Fertiliser prices have soared, the cost of farming equipment has gone up and unrelenting rain means the potato season is behind schedule. As Meg Powell reports for The Advocate, Tasmania could be in for a potato shortage, growers have warned.
New Zealand, Australia
Wet weather and rising fertiliser prices are forcing farmers to rethink their potato plantings, with tonnages expected to be down significantly in the upcoming season. Former McCain grower representative and seed potato grower Beau Gooch said it was becoming significantly more expensive to grow potatoes. Leigh Elphinstone, Simplot Growers Committee chair and north-west potato grower, said the weather and fertiliser hurdles could result in a potato shortage.
McCain Foods Tasmania installs Pulsemaster PEF-tech innovation, reduces water use by more than 100,000 litres per day
McCain Foods has installed proprietary world-leading technology in the form of a Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) generator, as part of the company’s latest upgrade to its Smithton plant in Tasmania. The plant has reduced water usage this year by more than 100,000 litres per day, and the PEF system will also save the plant approximately 276 tonnes of carbon each year, and around 33,000 gigajoules of energy due to the increased efficiency and reduced wastage.
“Plant cures” are the key to world-first research by a team of scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), led by Professor David Craik. “We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines,” Professor Craik said. “So we want to put molecules into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”
University of Canterbury environmental science professor Brett Robinson in New Zealand is working on a research project that transforms biowaste into high-value products. Waste products from New Zealand’s food processing industry – such as potato scraps and grape skins – could be transformed into high-value soil conditioners and animal feed, according to new research.
The group that recently purchased the fast-growing Original Foods Baking Co. has announced today it has agreed to acquire iconic Australian desserts and baked goods brand Sara Lee from McCain Foods in Australia and New Zealand. The acquisition creates a strong partnership as both Sara Lee and the Original Foods Baking Co. have a long tradition of supplying Australasia with indulgent baked goods and desserts.
It’s a risky crop, but Sisters Creek potato farmer Leigh Elphinstone in Tasmania wouldn’t have it any other way, reports Meg Powell in this news story for The Advocate. And the multi-generational farmer’s passion for the simple spud seems to have paid off, helping secure growers like himself an additional $9 a tonne deal with major food manufacturer Simplot over the coming financial year.
The New Zealand potato industry remains a billion-dollar-plus industry despite a year of crises, and a disappointing Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment tariff report. Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes New Zealand says the result shows “the immense value of our processing sector”. “Fifty-five per cent of our locally grown potatoes produce fries and another 12 per cent produce crisps,” he says.
It takes 120 days from planting to harvesting to create a product that can be consumed within minutes, but the journey of these spuds stretches back even further. Farmer Jason Menegazzo’s family has been growing potatoes for 50 years, and for the past two decades have been solely supplying The Smith’s Snackfood Company. Introduced from England in 1931, the Smith’s brand now celebrates 90 years of manufacturing in Australia.
Red Rock Deli in Australia and New Zealand has teamed up with Colin Fassnidge, using his culinary creativity to inspire three new, restaurant quality flavours as part of Red Rock Deli Chef Series range. Colin has a famous philosophy with food, creating rich flavours and always pushing the boundaries. PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand’s Hind Simhairi, Senior Brand Manager, said the collaboration with Colin was a natural fit.
The Australian potato industry has a new extension and communication project. The new PotatoLink intitiative (inlcuding a website and accompanying magazine) aim to help growers improve quality, maintain yield and find efficiencies through best practice resources, targeted training, relevant field days and regular clear, comprehensive information.
McCain Foods has released its sustainability strategy that centres on a global commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent and move out of coal to renewable electricity by 2030. Agriculture Director for Australia and New Zealand, Rod McLaren, said he was excited the company was going green. “The spotlight has been put squarely on the challenges being posed by climate change and our fragile global food systems,” he said.
They might look like small, purple potatoes, but “taewa” are so much more. Taewa come in every shape, and a multitude of colours. There are taewa with dark brown skins and purple inside; pale white inside, and golden yellow outside; maroon red skins, and orange inside. They’re similar, but also quite different, to what you’d find piled at most supermarkets in New Zealand.
