When East Lothian-based J. Haig Hamilton & Sons, decided to upgrade their potato grading operations to ensure the most advanced handling of the company’s valuable 550-acre crop, they chose long-standing manufacturing partner Tong Engineering’s flagship Caretaker mobile grader to increase capacity and capability. Based near the beautiful North Berwick coastline, Haig Hamilton farms a total of 3,500 acres of land, including a high-quality crop of potatoes.
Europe, UK, Ireland
PepsiCo UK recently announced it is investing £24 million (about US$33 million) in their Lincoln snack factory to upgrade their facilities, meet the growing consumer demand, and secure the building’s future. The investment will see existing machinery at their long-standing city center site replaced by new equipment – including a compact packaging machine – creating training opportunities for employees including their apprentices, some of whom will be upskilled in using the state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
The 11th World Potato Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland from 30 May to 2 June, 2022. The call for abstract submission for WPC 2022 is now open and authors are encouraged to submit their abstract online for consideration. A very limited number of submissions will be selected for oral presentation and authors will be notified if their abstract has been accepted for an oral presentation on 20th January 2022.
A group of leading potato industry stakeholders has drawn up tentative proposals for a new representative body, provisionally called GB Potatoes. They have distanced themselves from the Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG), and say their approach is to bring all sectors together via voluntary subscription and membership. A paper on provisional ideas is currently being circulated to stakeholders.
Monkton Court Farms in the UK has become the latest potato grower to receive Haith’s next-generation mobile grading system. Philip Smith, who grows Desiree and King Edward potatoes across 60 hectares in East Kent, took delivery of the state-of-the-art grader this month. “The Haith box fillers have never let me down, and I was really impressed with the way the company handled my order and has supported me ever since,” says Philip.
Research scientist Dr Barbara dos Santos Correia, with support of B-hive Innovations, has been successful in her application for a Future Leaders Fellowship and will receive nearly £675,000 to support her TuberSense project – a four-year research programme that aims to detect diseases and defects in potato crops, using volatile biomarkers and innovative gas sensors to reduce food waste across the supply chain.
The team behind Scotland’s seed potato monitor farm near St Cyrus is undeterred by the lights going out at AHDB Potatoes. The four-year SPot Farm project may have been blighted by the imminent demise of the principal funder and the difficulty of industry engagement due to the pandemic, but the partners involved are upbeat and determined to plough on with field-scale trials and research for the original four-year term.
The UK hospitality sector has been fully open for a few months now. Although not quite back to full capacity, people are enjoying being able to eat out again.“We have seen a massive demand for our brand both in fresh potatoes and frozen chips,” explains Simon Martin from Koffmann’s. “We have put a huge amount of work into this brand and promoting it. We have started supplying the Gordon Ramsey chain of restaurants and have had good support from him and other top chefs through social media.”
Corteva Agriscience signs agreement with Gaïago to develop and distribute biofungicide solutions globally
Corteva, Inc. and Gaïago, a biotechnology company, announced earlier this week a multi-year agreement to validate, develop and commercialize biofungicides for farmers worldwide. Through the agreement, Corteva Agriscience receives an exclusive, global testing license and associated optional commercial rights for a novel biofungicide technology that can help protect potatoes, grapevines, vegetables, and stone and pome fruits against pathogens such as downy mildew, late blight, powdery mildew and botrytis.
The beginning of 2021 has been an unusual time for Scotts Precision Manufacturing Ltd, reports Derek Scott, Managing Director. “We are already into double figures of Evolution upgrades ranging from 3ft wide machines approaching 30 years old, to very modern high capacity 8ft mobile graders. We offer a price point to suit most pockets – but really its all about the performance,” he says.
A restaurant in the United Kingdom is hiring experts to review their roasted potatoes. The restaurant, named The Botanist, recently took to its Instagram to make an announcement regarding the job profile, writes Somdatta Saha in an article for Food NDTV. According to the post, the food chain is looking for experts to sample their Sunday lunch to ensure its quality.
RMA-Techniek acquired the product SolEye on 1 September. SolEye is a product by Solentum B.V. (a former subsidiary of HZPC Holdings). Herman Verveld, Commercial Director at HZPC said: “Here at HZPC we are pleased with this agreement. We could not have found a better company to take over than RMA-Techniek. The company is familiar with the potato business and well known to existing and potential new customers worldwide. Moreover, the use and development of the SolEye will be further expanded”.
