News August 2021

New Zealand research aims to turn bio-waste such as potato scraps into economic boost

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.

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Study: Dietary shift to potatoes could cut staple crop emissions in China by 25%

A dietary shift from rice to potatoes could ‘notably reduce’ the climate and environmental impacts of staple crop agriculture in China, according to a new study. It finds that a large-scale dietary shift towards potatoes, combined with better growing methods, could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of these staples by up to 25 per cent. However, the authors note that it remains to be seen whether such a major dietary shift can be carried out on a large scale.

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Kenyan research station banking on high quality potato seed production and distribution

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) is banking on a high quality potato seed production and distribution deal with Syngenta Foundation to increase production five times to 10 million tons annually. The deal involves increasing high quality certified potato seed availability to farmers by 25 percent through rapid multiplication, increased field seed bulking, and capacity building of commercial seed growers in the country.

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11,000-year-old solution to modern problem: Ancient potato could thrive in changing climate

With drought a persistent problem in the Southwest, Hopi/Tewa seed keeper Valerie Nuvayestewa has eagerly joined the effort to bring back an Indigenous superfood that her ancestors cultivated for 11,000 years. The ‘Four Corners Potato’ can grow under dry conditions and provides triple the protein and twice the calcium of red organic potatoes. It is known scientifically as the Solanum jamesii.

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Heat, drought stress Red River Valley potato crop, resulting in quality, yield reduction

The toll that hot dry weather took on the Red River Valley 2021 potato crop won’t be visible until harvest begins in a few weeks, but it’s already clear it has affected yields and quality. “We have a lot of physiological disorders,” said Gary Secor, North Dakota State University plant pathologist. Secor was one of several NDSU and University of Minnesota researchers who spoke on Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association field day near Larimore.

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2021 San Luis Valley Potato Festival is back

The 2021 Potato Festival will be Saturday, September 11 at Chapman Park in Monte Vista. There is another exciting opportunity available at the Potato Festival to those who want an in-depth look at the potato industry. Hosted by the Executive Director of Colorado Potatoes, Jim Ehrlich, this tour will visit the San Luis Valley Research Center and a local grower’s field. Passengers will get to talk directly with growers and researchers.

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Tong’s new MonstaFill transforms box filling worldwide

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.

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New North American Heat and Control facility under construction

Heat and Control, Inc., world renowned equipment manufacturer and food/non-food processing industry supplier, is constructing a new facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The new site will expand support for the North American manufacturing industry and will meet the increased needs of pre-sale and after-market needs, including product/equipment testing, demonstrations, service support, and training.

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CropX and PepsiCo México to help Latin American potato farmers to improve farm management practices

AgAnalytics company CropX and PepsiCo México expand their collaboration to help PepsiCo’s Mexican potato farmers reduce water and fertilizer consumption, improve soil health, lower greenhouse emissions and improve crop yields. By collaborating with CropX, PepsiCo can now help growers in Latin America improve farm input application efficiency and become environmentally sustainable.

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Fascinating: Watch the dog that can sniff out a potato crop disease

Maine potato farmers might have a quicker way to protect their crops from dangerous diseases, thanks to a passionate dog trainer and her charges. When she first heard that no one had ever taught dogs to detect potato diseases through careful, odor-based training, Sanford native Andrea Parish decided to become the first to do it. Her dogs can stiff and detect all three strains of potato virus Y as well as bacterial ring rot.

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Puffin Produce ‘works around’ seed potato block

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’’.

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AsiaBlight Network gathered at the 23rd Chinese Potato Conference

Five years ago, a group of farmers, scientists, and government officials formed the AsiaBlight network to develop an integrated approach to managing, and eventually eradicate, late blight disease with an aim to improve nutrition and food security for billions throughout Asia. Recently the network convened a side event at the 23rd Chinese Potato Conference, held in Yulin City to discuss progress made in the past year.

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Britain’s ‘Particularly Good Potatoes’ company serves up particularly tasty chips

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.

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Idaho potato growers brace for ‘inferior crop’

Randy Hardy, of Oakley, is not alone among Idaho farmers in his assessment that the potato crop he’ll soon harvest will be the worst of his career. Spud farmers conducting test digs or early harvest are uprooting plants supporting no tubers. Where there are spuds, there are fewer than normal, and most of the tubers are undersized and misshapen.

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Expert opinion on innovations in the potato processing industry

“The potato processing market has been steadily increasing in the last years and this trend is expected to continue. Following this growth, many companies working in this field have presented different innovations in the recent years: new storage options, new pretreatments, new fryers, and new cutting systems.” So says Emerson Jiménez Barajas, Application Director, FAM & Stumabo International.

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New weapons for tracking late blight

A North Carolina State University team has developed quick diagnostic tests to detect plant diseases before they show symptoms in the field. In particular, they have worked on technology for identifying Phytophthora infestans, which causes late blight in tomatoes and potatoes. This article highlights how that technology works and describes the benefits for producers.

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Australasia: ‘Sweet success’ – Original Foods Baking acquires McCain Foods’ Sara Lee

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.

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Africa Potato Association to hold 12th Triennial Conference in Malawi

The Africa Potato Association (APA) has announced that its 12th triennial conference will take place from June 27 to July 1, 2022 in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. The conference theme will be ‘Harnessing potato and sweet potato innovations for resilient and healthier agri-food systems’. Conference subthemes include breeding and genetic innovations for increased resilience, production and nutrition, innovative approaches for building sustainable seed systems and more.

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Spud advice: Managing nutrition during tuber bulking crucial

With tuber bulking being such a critical, yet energy sapping period in potato crop development, now is the time to consider nutrition applications to support crop health and maintain tuber growth. If crops are lacking potassium and sulphur at cell expansion during tuber bulking this can lead to various issues, pointed out FMC crop nutrition technical manager, Chris Bond.

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Harvesting best practices: Equipment specialist provides practical tips

There’s nothing worse than seeing the crop you’ve invested all season growing get bruised, nicked or otherwise compromised during harvest. Albert Hewitt, Equipment Sales Specialist at LOCKWOOD Manufacturing provides his top tips to ensure growers’ crops comes through harvest in the best possible condition.

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AVR introduces the ‘Spirit 7200’, a new two-row harvester with unique features

The newly introduced ‘Spirit 7200’ from AVR complements the company’s Spirit family as a drawn, two-row offset potato harvester. In essence, it is a further development of the Spirit 6200. The Spirit 7200 is a response to the increasingly prohibited chemical destruction of haulms. The new harvester integrates an additional haulm separation system in the form of a haulm roller just upstream of the in-line pintle belt.

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Food of the future? ‘Food generator’ turns plastic trash into edible protein

Two U.S. scientists have won a 1 million euro ($1.18 million) prize for creating a ‘food generator’ concept that turns plastics into protein. The 2021 Future Insight Prize went to Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, for their project. It uses microbes to degrade plastic waste and convert it into food.

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Scottish treasure trove of rare potato species could hold secrets to potato problems

A priceless living library of rare potato species is being trawled for traits which could offer resistance to pests, diseases, viruses and  the looming issue of climate change. The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the only potato gene bank in the UK and only one of a handful in Europe, is located at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) campus at Invergowrie, and is regarded by geneticists as  a vital resource for potato breeders.

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‘Red Candy’: Technico’s early maturing red skinned table potato variety

In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.

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