkers crisps, which is owned by PepsiCo, yesterday met Geraint Ashcroft, who organised a petition signed by 300,000 people calling for the company to use recyclable packaging. The bags are currently made from layers of plastic and aluminium[Read[Read More…]

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Finally: New ‘Super Carb Diet’ is proof that cutting carbs isn’t necessary for weight loss

For years, the diet industry has promoted the idea that carbs are ‘bad’ for our waistlines. If you want to be slim and fit, say goodbye to rice, potatoes and pasta (ignoring the fact, of course, that professional athletes often a mix of fast and slow release carbs into their diets). That is, until now. Because someone’s come up with[Read[Read More…]

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50 years on, McDonald’s and fast-food evolve around Big Mac

McDonald’s is fighting to hold onto customers as the Big Mac turns 50, but it isn’t changing the makings of its most famous burger. The company is celebrating the 1968 national launch of the double-decker sandwich. But the milestone comes as the company reduces its number of U.S. stores. McDonald’s said Thursday that customers are visiting less often. Other trendy burger[Read[Read More…]

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Wisconsin potato crop outlook rebounds after rough start

With cool and wet weather in April and May, unseasonably hot weather around Memorial Day and dry weather in July, Mother Nature has given Wisconsin potato growers a challenging season. But balancing all the factors, suppliers anticipated a near average crop for 2018. “We’ve had some areas that did better than otherwise,” said Tamas Houlihan, executive director of the Antigo-based Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Association.[Read[Read More…]

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Breeding breakthrough: Simplot to use ARS developed technology to speed up breeding of disease resistant potato varieties

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Albany, California, have found a way to streamline the process that scientists use to insert multiple genes into a crop plant, developing a reliable method that will make it easier to breed a variety of crops with vastly improved traits. The technology is expected to speed up the process for developing new varieties that are[Read[Read More…]

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Indian-Dutch cooperation to set up centre for excellence for potato seed development

A centre for excellence for potato-seed is all set to become a reality in India’s Gujarat province, through a collaboration between Indian and Dutch companies. The setting up of the centre for excellence is being facilitated by the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), with a view to helping produce better quality potatoes which will help improve the marketable yield of potatoes.[Read[Read More…]

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‘Fertitato’: Fertilizer company Yara assisting potato growers with knowledge and new products

Norwegian based international fertilizer giant Yara has extensive crop knowledge created from more than 100 years of research and development in more than 150 countries around the world. The company has recently developed a working guide for producers on the nutritional needs of the potato crop in eastern Canada. Potatoes require 17 different nutrients, each playing a unique role in plant nutrition. “While the research is[Read[Read More…]

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The drought issue: Earth is ‘1C away from Hothouse State that threatens the future of humanity’

The Earth’s global temperature is 1C away from a climatic tipping point that threatens the future of humanity, scientists have warned. Experts added that the planet is just decades away from the event that would trigger runaway global warming. The threshold will be reached when average global temperatures are only around 2C higher than they were in pre-industrial times, research suggests. The findings[Read[Read More…]

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CRISPR news: J.R. Simplot first ag company to receive gene editing licensing rights; potential for new potato varieties

J.R. Simplot Company, based in Idaho in the US, announced that it has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer. J.R. Simplot Company on Monday announced the agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and the Broad Institute of the[Read[Read More…]

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US: Retail volume of fresh potatoes drops in June, especially russets

Overall potato volumes sold at U.S. retailers slipped in June compared to a year ago the same month, but with an almost %5 increase in price per-pound, values increased slightly. That includes fresh and processed categories; fresh sales volumes alone dropped 5.9%. The June 2018/18 comparison by Potatoes USA showed volume of retail sales dropped 3.2%, but overall value of the category rose 1.1%. Factors leading to[Read[Read More…]

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Precision agriculture technology detects late blight with help from IBM Watson

PlantLink is a research network in the area of plant sciences in Sweden, joining Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). One of the regional projects uses precision agriculture techniques to detect late blight. Scientists at SLU were looking for an automated, efficient and environmentally friendly way to detect late blight early. IBM helped the scientists develop a prototype[Read[Read More…]