The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) has written to its membership to warn against the potential use of imported ware potatoes as seed. Charlie Reeve writes in a news story for Farmers Weekly that complications following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU culminated in there being no access to imported seed potato supplies from the EU since 1 July this year, save for exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Scotts Precision Manufacturing Ltd based near Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK has taken a bold and innovative step by producing a series of tutorial videos to assist operators, owners, sales and service technicians of its Evolution Separator. The 9 separate videos on the Scotts YouTube channel explain everything you will ever need to know about this market leading cleaning system. All things including how to set the machine up for all crop types are covered in minute detail.
Potato growers and agricultural machine builders in Biddinghuizen in the Netherlands have come up with a way to deal with colorado potato beetles without using pesticides. Infestations by colorado beetles, a North American import, have been increasing in Europe because of rising temperatures. To remove the colorado beetle and its ravenous larvae, all the farmer has to do is to attach a custom built machine with rotating plastic flaps to a tractor and swat them off the plants.
North Western Europe will have had one of its most humid summers in the last decades – in some areas in Belgium and Western Germany, rainfall at mid-July was an absolute historic high. The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports that since mid-July late blight problems have been a constant worry for growers, and spray costs will also be on a historic level.
During a special award ceremony on Wednesday September 1st, a professional jury awarded the PotatoEurope Gold Innovation Award to the Microtubers of E Green Global (EGG). Based on three criteria, namely innovativeness, potential impact in the potato market and applicability in the potato sector, the jury came to the decision to declare EGG Microtubers as the winner of the Golden Innovation Award.
Modern Plant-Based Foods Inc., an award-winning plant-based food company, is pleased to announce that it will be listing its plant-based snacks, Snacks from the Sun’s, “Popped Potato Crisps” with Germany’s largest grocery chain, ALDI. The products will initially role out at 285 ALDI retail locations. Currently, the ‘Popped Potato Crisps’ are in over 5,000 stores throughout the United States and Canada. These vegan snacks come in four different flavours.
Potato growers in the UK are starting to lift a crop that has weathered difficult conditions and is being sold into an uncertain market, writes Cedric Porter in an article for Farmers Guardian. Porter says most potatoes were planted in very good conditions as the wet winter gave way to a drier spring just in time. But it was one of the coldest April’s on record, followed by a very wet May and then a mixed summer with some heat but plenty of rain.
Agronomists interested in finding out more about biostimulants and the effect they can have on UK crops are being encouraged to contact one of Europe’s leading brands of natural fertilisers. The UK importer of seaweed-based biostimulant, Algifol, wants to establish a network of regional agronomists to receive insights and feedback from them and their clients. The company is offering free product to those that get involved.
crop.zone, the new hybrid electric solution for alternative crop desiccation and weed management, has been voted the most innovative new technology in potato production by potato professionals worldwide. In addition to the Audience Award, NUCROP won the silver medal at the Potato Europe Innovation Awards out of 30 entries. Both prizes were presented on 1 September 2021 in Lelystad, the Netherlands.
Reekie Ltd, a leading supplier of agricultural, construction and groundcare machinery, is all set to rejuvenate sales, service and parts back-up as a newly-appointed official dealer for Bauer’s premium range of crop irrigation equipment. The main focus of the new partnership is on the group’s depots at Perth and Cupar, which cover some of the largest potato and vegetable growing areas in Scotland.
The UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of vegetable handling solutions has announced that it has appointed a new Managing Director. Duane Hill takes over the role as Haith’s Managing Director as Nigel Haith moves to the position of Chairman as he prepares for semi-retirement. Mr Haith has been Managing Director since 1997 and has overseen the company’s growth from a turnover of £6 million to well over £20 million.
Since its launch in 2019, the MonstaFill box filler from Tong Engineering has proved invaluable in transforming post-harvest box filling for growers worldwide, from the UK and Ireland, to Australia and the USA. And now several new models of the MonstaFill twin-head box filler are in production at Tong’s new purpose-built manufacturing facility, demonstrating its role in bringing real benefits to growers both in reducing labour requirements and increasing throughput.
A move by Defra to block large-scale imports of seed potatoes originating from the European Union (EU) is creating new challenges for growers in Pembrokeshire. As Debbie James reports for Western Telegraph, with seed potatoes not included in the post-Brexit trade deal, applications to market imported seed potatoes from the EU will now only be considered on a “case-by-case’’ basis. Puffin Produce said the company was “working its way through it’’.
Fish and chip shop owners and restaurateurs in Britain’s Northumberland area have recently been to see where one of their key produce comes from. They were joined by farmers, agricultural students and agronomists on a site visit to Particularly Good Potatoes, based at Turvelaws Farm, Wooler. Up to 60 varieties grown on trial for chipping, crisping and roasting were on display.