Europe, UK, Ireland

Idaho potato crop catching up after cold start

Idaho’s potato crop has caught up well after wet, cold weather during planting and emergence seasons delayed its start. As Brad Carlson reports for Capital Press, Declo-area grower Mark Darrington liked what he saw during recent test digs: tubers, in contrast to the “big crop of vines” of one variety that produced poorly in last year’s drought and early, prolonged high heat.

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UK: Driest growing season in more than 40 years causes ‘disastrous’ potato harvest in Spalding

A Spalding farmer in the UK has told how his potato crop has grown at half the normal size and number as a result of the driest growing season in more than 40 years. As David Bosworth reports for The Lincolnite, the East of England provides vegetables for the nation, but Andrew Branton says this year’s harvest is nothing less than a disaster. “There’s just no way that crops in the UK can cope with the climate we’ve had this year – lack of water, intense temperatures – you just can’t reverse this process.”

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GRIMME unveils six new machines at Farm Days event

Last month more than 2,700 farmers and growers from across Europe attended GRIMME’s first ever Farm Days event, with six machines taking centre stage at the GRIMME farm in Cappeln Germany. Over four days (21 – 24 June), GRIMME put the spotlight on a new VARITRON 470 self-propelled harvester, the EVO 280 ALL CROP two-row bunker harvester, the SELECT 200 two-row elevator harvester, the PRIOS 440 4-row cup planter and two REXOR self-propelled beet harvesters.

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Tong Engineering opens applications for apprenticeships in 2022

Tong Engineering has increased its apprentice recruitment campaign for 2022, with a variety of training opportunities available at the company’s purpose-built manufacturing facility in Spilsby. “We are proud of our established apprenticeship scheme and are very pleased that over 10% of our current workforce started with the company as an apprentice, including team leaders, managers and even directors,” says Jim Worley, Factory Manager at Tong Engineering.

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Company develops novel pheromone trap to help farmers monitor click beetles

A new, highly effective lure has been developed by International Pheromone Systems (IPS) in the UK that can help farmers to monitor all three types of Agriotes beetles. Agriotes beetles are one of the most economically damaging pests of arable and horticultural crops. Their slow-growing larvae (wire worms) feed on the roots of a variety of root and leafy crops including potatoes. The IPS pheromone trap was found to perform as well as other traps in the field and offers a more robust option for growers.

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Harvesting crop insight tool HarvestEye to exhibit at potato expos in Scotland and Germany

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is taking to the European stage as it prepares to exhibit at two major potato events, Potatoes in Practice and PotatoEurope. Fitting to both existing harvesting or grading equipment, the technology provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over whole field, which is otherwise absent from conventional sampling.

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IFA: Heat stopped maincrop growth in Ireland, dry and hot weather expected to continue in Europe

Consumption and sales of potatoes have picked up this week in Ireland as temperatures settle back to average levels, according to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). High temperatures experienced last week stopped maincrop growth and this may delay harvest in the back end of the year. Across Europe, temperatures have reached 40°C in places last week, expected to continue into August.

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Quest for novel fungicides: Researchers exploiting soil microbiomes in the fight against potato late blight

Natural organisms found in soil and their use as novel fungicides is being explored in a new collaborative project to help farmers overcome potato late blight. The work centres on utilising the latest cutting-edge technology to analyse soil microbiomes – the complex interaction of billions of microbial organisms found within soil. The aim is to identify bacteria with fungicidal properties against Phytophthora infestans, with a view to harvesting the active compounds.

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Heatwave could impact price of British potatoes

Hospitality venues could see a rise in the price of potatoes after last week’s heatwave potentially damaged the quality of some crop, a supplier has warned. As Jungmin Seo reports for The Caterer, Austen Dack, marketing manager of Isle of Ely Produce in Cambridgeshire, which supplies over two million bags of potatoes into fish and chip shops and restaurants, said the performance of later second earlies and true maincrop varieties of potato was “very much in the balance”.

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‘Clock is ticking’ for Scottish seed potatoes as Ireland capitalises on ban

Gordon MP Richard Thomson has warned DEFRA Farming Minister Victoria Prentis that the “clock is ticking” for Scottish seed potato exports as the Irish Government put in place a €3million investment scheme in their domestic potato growers in a bid to capitalise on the ban on imports of Scottish seed potatoes. Irish Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said this presents a timely opportunity for the Irish seed potato sector to develop capacity and expand

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Germany replaces Belgium as largest buyer of Dutch seed potatoes

Germany has replaced Belgium as the largest buyer of Dutch seed potatoes for the 2021-2022 marketing season, as Ferdinand Woodridge reports for Dividend Wealth. He says this is evident from the final figures for seed potato exports released by the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO). Germany bought 112,300 tonnes of Dutch seed potatoes from the 2021 harvest. This is 14,000 tonnes and 14 percent more than last year.

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PotatoEurope 2022: Direct farm sales, digitization in cultivation and soil erosion prevention in focus during event

On 7 and 8 September 2022, PotatoEurope, the outdoor exhibition for potato cultivation and machinery, will take place at the Rittergut Bockerode estate in Springe-Mittelrode near Hanover, Germany. The trade fair will see more than 180 exhibitors from across the entire potato chain. Special features will include a focus on direct farm sales, digitization in cultivation, and soil erosion prevention.