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Carbs, Sugar and the Truth: Misleading BBC1 program on negative ‘sugar’ content of potatoes debunked

Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar? According to information presented during a BBC1 program which aired in early June, it does. But the information has since been debunked as misleading. The information presented in this program however led to several dubious news stories published by major news outlets, such as this one by the Daily[Read[Read More…]

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US: Dry conditions having small impact on potato growth in Maine

Although it has been a dry, hot summer, the annual potato growing season appears to be right on schedule, according to industry officials in the state of Maine. “As a whole, quality is good everywhere,” said Don Flannery, president of the Maine Potato Board. “There has been no diseases, but it has been dry and hot, and drier in some areas[Read[Read More…]

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Brain(y)storm: Agronomists to convene for annual conference

The AHDB Agronomists’ Conference in the UK has broadened its scope to turn research into practical agronomy for the whole rotation. The 2018 event will feature speakers on cereals, oilseeds and potato production but also on field vegetables, peas and beans. Taking place on 4 to 5 December 2018 at a new venue (Kettering Conference Centre), the event will also see a[Read[Read More…]

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Bethink pink: Understanding pink eye disorder of potatoes

Pink eye is a disorder of potato tubers that can cause costly storage losses for potato growers and can reduce tuber quality to the point where tubers will be rejected by potato processors. Pink eye is a physiological disorder – an abnormality in plant growth – rather than a true disease that involves a disease-causing microorganism. Pink eye not only[Read[Read More…]

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The drought issue: Dealing with in-field sprouting and secondary growth

At a recent AHDB Potatoes event in the UK, Dr Mark Stalham of NIAB CUF discussed calls he has received regarding the prevention of in-field sprouting and secondary growth. With thunderstorms in the forecast, these are genuine risks. He said: “Many crops, particularly those that are unirrigated, will have effectively stopped growing in the last week or ten days. A deluge of[Read[Read More…]

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The drought issue: British potato farmers advised on dealing with haulm desiccation in dry conditions

In a recent article posted on the AHDB Potatoes website, it is noted that Syngenta has issued updated advice on the use of Reglone for burn-off (desiccation) due to ‘the extremely dry conditions’. The advice is: “Due to the exceptionally dry conditions being experienced this year we will not be supporting 1.0 l/ha Reglone without a valid SMART test pass (as per[Read[Read More…]

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US: Water a concern, but Oregon potato crop looking good

As potato growers in Oregon prepare for harvest, the Oregon Potato Commission was looking forward to a successful year with a high-quality crop. “The production in Oregon this year is probably going to be similar to what it has been in the past,” said Bill Brewer, the commission’s executive director. “We’ve got a little bit of a shift where the production[Read[Read More…]

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Processing woes: British potato processors brace for significantly lower volumes; quality concerns

The UK Potato Processors’ Association (PPAUK), representing crisp and french fry manufacturers, issued an official response to a British government announcement of support for farmers during dry weather, saying that whilst this is an important step, it will not in itself resolve the issue. “The reality is that the UK potato processing sector faces significant challenges this year, resulting from the[Read[Read More…]

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Irrigation debate in the spotlight as Cavendish Farms closes Canadian packaging plant

On July 30, potato processor Cavendish Farms announced that it will be closing its fresh potato packaging facility in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), citing “limited availability of potatoes on the Island.” But provincial Agriculture Minister Robert Henderson says there is no shortage of potatoes on P.E.I. Asked by CBC News: whether the Island is facing a shortage, Henderson said, “I[Read[Read More…]

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No-go: British farmers scale down on potato plantings; area third-lowest on record

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK estimates that the total area in Great Britain planted with potatoes is 119,000 hectares(ha), a fall of three per cent on the previous year. This would represent the third-lowest planted area on record. The news comes in a challenging season for potato growers, with an agricultural drought likely to affect yields. AHDB’s[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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