The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) organization says potato growers in its member countries face multiple risks and these risks seem to increase each season. Apart from uncertain and fluctuating production acreage and free-buy prices, farmers now have to include a series of “new” risks to manage. Recent developments, such as higher contract prices, could lead to profound imbalances throughout the whole of the potato sector, according to NEPG.
News January 2023
Potatoes have received a key health boost on the back of a major research project recently completed by staff at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the United States. The study confirms that the potato is a healthy vegetable, filled with nutrients and packed with health benefits. Wilson’s Country managing director Lewis Cunningham believes the Pennington study ‘re-writes the rule book’ in terms of potatoes’ perception as part of a healthy diet.
Fungicide resistant blight strain in Europe: Syngenta advice to British growers on protecting fungicide efficacy
Reports of a single strain blight pathogen in Denmark where some samples were shown to be resistant to the highly important CAA group of blight fungicides, has reinforced advice for growers and agronomists to prevent it occurring in the UK. The strain, EU_43_A1, had been identified in Denmark for the past four seasons, but never identified among the multitude of blight clones that make up the population in the UK.
The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $98,970 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to upgrade the University of Manitoba’s horticulture storage facility so it can conduct innovative potato research, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced today. The upgraded facility will also align with other international research facilities and will be able to create more training and capacity-building opportunities.
There’s no more denying it: plant-based foods are booming, and consumers are increasingly gravitating towards food that does not contain animal products, says Aviko Rixona on its website. Aware of this development, Aviko Rixona was eager to explore the potential of extracting even more added value from potatoes. The company is now the first in the market to launch Potato Cheezz: cheese made from potatoes.
The Princesa Amandine potato has been awarded the ‘Flavor of the Year’ for the second year in a row – a distinction given by consumers in blind testing carried out by independent sensory laboratories. “Obtaining the Flavor of the Year award for the second consecutive year is a confirmation that our Princesa Amandine potato’s fine, rich, and creamy flavor have won over Spanish consumers,” said Jean Michel Beranger, Managing Director of the Princesa Amandine Iberian Association.
In 2020, HZPC Americas launched the multi-year project ‘Potato Glory’ together with the University of Massachusetts Dining Program (UMass) for the purpose of conducting research and to provide students and employees with information on potatoes. This kills two birds with one stone: UMass learns more about potatoes, and HZPC gains more insight into opinions and behaviour in relation to potato consumption.
Potato growers have been told they are massively underestimating the economic significance of their sector which could be as high as £4.5 billion rather than the commonly-used estimate of £765 million, as Nancy Nicolson reports for The Courier. “So while the £100m seed potato sector is a small component of the total sales in the potato sector, it is underpinning all retail and processing and £3bn of value,” he said.
McCain Foods Sustainability Report: Key progress and opportunity for sustainable, regenerative food production
Today McCain Foods Limited (McCain) released its Sustainability Report, underpinning its commitment to producing delicious, planet-friendly food. The report includes the organizations sustainability results from the past Fiscal Year, demonstrating how McCain is responding to the challenges faced by climate change, its priority on enhancing soil health and farming partners’ transition to more regenerative practices.
Also known as ‘Johnny Potato Seed’, this small farmer turned a plot of land in Wisconsin into the epicenter of an international potato breeding movement, writes Bevin Cohen in a news article for Modern Farmer. Caravati founded the Kenosha Potato Project (KPP) in 2007. KPP quickly grew into an online community of thousands of both novice and experienced potato growers from around the world.
USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) recently announced funding ($6.8M) for Potatoes and Pests – Actionable Science Against Nematodes (nicknamed PAPAS). The PAPAS team will engage in a four-year research project to provide growers with the best management practices for controlling infestations of both root knot and potato cyst nematodes in potato fields. Successful completion will result in several tools for growers.
The discovery of the first strain of potato blight in Europe that is resistant to a carboxylic acid amide fungicide has highlighted the need to use mixes and alternate between different ones in 2023 spray programmes, as Richard Allison reports for Farmers Weekly. It was detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. And it is expected to spread to the UK.
If you sit down and talk to many of our parents and grandparents, they will remember harvesting potatoes from the garden growing up, and getting rid of the small, undersized potatoes, says Kara Oosterhuis in this edition of The Successors podcast by RealAgriculture. Flash forward to 2014, and Little Lake Farms Ltd., based out of Burdett, Alberta in Canada, decided they were going to base their farming operation around the very thing that used to be considered not sufficient enough: little potatoes.
The findings of a ground-breaking farm trial investigating potato varieties resistant to crop-destroying potato cyst nematodes (PCN) were revealed last week at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Invergowrie. Thanks to scientists from JHI, SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy, SRUC and SASA working collaboratively on this Scottish Government-funded project, new varieties of potato have been shown to be both highly resistant to PCN, and suitable for growth in Scotland’s climate.