If you’ve been on the land for four generations already, you want to make sure you keep it going for the next one. In southern Victoria, Blowhard potato farmer Gary Crick is making sure he’s using the most sustainable practices so his farm can stay competitive, and to leave a strong legacy for his son, writes Alex Ford in this article published in The Transcontinental.
McCain Foods has installed its proprietary world-leading, technology in the form of a Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) generator, as part of the company’s latest upgrade to its Smithton plant in Tasmania, Australia. The PEF generator is another example of McCain’s commitment to producing more with less, as the $1.8 million project, which incorporates McCain’s proprietary technology, results in potatoes being pulsed with an electric field rather than steamed, slashing the plant’s energy and water usage.
It is with a heavy heart that the World Potato Congress has learned of the passing of former World Potato Congress Director and International Advisor, Ron Gall. President Romain Cools stated: “Ron was dedicated to the potato industry and in helping to make the World Potato Congress Inc. the world renowned organization that it is today. After 13 years of involvement with the World Potato Congress Inc., seven as an International Advisor and six as a Director, his commitment and loyalty to WPC will be long remembered.
Over three decades, Tasmanian-based business Agronico has shifted its focus from an agriculture consultancy business to all things mini tubers and seed potatoes. The business is always aiming to improve and is currently working on a five-year plan to enhance customer experience, while offering world-class procedures and facilities for seed potato storage.
Known by many and loved by all – McCain Foods ‘Smiles’ are back in Australia – this time in mini form. C-AH-UTE! Take your tastebuds back in time with all the nostalgia feels of an Aussie family favourite, 12 years since production ceased. Gone but not forgotten, consumers across the country have inundated McCain Foods with calls, social media requests and even a petition for the return of this iconic snack. A Buzzfeed poll saw an impressive 97 per cent of contributors answering ‘Yes, duh!’ for McCain to bring ‘Smiles’ back. And the pressure has continued to build since.
The ‘Great Wrap’: Aussie couple goes to market with world first compostable potato-based cling wrap, pallet wrap
A young Australian couple have thrown in their day jobs as an architect and wine maker to tackle ‘the plastic problem’ after being disheartened by the sheer amount of waste in their industries. Julia and Jordy Kay are producing the world’s first compostable cling wrap and pallet wrap which is made out of potato waste. The Melbourne couple sold more than $30,000 of ‘Great Wrap’ in their first week. The next product will be the pallet wrap which will be made from the potato waste as well.
‘Greening the Green’: PepsiCo to make snack packaging 100 percent recyclable, teams up with Clean Up Australia
PepsiCo has strengthened its commitment to tackling plastic waste by becoming the first large food FMCG business in Australia to move to 100 percent recyclable packaging across its entire snacks range. PepsiCo’s portfolio includes some of the most recognisable snack brands in Australia including Smith’s, Red Rock Deli, Sakata, and Doritos. By the end of the year consumers will be able to recycle all of their PepsiCo snack packaging via their home curb side recycling.
An investigation into the European dumping of frozen processed potato into the New Zealand market has been deemed as not being a material threat to the country’s potato industry, according to a new report. New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Interim Report said that while dumping had occurred, it did not require tariffs to be applied.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in New Zealand has released its Interim Report (Essential Facts and Conclusions) on the investigation into European dumping of frozen frozen potato fries and wedges into the NZ market. Potatoes NZ says in a press release that the MBIE investigation found there is dumping, but it has deemed it not of material threat to the NZ industry or at a level requiring tariffs.
As Australia’s iconic homegrown potato chip brand Smith’s celebrates its 90th year, parent company PepsiCo has unveiled its installation of Australia’s only high capacity baked potato line to produce a wide range of new ‘better for you’ snacking innovations, including Smith’s Oven Baked potato chips and Red Rock Deli premium crackers.
The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to present its next webinar on Tuesday, April 6, 2021/Wednesday, April 7, 2021 with Dr. Paul Horne, Entomologist and owner and Director of IPM Technologies Pty Ltd., Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia. The presentation will outline the elements of IPM in any crop but particularly in potatoes. Examples of how pesticides can be chosen based on their IPM fit will be given, using Australian conditions as an example.