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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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Potato psyllid monitoring program in Idaho kicks off

The University of Idaho and its crop consultant collaborators across the state are continuing the monitoring program for potato psyllids, zebra chip disease (ZC) and liberibacter (Lso), the bacterium associated with ZC. The monitoring program covers commercial potato fields throughout southern Idaho and is funded in part by the Idaho Potato Commission and generous in-kind contributions by collaborators.

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British potato enthusiast sows seeds for more heritage varieties

A potato enthusiast from Hampshire in the UK has produced six more heritage varieties. Among those being produced by Alan Wilson, who lives in Fleet, Hampshire, is a potato called Fortyfold, thought to be the oldest variety grown in Britain, having been introduced in 1836. Mr Wilson said: “I am delighted that I will be able to offer more choice from these outstanding varieties. This will be another step in my long-held ambition to put more rare potatoes on plates.”

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Videos show best practices to minimize tuber bruising

The University of Idaho and the Idaho Potato Commission have produced a series of short videos in which growers will find hints and tips on how to minimize bruising of potato tubers throughout the production process and when moving potatoes into marketing channels. These videos were recently uploaded by Bill Schaeffer to his YouTube channel.

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NEPG: Slight rise in European potato acreage, uncertain outlook for markets

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that the area for consumption potatoes in North-Western Europe increased with 0,5% compared with last year towards 621.148 ha. Under current market conditions, this is considered as too large an acreage, however, the COVID-19 situation arrived at a time when growers already ordered their seed potatoes and rented potato land, and for many it was too late for an area reduction. According to the NEPG, there are many more questions than answers during the current growing season in most potato producing countries around the world.

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Scotts sends its largest ever Evolution separator order to France

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has supplied its largest-ever order to France. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has sent 12 of its Evolution separators to DOWNS, a French manufacturer of potato handling and storage equipment. According to a press release issued today, the unique machines, which gently separate vegetables from soil and clod and haulms, will be incorporated into DOWNS grading machines which have been ordered by farmers across France, Belgium and Europe.

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AHDB webinar: Putting research into practice

Listen during this upcoming AHDB Potatoes webinar tomorrow (9 July) to what potato growers are planning across the AHDB strategic farm network. Through the week folks will have learnt about markets, research and commercial innovation – this session will discuss how this is being applied in the field and what growers can do to progress. Eric Anderson will offer an agronomist’s perspective on how we can build better strategies towards PCN management and the latest views on alternative approaches to virus control.

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Canadian potato growers and scouts can now download scouting resources

Growers and scouts in Canada can now download three scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada hosted a webinar series with Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.

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Fairfields Farm launches new season baby potatoes, activates online buying option

The warmer weather can mean only one thing, the chance to enjoy the tastiest early British new potatoes directly from Fairfields Farm, the company says in a press release issued today. Full of flavours and delicious for the summer months, Fairfields Farm says it is now offering its freshly-harvested baby potatoes online and giving customers 10% off everything throughout July – with free delivery nationwide in Britain straight from the farm to customers’ doors.

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Virus that combats potato diseases named after Cork in Ireland

A new group of helpful viruses which tackle the diseases which blight potato crops have been named Cork, the second largest city in Ireland. Colin Buttimer, the 31 year-old researcher who discovered ‘Corkvirinae’, said he is delighted to name the new viruses after where they were found. But more importantly, he said they have the potential for controlling potato late blight. The name Corkvirinae has now been ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

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Potato planting in the UK holds up despite challenges for growers

New UK potato figures have revealed a mere 1% drop in planted area despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional estimates from AHDB show the planted area in Great Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1% drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. Covid-19 doesn’t appear to have had an effect on planting decisions as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.

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Washington and Oregon potato acreage down, but plenty expected

Potato production in the Northwest was strong in 2019, and the outlook for 2020 looks similar, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake-based Washington State Potato Commission. “We had a good harvest of the 2019 crop, great quality, strong yields, and strong pricing for our growers and shippers,” he said. The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19 remained perhaps the top concern across the industry, said Gary Roth, executive director of the Portland-based Oregon Potato Commission.

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In defense of potatoes

In the world of nutrition, potatoes seem to have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes still — largely — get away scot-free. What is this travesty? Angela Dowden, British award-winning health journalist and Registered Nutritionist examines the evidence in this article published by the American Council on Science and Health.

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Viewpoint: Without modern, industrial farming, pandemic would have claimed many more lives

In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked “experts” what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like “mythographer” – no scientists invited – so it’s no surprise only one response had real-world relevance, A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone. How out-of-touch with the world must you be when you wish to go back in time 10,000 years and re-implement periodic famine?

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Tomra Food publishes new e-book for potato fresh packers

TOMRA Food has published an eBook to help potato fresh packers tackle operational challenges intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 19-page publication, downloadable free-of-charge from the company’s website, offers information and advice which will be helpful to potato packhouses not only now, while market conditions are distorted, but also long after the pandemic has passed, the company says in a press release issued today.

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Coronavirus continues to impede on demand across all sectors in Britain

Coronavirus continues to impede on demand across all sectors in the British potato industry, with mixed reviews on what the effect the reopening of pubs and restaurants will have, according to Alice Bailey, Senior Analyst at AHDB. Until food-service and catering returns to normal, free-buy supply will be limited in the processing sector. Unfortunately in the short to medium term these demand corridors are unlikely to return to normal, but will hopefully move in the right direction.

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Lamb Weston to report fiscal fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results

On Tuesday, July 28, potato processor Lamb Weston will report its fiscal fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results. Lamb Weston will host a conference call Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 10 a.m. The conference call also may be accessed live on the internet. Participants can register for the event now. A rebroadcast of the conference call will be available on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

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Wada Farms organic programs continue to grow

Organic programs for potatoes and other products at Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, continue to grow larger every year amid ongoing work to develop ever-better varieties and to fine-tune yields, quality and storability, reports Randy Green in The Packer. “We do that year-after-year to assure that the program continues to evolve in the right direction,” Kevin Stanger, president, told The Packer.

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Philippino potato farmers satisfied with performance of Canadian varieties

Potato farmers in northern Benguet in the Phillipines are expected to plant more potato varieties imported as seed from Canada’s Prince Edward Island after completing a successful season during their first trial with these varieties. According to a press release issued by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the Department of Agriculture–Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR), says in a July 1 report that trials with the new potato varieties proved very successful.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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