Europe, UK, Ireland

Pulsemaster’s groundbreaking innovations in PEF technology set to shine at Anuga FoodTec 2024

Pulsemaster will showcase its latest pulsed electric field (PEF) technology at Anuga FoodTec 2024 from March 19-22 in Cologne, Germany. Managing Director Mark de Boevere will present their new PEF-system for big raw-peeled potatoes, vital for french fries and potato chip quality enhancement. With a focus on the booming healthy snacks market, they’re also developing PEF for dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Pulsemaster’s innovation aligns with clean food trends and has garnered international interest.

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Royal recognition: Princess Anne tours award-winning Haith Group in South Yorkshire

On February 21st, HRH The Princess Royal visited Haith Group, a top UK vegetable machinery firm in South Yorkshire. Observing their acclaimed machinery and touring the facilities, she gained insights into their award-winning innovations like the Rota-Tip box tippler and Root Veg Polisher. Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque and engaged with the Haith family and staff. Haith, founded in 1947, employs over 120 people and is essential to global food producers.

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Kiremko peels away limitations at Anuga FoodTec: Innovation, sustainability, and your future processing success

Kiremko is set to impress at Anuga FoodTec 2024 with their complete turnkey potato processing solutions, emphasizing sustainability with their “Less is More” approach. As global leaders and partners with Idaho Steel, they offer optimization from peeling to final product. Discover their eco-friendly, innovative equipment and strategic partnership opportunities at their booth in Cologne, Germany, or online.

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New biological foliar treatment to boost nutrient use efficiency, boost crop yields

British farmers are set to gain from the new TARBIS foliar treatment, which enhances nutrient efficiency and crop yields while reducing dependency on synthetic fertilisers. Industry-tested and approved for organic systems, TARBIS, developed by Unium Bioscience, helps plants fix and uptake various nutrients and withstand stresses like drought. Effective in any climate, it could significantly cut fertiliser costs and benefit the environment.

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Moderate seed potato crop in Western Europe results in historic high prices, lower acreage expected in 2024

Seed potato acreage in the Netherlands, Germany, and France is declining, hitting less than 40,000 hectares in the Netherlands, a trend continuing for the third year. Wouter Mutsaers of Q-potato Holland highlights difficulties in managing increased disease pressure and reduced quality and quantity of seed potatoes due to poor conditions. Despite high prices, acreage is not expanding as usual, raising concerns over the supply for ware potato cultivation next season.

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Agrico and The Potato Company to unite: A strategic acquisition to redefine the seed potato industry

Agrico is set to acquire The Potato Company’s seed potato operations, aiming to meet growing global demand. This move, founded on a successful partnership, will enhance Agrico’s presence in Western Europe’s competitive market. TPC will function as a subsidiary, bringing in extensive expertise and a large distribution network. Both companies view the acquisition as beneficial, promising improved returns for growers and setting new industry standards for innovation and cooperation.

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DLG launches new event: ‘Potato Days UK’

DLG’s “Potato Days” event series will debut in the UK at Nocton Farm, Lincolnshire, on 4-5 September 2024. This outdoor trade fair, aimed at the potato industry’s value chain, will host exhibits, live demonstrations, and network opportunities. A 20-hectare venue by Dyson Farming sets the stage for professionals to explore innovative agricultural solutions. Dr. Lars Huf, Project manager of Potato Days UK underscores the event’s practical focus and its alignment with UK’s significant potato production.

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Navigating global challenges: Royal HZPC Group matches previous year’s success and prepares for leadership change

Royal HZPC Group weathered a difficult 2023 in potato breeding, with reduced yields in Europe but expected financial parity with the previous year. Adapting through sales of top seed sizes and exceptional permissions outside the EU, the company offset a 10% European sales drop with a global 3% tonnage increase. A stable €420 million turnover is projected despite debt collection concerns. CEO Gerard Backx will retire in 2024, succeeded by seasoned executive Hans Huistra, promising continued growth and innovation.

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‘Worming their way to the top’: Peat-free ‘living’ compost from Wormganix

Wormganix, in partnership with CHAP, is advancing sustainable agriculture with its Innovate UK EDGE funded vermicompost trials, offering a promising alternative to chemical fertilizers. Produced in a peat-free West Yorkshire wormery, their 100% organic fertilizer is rich in microbes and shows potential for enhanced plant growth and soil health. Current trials at CHAP’s facility assess Wormganix’s effectiveness on various crops. The company also seeks to incorporate recycled materials.

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The future of farming: Exploring the realities of regenerative agricultural practices

In “Regenerative Agriculture – Hype or Hope?” by Professor Mario Caccamo, the potential of regenerative farming to improve environmental outcomes is highlighted. Despite its increasing popularity, concerns about its economic feasibility and preliminary lower yields challenge its wider adoption. Integrating precision agriculture, NIAB research under Caccamo advocates for evidence-based practices to realize regenerative agriculture’s promise for sustainable food production amid climate change.