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MP renews call for deal to get Scottish seed potato exports back

Gordon MP Richard Thomson has again called on the UK Government to get a deal in place that would see the resumption of exports of Scottish seed potatoes to the EU and Northern Ireland. Currently, as well as losing access to the valuable EU export market, Scottish seed potatoes are unable to be exported to Northern Ireland as a result of the UK’s Brexit deal. “It seems to me that Ministers would be knocking on an open door if they went to Brussels with it,” he said.

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Careers devoted to potato research and innovation: EAPR awards Mike Storey and Kazimiera Zgórska

The European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) Council has awarded two honorary memberships to celebrate people with outstanding achievements in potato research and significant contributions to the association. Two new honorary members were announced on 7th of July 2022, during the conference dinner of 21st Triennial Conference of EAPR in the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland: Mike Storey and Kazimiera Zgórska.

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PotatoEurope 2022: Technical programme to focus on special feature – ‘On-Farm Processing and Marketing’

The special feature ‘On-Farm Processing and Marketing’ – part of this year’s attractive technical programme at PotatoEurope 2022 in Germany – will be covering essential know-how for selling produce directly from the farm: storage, cleaning, packaging, further processing and marketing. Innovative ideas for selling and marketing the farm’s own potatoes will be presented along with tips on branding and advertising.

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Heatwave: Home consumption and retail sales taking a hit in Ireland, UK and Europe struggling with increasing drought

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report that home consumption and retail sales have taken a hit over the past week in Ireland due to soaring temperatures. Countries in Europe are reporting a reduction in the planted acreage for 2022. Lack of rainfall is becoming an increasing problem in mainland Europe. In the U.K, maincrop varieties are now starting to show the effect of the very high temperatures.

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Heatwave to push up price of chips, say British potato farmers

The price of chips is set to increase after recent high temperatures ravaged crops, potato growers in Britain have warned. According to a BBC report, farmers said the heatwave had added to pressures caused by rising costs linked to the war in Ukraine. The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) said the heatwave had compromised the “yield and quality” of potato crops.

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Met Éireann issues potato blight warning for all of Ireland

Met Éireann has today (Wednesday, July 20) issued a Status Yellow warning for potato blight for the entire country. As Aisling O’Brien reports for Agriland, the national forecaster stated that weather conditions conducive to the spread of the disease will develop over most of the country from Friday night (July 22) to Sunday afternoon (July 24).

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Potato Storage Insight: Maleic hydrazide update, store servicing and calibration

“July is a key time for maleic hydrazide (MH, eg Fazor, Crown, Itcan etc) treatment,” writes storage specialist Adrian Cunnington in the latest issue of his monthly Synopsis bulletin. “With the majority of post-harvest sprout control options lacking residual activity against sprouting – which is so key for long term storage – the role of MH cannot be underestimated,” he points out.

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Grand Opening of Tong’s new manufacturing facility ‘an eye-opener’

After a continuous three-year, two-phase project to build a purpose-built manufacturing facility on the edge of the company’s hometown of Spilsby, Tong Engineering officially opened its brand-new doors to visitors on 6th & 7th July in a celebratory Grand Opening event. The two-day opening event marks a key milestone for the vegetable equipment manufacturer, with the new 90,000 ft2 factory now in full operation.

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Anglo-Spanish potato partnership advancing harvest tech

Researchers and developers behind machine-learning driven crop insights tool HarvestEye are taking advantage of the Mediterranean climate’s earlier potato harvesting season – working with growers in Mallorca to conduct field trials of current and future iterations of the technology. HarvestEye is patented technology that fits to existing harvesting or grading equipment, providing timely insights on root crops as they are lifted.

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First estimate of potato area planted in North-West European countries.

The total area of potatoes in the four North-West European countries (Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands) is expected to increase on average by 2% in 2022 to reach 507,300 hectares (+10,100 hectares). The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports the following figures: +3.2% in Belgium (92,558 hectares), +1.5% in Germany (185,800 hectares), +2% in France (156,162 hectares), and +2% in the Netherlands (72,816 hectares).

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IFA: Static retail market in Ireland, processing activity strong in Europe

Retail markets in Ireland remain static as school holidays are in full swing; demand for the processing sector is buoyant, according to this week’s market report by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). The area of earlies planted is slightly less than 2021 area. Across Europe, processing activity continues to be very strong but buyers are now much more relaxed.

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Cyprus’ President meets with potato farmers, promises support

President Nicos Anastasiades promised potato farmers on Wednesday that the government would support them and they should be “absolutely sure of that”. The potato farmers have been demanding a meeting with the president, saying they can no longer continue planting due to the high costs involved. “Potato farmers have no money to subsidise the product since the cost cannot be passed on to the consumer,” they said.

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Clamping down on PCN: New study to help farmers improve trap crop success

Improving the reliability of trap cropping to help farmers overcome potato cyst nematode (PCN) pressure, is being investigated as part of a new feasibility study, funded by Defra and Innovate UK. The project will look at ‘DeCyst solanaceous’ trap crops, which stimulate PCN to hatch at a different point in the rotation to when potatoes are planted. As a result, mature female PCN are prevented from completing their lifecycle, reducing the impact on potato crops.

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Wilson’s Country hosts World Potato Congress delegation

Ireland’s hosting of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) at the end of May and early June culminated with 30 delegates from countries around the world visiting Wilson’s Country in Co Armagh. As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the event provided guests with an opportunity to observe, at first hand, how Ireland’s largest potato packing and processing operation is managed.

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