Dyson Farming and Bangor University in the UK have launched an ambitious project named TRIP (Transforming Intensive Potato production). The collaboration aims to revolutionize potato farming using sustainable practices, with a focus on reducing water usage while maintaining quality and yield. Supported by Innovate UK, this initiative combines academic expertise and practical knowledge to tackle environmental issues in agriculture, promising a more sustainable future for the sector.
Europe, UK, Ireland
Ukraine’s potato industry is under strain due to a combination of erratic weather and geopolitical conflict, according to the Vice-President of the Ukrainian Potato Growers Association, Nick Gordiichuk. A wet spring and dry summer have led to delayed planting and lower yields. The ongoing war with Russia has caused a significant population exodus, reducing the domestic market. Input costs, including fertilizers and chemicals, have surged by 40%.
The European potato industry has faced an unprecedented year of highs and lows, according to Raiffeisen’s CEO, Ferdi Buffen, who opened the 33rd Weuthen Potato Day in Germany recently. Extreme weather, soaring and plummeting prices, and supply chain disruptions have marked this year as an “unimaginable roller coaster ride.” Despite these challenges, the industry is adapting and gearing up for future opportunities, proving that even in extreme years, resilience and innovation shine through, Mr. Buffen said.
GRIMME introduces the next generation of its EVO 280 potato harvester, now featuring a fully hydraulic drive system for improved performance and efficiency. The upgraded model offers enhanced user-friendliness with features like Speedtronic-Web and Speedtronic-Sep for automatic speed regulation. The SmartView display aids in operator monitoring, while georeferenced yield mapping is accessible via the myGRIMME portal.
In a pioneering effort to reduce the carbon footprint of potato farming, Branston, the UK’s largest potato supplier, is leading a project funded by Innovate UK. The initiative focuses on optimizing the use of nitrogen fertilizers and is exploring cutting-edge technologies like R-leaf and Piketa. The project aims to revolutionize traditional farming methods and is a call to action for the industry to meet ambitious net-zero targets.
A new body, the PCN Forum, has been launched to tackle the potato cyst nematode problem affecting nearly half of Britain’s ware potato lands. Led by GB Potatoes, the forum aims to unite industry and academic experts in a coordinated strategy against the pest, estimated to cost the industry £31 million annually. The initiative marks a significant step towards sustainable agriculture in the UK.
The new Bauer E-series reel irrigators have been improved with features that make operation and maintenance easier while maintaining their reputation for strength, performance, and durability. The changes include a redesigned side guard for easier access to mechanical components, a larger battery, and enhanced remote access capabilities. Users can store up to 12 different irrigation programs.
Following the end of the summer break, Ireland sees a surge in retail demand and home consumption, leading to scarcity of old season Rooster crop while boosting the new season crop market. However, inconsistent yields and growing costs pose challenges. In Europe, favorable weather aids crop growth, though central France uses irrigation for crop lifting. Demand for Scotland’s early maincrop whites surpasses supply, while UK wrestles with quality issues in M. Piper crops.
Crop.zone, an agtech company, has successfully launched its groundbreaking hybrid herbicide technology in Canada. The technology offers multiple benefits including faster desiccation speed for efficient potato drying, precision that reduces bacterial infections, and improved tuber uniformity for better yields. It is weather-resistant, ensuring consistent performance and higher productivity. The solution also enhances potato quality, extends shelf life, and minimizes post-harvest losses.
DOWNS has launched the I-CropVision, a modular and versatile optical potato sorter that can be integrated into existing installations. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence algorithms, the I-CropVision sorts potatoes based on quality and waste, offering three output options. The new sorter aims to address the increasing global demand for potatoes and labor shortages. It will be showcased at the PotatoEurope trade fair in Belgium and is available in various widths.
AVR introduces its latest innovation, the AVR Python, a twin conveyor belt system designed for potato farming. The Python offers high capacity and is gentle on potatoes due to its moving raised edges. It is easily transportable and user-friendly, featuring a robust yet maneuverable frame. The system allows for various positioning angles and independent height adjustments for intake and discharge outlets. Enhanced features include a frequency converter, electronic length adjustment, and compatibility with AVR Line Control software.
Global overview: Low potato harvest and high prices expected in Western Europe, historically high prices in North America
European countries face a potato shortage due to unfavorable weather, high nitrogen fertilizer prices, and past low profitability in potato farming. The Netherlands and Belgium report uncertain harvests, while North Germany sees high potato prices. France’s demand surpasses supply, leading to Spanish potato imports. The UK’s potato sector improves, but inflation affects profits. Scotland’s conditions are positive, but Brexit impacts seed growers. Spain’s early harvest benefits from European demand, while North America anticipates a good crop.