Veg of Lund, parent company of Sweden’s DUG that is the maker of DUG potato milk, announced last week that the European Patent Office notified its intent to approve the company’s vegan potato emulsion patent. Veg of Lund’s says its comprehensive patent portfolio creates the conditions for the company to develop more product categories within new plant-based foods, such as ice cream and cream products as well as alternatives to red and white meat.
Potato Storage Insight’s latest bulletin has advice for dealing with the continuing battle against rising storage costs and a reminder of the forthcoming PSI Potato Store Managers’ Course which is attracting interest from across the country and overseas. The latest Synopsis bulletin’s technical insight feature has information on the effective use of plenums in box stores and the importance of them in optimising air flow to help get the best out of every kilowatt of energy expended over the storage period.
Birds Eye praises LIMAB UK’s expertise and technology solutions for the production of its potato waffles
The production of potato waffles led Birds Eye to contact LIMAB UK in 2021, wanting to source a moisture and fat analyzer. NDC product specialist at LIMAB UK, Kevin Goodison suggested they use the InfraLab Food Analyzer. “The potato waffles are now the crispiest that they have ever been and are now Birds Eye’s star product,” says Nigel Jackson, Process Technologist at Birds Eye.
Potato wart report: PEI Potato Board calls on govt to listen to international panel of experts convened by CFIA
The PEI potato industry welcomed the final report of an International Advisory Panel (IAP) on Potato Wart that was presented to industry and government on January 16, 2023. The panel was convened by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2022. The PEI potato industry is pleased with the thoroughness of the panel report and the Panel’s key findings that “given the limited presence of the pathogen, the IAP considers most parts of PEI outside the Regulated Fields as a PFA (pest free area) for S. Endobioticum [fungus causing potato wart].”
The Potato Trials and Technology Transfer event will take place on Wednesday, 1st February. Host Scottish Agronomy Ltd says this event provides the company with an opportunity to update growers on new developments in potato production. “In-store energy costs, monitoring and actions for efficiency improvements” is one of several topics to be discussed during the meeting.
From January 24 – 26, Restrain will be exhibiting at the Manitoba Potato Production Days Conference & Trade Show in Canada. Restrain is a manufacturer and distributor of ethylene generators. Restrain generators control sprouting in post-harvest potatoes, in a more natural way than any other agri-chemical method. Restrain is a natural sprout inhibitor based on the natural gas ethylene.
A recent study of 1,500 patrons (consumers who eat out at restaurants) identified habits and opinions of restaurant patrons related to potatoes. An astounding 53% of consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay an average of $5.20 more for a main dish with potatoes than without them, regardless of the format. Over half of the patrons surveyed (60%) expect to see potatoes on menus, second only to beef.
Haith, a leading manufacturer of vegetable handling solutions in the UK, will be promoting its innovative mobile optical sorter at the Fruit Logistica event next month (8-10 February). The PRO-Sort optical sorter was developed by Haith in partnership with GRIMME UK and automates the removal of stone, clod and foreign debris from potatoes. Capable of handling up to 100 tonnes per hour with high levels of accuracy thanks to the integral TOMRA 3A optical sorter, the PRO-Sort is proving popular with growers faced with labour shortages.
crop.zone, the specialist company for herbicide-free haulm desiccation, continues to focus on new partnerships and cooperation. With Tobias Menne as a new member of the advisory board, the company has now gained an important expert in this field. Tobias Menne recently set-up the SmartFarming joint venture between BASF and BOSCH. He now contributes his extensive professional expertise to the crop.zone supervisory board.
In this Idaho Farm Bureau podcast, Steven Sherman, BioLogiQ’s CEO, shares details of BioLogiQ’s NuPlastiQ, a 100% natural material made from potato, corn and tapioca starches and naturally sourced glycerin, which, when processed, produces pellets that can be blended with existing plastics. These BioBlends help to create more sustainable plastic products.
Potato farmers in the northern parts of the country have suffered heavy crop losses due to ground frost owing to the fall in temperatures in the last week. In some fields, the damage has been between 30-40 per cent. For farmers who planted some of the late varieties, sown in late November or early December, the damage has been as high as 80 per cent of the crop.
There are worrying signs that the UK’s farmers are starting to turn their backs on the potato, leading to predictions of higher prices and shortages for the British consumer, as Lucie Heath writes in this iNews report. Cedric Porter, managing editor of World Potato Markets, estimates there will be a 10 per cent reduction in the land being used to grow potatoes in 2023, which could lead to a 10 per cent reduction in the harvest.
Potato industry challenges posed by PCN and blackleg were among the topics discussed at the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers’ Association (CUPGRA) annual conference, as Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer reports in this news article. Scotland’s seed potato sector has an increasingly serious problem with the potato cyst nematode (PCN) species, globodera pallida, warned specialist potato agronomist, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy. Prof Ian Toth, of the James Hutton Institute, eld a workshop to discuss his latest research into Root damage by free living nematodes (FLN) as an important factor in blackleg infestation.