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US potato farmers reeling from 21% price decline

The COVID-19 pandemic caused U.S. potato prices to drop by about 21% from Jan. 15 through April 15, according to the industry’s surveys of potato growers and processors in major potato production areas. The estimate was included in a June 22 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue signed by 19 U.S. potato growing organizations, requesting that potatoes be made eligible for the highest payment classification under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

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Agriculture, engagement with female potato farmers central focus of PepsiCo’s sustainability approach

PepsiCo released its 2019 sustainability report, Helping to Build a More Sustainable Food System, just last week. Nearly 80% of PepsiCo’s main crops – including potatoes, corn, oats and oranges – are sourced sustainably, up from 51% in 2018. Explicit inclusion of women in farming initiatives is good business for PepsiCo, according to Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo. For instance, the company has engaged with female potato farmers in rural areas in many countries.

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Herbicides – a season of replacements for British potato growers

Over the last three years, potato growers lost the approval for the most commonly used herbicides: linuron (in 2017) and diquat (in 2019), AHDB Potatoes says in a news release. It says weed control management has become a challenge, which experts are now trying to resolve by researching alternative options at the Strategic Farms trials. During the trials at the AHDB SPot Farms, two herbicide options have come forward: Emerger (aclonifen), and Shark (carfentrazone-ethyl).

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Breeders Trust invests in potato variety recognition using Geo4A satellite technology

The Brussels-based Breeders Trust today signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille. GeoVille specialises in the data processing of satellite images and is a leader in the field within Western Europe. The idea behind Breeders Trust is that together breeders can act more forcefully against unfair production and commercial practices adopted by the often globally operating rogue companies that discredit the entire sector.

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Morrisons’ ‘Wonky’ range a saving grace for British potato grower during lockdown

Specialist potato grower Scutt Farming was selling 100 per cent of its 152-hectare (375-acre) potato crop to fish and chip shops when lockdown began, forcing the East Yorkshire family business to urgently find a new market. The business’ potatoes found a home as part of Morrisons ‘Wonky’ range. “The Wonky range shows the public is happy to buy potatoes which are not necessarily as visually perfect as the classic pre-packed sample,” says Mr Scutt.

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Podcast: You are invited to relax with PlanetPotato

The latest PlanetPotato podcast urges you to relax with a potato. It whisks you off to the Kartoffel Hotel in Germany where – as well as enjoying dozens of delicious potato dishes – you can be pampered in its potato spa! Chill out and detox with a potato mash wrap or luxuriate in a potato bath and let the cares of the world float away… The podcast also speaks to Elin Tornblad of Swedish start-up Potato Plastics, which is using potatoes to replace a whole range of plastic products from cutlery to cling film.

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Farmers Day: Peru among world’s top potato producers

Within the framework of the Farmers Day —which takes place today— Peru managed to consolidate its position among the top 15 producers of this Andean tuber in the world, given the active participation of over 700,000 small producers, who cultivate potatoes in 19 regions across the country. World-renowned as the center of origin of potato, Peru has thousands of native potato varieties.

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Bayer to pay up to $10.9bn to settle US Roundup lawsuits

Bayer said today that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle litigation over the weedkiller Roundup, which has faced thousands of lawsuits over claims it causes cancer. Bayer said it was also paying up $1.22 billion to settle two additional areas of intense litigation, one involving toxic chemical PCB in water, and one involving dicamba, another weedkiller. The company continues to maintain that Roundup is safe.

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Simplot requests extension of deregulation of GMO potato: APHIS invites public comment

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6. The request was made today. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act

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Video: A working day of planting potatoes in the Netherlands

In this video by YouTube content creator, Martijn of the Trainspotter channel, followed planting activities on the arable farming operation L.B. van Nieuwenhuijzen. The operation is located on the island of Goeree Overflakkee in the Netherlands. Farm operators were planting potatoes with a brand new Fendt 940MT vario and 8-row Grimme GL860 planter. Preparing the soil was done using a Fendt 926 vario and a 4.5m wide tilling machine, and hilling was done with two Fendt 720’s with Grimme 4-row rotary hillers.

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Bushwick Potato Commission’s Ken Gray reports on the potato market

As a grocery cart staple, fresh produce and its bounty of categories has been one guarantee during the tumultuous past couple of months. In fact, when Kayla Webb of AndNowUKnow checked in on the potato market with Bushwick Potato Commission, Ken Gray confirmed that, if anything, the pandemic has highlighted the value and versatility of fresh potatoes for families in the United States.