The European Regenerative Agriculture Market is set to grow at a 14.1% CAGR from 2023-2029, with Germany leading the charge. As the importance of healthy soil and diverse ecosystems becomes paramount, regenerative practices are gaining traction for their broader sustainability benefits. Consumer preferences are shifting towards sustainably-produced foods, driving the adoption of regenerative methods. This presents businesses with opportunities to capitalize on the demand for eco-friendly food production.
Glyphosate, a key herbicide globally, faces potential bans in Europe due to environmental and health concerns. Its prohibition could significantly impact European agriculture, especially high-value crops. The economic effects vary by country and farming system, with potential increased costs and yield losses. The decision to ban balances health risks against economic implications.
‘A new dawn for potatoes, rooted in innovation’: Intention to establish a National Potato Innovation Centre in Scotland
The James Hutton Institute in Scotland announced the creation of the National Potato Innovation Centre (NPIC). This state-of-the-art hub will collaborate with national and international partners to enhance potato production. Prof Ian Toth, recently appointed as the NPIC Director, believes the facility could be operational in 3-5 years. He emphasized potatoes’ role in global food security and their adaptability to climate change.
FAM STUMABO, a prominent name in the food processing sector, has launched a redesigned website, merging two major brands. The site highlights their expertise in high-capacity machinery and precision blades, offering a detailed overview of solutions tailored to user needs. The modern logo embodies the brand’s innovative spirit. The platform invites users to delve into their approach, products, and updates, underscoring their dedication to industry excellence.
Potato tech evolution: Dewulf to unveil groundbreaking potato technology innovations at PotatoEurope 2023
Dewulf is set to attend Potato Europe 2023 in Kain, Belgium, unveiling two major innovations. The Certa 40 Integral, a new planting technology, and the MH 241 with the Scotts Evolution cleaning module will be highlighted. Visitors can explore Dewulf’s extensive machine range, including the Enduro and RA3060 harvesters, at stand 14 and the demonstration area. Additionally, the event will feature storage solutions and advancements in harvesting techniques.
A new era for potato breeding: Unraveling genetic complexity, opening the door to more efficient potato breeding
PhD candidate Corentin Clot of Wageningen University & Research has made significant discoveries related to potato sexual reproduction that could simplify the breeding of this important crop. Clot’s research focused on the challenge of combining desirable traits with resistance to diseases and pests in potato varieties. He discovered that the gene involved in self-compatibility is already present in tetraploid potato varieties, and developed a two-step strategy for breeding that avoids inbreeding depression. This new approach offers a ‘third way’ between conventional breeding and true seed hybrid breeding, and has the potential to improve potato resistance and yield.
B-hive Innovations collaborates on groundbreaking TuberTurgor project to reduce potato bruising and waste
B-hive Innovations has partnered with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on a new project called TuberTurgor, aiming to reduce the risk of potato bruising and develop technologies to minimize supermarket waste. The collaborative research team will investigate non-destructive methods of measuring turgor pressure in potatoes, which helps cells withstand shocks and reduce bruising. By gathering extensive data and proof of concepts, the project aims to develop tools that can automatically sort fresh produce based on its bruising risk.
Introducing the GB PCN Forum: GB Potatoes and CUPGRA unite against Potato Cyst Nematode threat in Britain
The British potato industry faces a significant threat from the Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN). To address this, GB Potatoes and CUPGRA have established the GB PCN Forum. This collaborative initiative aims to consolidate industry-wide efforts, bringing together experts and stakeholders to devise a comprehensive strategy against PCN. The forum emphasizes research, breeding resistant varieties, and practical solutions, marking a pivotal step in safeguarding the future of the British potato sector.
PotatoEurope 2023, an international event dedicated to the potato industry, is set to be hosted by Belgium in Kain, near Tournai, on 6th and 7th September. This event, which rotates among the top four potato-producing countries, will gather experts and professionals from the entire potato supply chain. Attendees can expect insights on cultivation, materials, and processing. The event promises to be the most significant and best edition yet.
The UK’s top potato equipment manufacturer, Haith Group, is set to launch new products at the British Potato show. The highlights include the Haith ProDry, an advanced potato dryer, and the 2024 version of the Rota-Tip with enhanced box handling features. The innovations are a response to customer feedback, aiming to offer the latest in potato handling technology.
Scotland’s renowned seed potato industry faces challenges, with only 186 registered growers remaining. A report from The Scottish Farmer emphasizes the need for unity and collaboration. The recent split from AHDB’s levy-backed services raises concerns about funding for essential research and market expansion. Experts stress the importance of global market penetration and representation at key trade events to ensure the sector’s sustainable future.
The potato, originating from the Andes, has become a cornerstone of German cuisine and culture. In a DW Euromaxx episode, Hannah Hummel explores Germany’s 270 unique potato varieties and their deep-rooted significance. From traditional dishes like roast potatoes and potato salad to the annual consumption of 56 kilos per person, Germany’s adoration for this tuber is unparalleled. Farmers like Sebastian Klass equate harvesting potatoes to discovering “gold nuggets,” symbolizing their treasured status.