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Potato supply crunch: Ireland and Northern Europe face harvesting hurdles and seed shortages

The Irish Farmers Association reports steady potato sales in Ireland but warns of a rising scarcity impacting prices due to a weak overwintered crop. Harvesting challenges and poor weather have delayed up to 50 acres of potato crops for some growers. Similar issues in Northern Europe have led to seed shortages for processors and a 7% reduction in seed area, affecting supply chains and market stability throughout the continent.

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Europe’s farmer protests are spreading. Here’s where and why

Farmers across the EU have erupted in protests, fueled by long-standing frustrations over debt, unfair market pressures, and unfavorable subsidy systems. Suffering from price cuts, extreme weather, and aggressive regulations, they have organized protests ranging from brief demonstrations in Poland to a prolonged blockade in Paris. A significant price drop of over 10 percent in 11 EU countries has exacerbated these issues, igniting a continental-wide outcry.

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UK farmers vow to mount more blockades over cheap post-Brexit imports

Around 40 tractors disrupted Dover port traffic, protesting low supermarket prices and cheap imports due to post-Brexit deals. Farmers in Kent, inspired by similar actions in France, are planning more blockades, potentially targeting docks and distribution centers. This comes after a demonstration with tractors bearing slogans against cheap imports. With national support, further actions are being discussed to address their grievances over unfair competition and regulations.

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TOMRA Food revolutionizes food processing with AI-driven solutions and new organizational structure

TOMRA Food announced an agile new structure and three AI-powered sorting and grading solutions at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. With an increased focus on customer proximity and innovation, the reorganized company combines its processed and fresh food sectors into unified regional teams (EMEA, Americas, APAC), supported by a central hub for R&D and operations. The new AI technologies promise unparalleled accuracy in grading, aiming to boost productivity and minimize waste.

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EU faces dire potato seed supply challenges for 2024 growing season, prices soar

The EU faces a challenging 2024 for potato cultivation with a seed shortage due to a 10,000-hectare decrease in seed-producing areas. reports average yields and larger seeds with fewer tubers, compounded by viral issues and poor harvests due to rains. Seed prices are rising sharply, affecting all potato sectors. Producers may need to look for seeds outside traditional channels, while industry-wide efforts are needed to stabilize seed cultivation for sustainability.

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Irish and European potato markets: Resilience in the face of rising costs, tight supplies and seed scarcity

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that the Irish potato market remains strong despite rising costs and seed scarcity, with sustained demand in home consumption, retail, and food service sectors. Irish potato farmers are grappling with the dual pressures of rising costs and limited availability of seed potatoes. This situation is is a reflection of a broader European trend. Tight supplies across the continent have led to a significant increase in costs, putting additional financial strain on farmers.

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Von der Leyen withdraws contentious pesticide law amid right-wing backlash and farmer protests

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has repealed the Sustainable Use Regulation, a law aimed at cutting EU pesticide use by half by 2030 and banning them in sensitive areas. The withdrawal represents the Green Deal’s first setback. In her speech, she acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers but emphasized the need for a more sustainable model of production amidst climate and economic crises.

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Challenging times for European potato growers: NEPG reports significant losses and uncertain future

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports substantial losses for potato growers in 2023 due to poor weather and high costs, with 11,000 hectares and 650,000 tonnes affected. Despite this, global harvest rose by 5.1%, with varying regional impacts. Growers struggle with production costs, risks, and certified seed shortages, while processing demand remains high. This leaves the sector under stress, seeking a balance between supply and challenging conditions.

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EU faces pressure to defuse mounting anger as farmers protest across Europe

Europe’s farmers are protesting against what they consider are unfair and contradictory policies, disrupting daily life with demonstrations across France, Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria due to the climate crisis and policy responses. Protests escalated after a tragic accident in France and are poised to continue with potential nationwide action, expressing long-term frustration over environmental policy applications and subsidy removals.

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Europatat Congress 2024: Shaping the future of the potato industry in Brussels

The Europatat Congress returns to Brussels on May 23-24, 2024, focusing on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition.” Industry leaders will discuss environmental, economic, and social challenges, and innovations within the sector. The agenda includes reviews, a General Assembly, and a public conference amid European elections, offering networking opportunities enriched by social events. Potato professionals will soon be able to register at the congress website.

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Record-high potato prices in Ukraine: Causes, impacts, and industry outlook

Ukraine’s potato industry is experiencing a severe price surge, with costs up to four times compared to last year’s. A shortage of quality potatoes due to lower yields is driving this spike as the season ends. Consequently, imports, especially from Poland, are increasing to meet demand, affecting Polish market prices as well. This creates critical challenges and opportunities within the industry, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning and global collaboration.

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Resilient Irish potato market navigates harsh weather, shortfall reported in European potato supplies

The Irish Farmers Association reports a rise in potato sales due to their economic value in the cost-of-living crisis. Despite tough harvesting, consumption has increased, with the UK and Northern Europe facing supply challenges. Potential losses in Europe could lead to 800,000 tonnes of potatoes being lost, prompting interest in imports to cover deficits in spring. This situation offers both obstacles and prospects for the potato industry.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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