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Fighting beetles the low-tech way…

Well, as the expression goes – where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Especially if a plan’s got to be made to rid one’s potatoes of them free-mealing Colorado potato beetles…

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Analysis: European potato area up a little on last year

European potato growers did not reduce planting despite the Covid-19 crisis, latest estimates from grower organisations show, World Potato Markets editor Cedric Porter writes. Even average yields would result in large crops, which could lead to an over-supplied market, especially if demand from foodservice buyers of potatoes, fries and other potato products does not return to normal in the next few months, according to Porter.

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.

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Eye on Russia: The potato farms of the Nizhny Novgorod region

The Nizhny Novgorod Region in Russia is a region with a long history of cultivating potatoes and vegetables. The region is fully self supporting with potatoes, and this is largely due to several high-end farming enterprises that operate in the area. Latkin LLC (1800 ha under potatoes in 2020) is the largest producer of potatoes in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The farm is located in the village of Kozhino, Arzamas district. For more than 28 years, the company has been led by Evgeny Evgenievich Latkin. Read more about this operation and others.

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US potato industry seeks improved coronavirus-related relief from govt

The potato industry wants more equitable relief under the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP. According to a report published by Capital Press, the National Potato Council and 18 other potato-industry organizations in a June 22 letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA should make the crop eligible for the relief category with the highest per-unit reimbursement for losses, and increase other rates “to a meaningful level that is equitable with other commodities.

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What is the value of using crop wild relatives in potato breeding?

It may surprise you to learn that wild potatoes grow like weeds in South America. While farmers in the United States battle weeds like pigweed and lamb’s quarters, farmers in the Andes Mountains have to keep weedy potatoes in check. There are over 100 wild potato species and breeders have just scratched the surface for new variety development. As climate change and a growing population put additional strains on potato growers, we will continue to explore the possibilities offered by this rich genetic resource.

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Staying on top of late blight: Canadian potato industry put spore trapping technology to work

On June 18 a crop consultant in Alberta told Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, that spore traps in the province had caught late blight spores. Ontario is going through a wave of hot and dry weather, and out west in Alberta, it’s the opposite with cooler, wet weather. In response to the discovery, of late blight in 2014, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) supported a spore-trapping project. In Ontario, Eugenia Banks lead a two-year Ontario Potato Board project evaluating one type of spore trapping technology in order to help growers improve late blight management with good results.

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Blight fungicide Percos has tuber blight recommendation on its label

The blight fungicide Percos (ametoctradin and dimethomorph) from BASF is one of the few blight fungicides which has a label recommendation for reducing tuber blight, according to a press release issued by BASF in the UK today. Percos is also said to have the benefit of being from a unique class of chemistry. “Percos is a vital part of any programme due to its unique activity on tuber blight brought about by the active ametoctradin as well as its unique mode of action and no cross resistance to most other fungicides,“ according to Paul Goddard, potato specialist for BASF.

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COVID-19 cases detected at Frito-Lay factory in Beijing: Customers upset

Haunted by the confirmed COVID-19 cases at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay factory in Beijing over the weekend, customers have been left in limbo as to whether they can still purchase their beloved potato chips, according to a news report by CGTN. Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said there’s no evidence showing PepsiCo’s potato chips have been contaminated with the coronavirus. PepsiCo said all staff at its food factory in Beijing’s Daxing District are home isolating after eight COVID-19 infections were reported at the factory on Saturday.

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Were lessons learned? The Ukrainian potato season 2020/21 gathering pace

Growers in the southern potato producing region of the Ukraine are reportedly well underway to harvest the early potato crop – and supplies are starting to show up in the Ukrainian fresh produce markets. After a difficult and most unprecedented 2019/20 season, market analysts at Fruit-inform have hope that the current season will be better.Results from Fruit-Inform’s survey of Ukrainian potato farmers indicate that the supply of potatoes may grow by at least 5% in 2020. It is unlikely that prices will again set new records in the Ukrainian marketplace.

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Trending: Sustainable produce packaging – EarthFresh launches new biobased mesh packaging

With consumer demand rising for environmentally responsible and sustainable products, Ontario based EarthFresh announced today that the company has updated their packaging with new biobased material. These new mesh packs are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made with CLAF® Biobased Fabric™. The mesh bags are made with renewable raw materials derived from sugarcane. These packages are 96% bio-based and 100% recyclable.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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