News July 2022

Idaho farmers plant 25,000 fewer potato acres in 2022

Idaho farmers planted 25,000, fewer potato acres this year, an 8 percent decrease compared with 2021. Idaho farmers planted an estimated 290,000 acres of potatoes in 2022, down from 315,000 in 2021, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Many people expected spud acres in Idaho to be down this year but the 25,000-acre decrease came as a surprise to a lot of people.

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Maine’s foremost potato expert is bringing his expertise around the world

Potato farmers depend on Steve Johnson. At least they did for 34 years. Now Johnson, who retired on June 30, is taking his expertise to other parts of the world. He has harvested 33 consecutive crops of research potatoes, and pioneered an “electronic potato” that became the industry standard for calibrating harvesters to reduce bruising the crop in the field. He also has shared his expertise throughout Maine and across the world, in places like Australia, Guatemala and Macedonia.

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Potatoes in Practice 2022: An unmissable date in the potato calendar

Potatoes in Practice, the UK’s largest field event for potatoes and a highlight of the season, brings the sector together to view variety demonstrations, learn about current and new research while viewing trade exhibits in one place. PIP is set to return to Balruddery Farm (Angus, Dundee DD2 5LJ) on Thursday 11th August 2022, when it will focus on new research and current challenges, with the support of event partners James Hutton Institute, Agrii UK, SRUC and Potato Review.

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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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‘Earth Overshoot Day’: Mankind has already used up its resources for the year 2022

We are just halfway through the year, and humanity has already used up all the resources the Earth can sustainably produce. From now on, we are borrowing from the future. For the rest of the year, mankind will be inflicting an unsustainable toll on the planet, according to the calculations for Earth Overshoot Day. At the current rate, humanity would need three-quarters of another planet to feed the current rate of resource use.

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Univ of Idaho researcher’s model finding warmer temps favoring more volunteer spuds this year

A University of Idaho researcher’s predictive model shows soil temperatures last winter didn’t get cold enough throughout most of the state to kill volunteer potatoes in fields and spuds in cull piles. In addition to posing a weedy nuisance, volunteer potatoes and tubers that sprout in cull piles can provide a reservoir for pests such as nematodes and crop diseases such as viruses and late blight. Phillip Wharton, an associate professor in U of I’s Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, developed the model.

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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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Canada: Potato wart found in another Prince Edward Island field

Potato wart was detected in a field on Prince Edward Island last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed. As Shane Ross reports for CBC News, it was discovered in a field adjacent to one where potato wart was detected in October 2021, which resulted in CFIA banning potato shipments to the U.S. in November 2021. CFIA collected more than 17,000 soil samples from March 5 to June 30 and testing on those samples continues.

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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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‘FreshFry Pods’: Plant-based cooking oil filtering solutions launches in Canada, other international markets to follow

FreshFry, the makers of plant-powered pods that extend the life of cooking oil, announces today the expansion of its signature ‘FreshFry Pods’ to international markets. FreshFry Pods generates savings to restaurant owners in a multitude of areas including less overall oil usage, reduced build-up of oil in and around fryers, and lower labor costs for maintenance and disposal of oil.

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The ‘potato vine crusher’: New take on an old invention could help potato farmers crush the weed competition

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) tested the effectiveness of previously designed equipment, the ‘potato vine crusher’, on reducing common lambs quarter, redroot pigweed, barnyard grass, yellow foxtail and volunteer canola weeds that are found in potato crops. The results of the potato vine crusher’s ability to reduce weed pressure was impressive for Dr. McKenzie-Gopsill and his team at AAFC.

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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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PAA: Maine potato researcher honored internationally for his work

While many have heard of the Caribou Russet variety of potato, many may not know one of the faces behind it’s creation. Brian Bouchard spoke with one of the researchers who is being honored internationally for his work – Greg Porter, Professor of Agronomy for the University of Maine. He said he never intended to become a researcher. Porter received the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Potato Association of America (PAA), the highest award they can bestow.

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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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Report: Sharp rise in input costs, increased holding levels impacting planted potato acreage in Canada

Earlier this month Statistics Canada released their first estimate of potato acreage in Canada as a result of data obtained from their survey of potato growers in Canada. The 2022 potato acreage is estimated at 385,128 acres. This is almost flat compared to 2021, only 242 acres more. Significant rises in input costs – fertilizer and fuel predominantly – coupled with increased holding levels in some of the Eastern provinces, impacted seeded acreage in 2022.

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Canada: Trudeau moves forward with fertilizer reduction climate policy, ag ministers express ‘profound disappointment’

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has decided to move forward with his cap on nitrogen emissions by reducing fertilizer use even as provincial Agriculture Ministers beg him to stop, reports Thomas Lambert in a news story published by The Counter Signal. As per a Government of Saskatchewan news release, both the Alberta and Saskatchewan Ministers of Agriculture have expressed “profound disappointment”.

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