McDonald’s Corp. said it will weigh the pros and cons of reusable packaging in its restaurants worldwide, addressing an environmental predicament as European laws have begun to force the fast-food titan to offer its fare in more durable containers. Takeaway food and beverage packaging makes up 88% of the world’s coastline litter, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Nature. Investors and governments are increasingly pressuring restaurants to cut plastic waste.
News March 2023
Potato breeder LIND joins Europatat
Europatat warmly welcomes the Polish company LIND, which was established in 1996 as an investment of a Scottish family-run agricultural business with generations experience in the production of high-grade seed potatoes – J&WF Lind, located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. J&WF LIND was a pioneer in production of pre-basic seed potatoes in Great Britain. It was also the first company to have commercial potato micropropagation laboratory and is the largest independent producer of pre-basic seed potatoes in Scotland.
Water: One of our most vital resources endangered as clean resources get squeezed
Water is one of the world’s most vital resources, as the Associated Press reports. In Paraguay, a man displaced by a rising river hauls heavy buckets of it to his temporary home. In the Philippines, a girl uses a manual pump to get just enough to wash. In Venezuela’s neighborhoods, it’s collected in wells to flow into hundreds of homes. Watch a picture collage here.
Penobscot McCrum potato processing facility in Maine will not be rebuilt
The family-run company that owns the potato processing facility in Penobscot Maine that was destroyed by a fire a year ago will not rebuilt that plant. According to a report by News Center Maine, Daniel Mccrum, a member of the family that owns the plant, made this announcement on Friday. The Mccrum family says their focus is on expanding and investing in their potato processing facility in Washburn, Maine.
Advancing seed potato technology in Pakistan: Aeroponics technology and the path to self-sufficiency
The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and the Korean Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) recently held a media briefing on “Progress and Future Plans for Seed Potato Production through Aeroponics Technology.” The project aims to achieve higher productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, promote farm-level processing, develop human resources, and create significant job opportunities through an Aeroponic Potato Seed Production System.
The ‘ultimate guide’ to kettle chip brands in the U.S.
What’s a kettle-cooked chip? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a type of potato chip made so as to be thicker and crunchier than the typical potato chip,” writes Melis Amber in this article published by the Daily Meal. There’s really no nutritional difference between the two, and the base ingredients are pretty much the same. Amber has compiled the ultimate guide to kettle chip brands produced and marketed in the U.S.
The Kingsman potato: Cygnet PB to expand commercial trials in the U.S. for this high-yielding, climate-resilient variety
Launched in 2017, the potato variety Kingsman has developed quickly in popularity to become Scotland-based potato breeder Cygnet PB Ltd.’s first globally successful variety. After two seasons of field production with CSS Farms, Kingsman exceeded seed crop yield expectations, prompting Cygnet PB Ltd to involve additional partners for commercial trials in 2023.
IFA: Potato stocks in parts of Europe at an ‘all time low’, exports from Ireland upbeat
Exports of Irish potatoes continue to Portugal and Holland, with good appetite for more as stocks remain tight on the continent, according to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Plantings have been halted across much of the U.K because of weather conditions. Remaining stocks in Eastern and Southern Europe are tight and are described as at an “all time low” and export to these areas remains strong.
‘Hopping into creativity’: The newest Easter trend you have to try – painting potatoes
Families love their tried-and-true Easter traditions, but sometimes, you just need to scramble things up. This year, due in part to skyrocketing food prices, Potatoes USA reports that families are hopping on the newest trend and painting Easter potatoes. As it turns out, there are lots of upsides to brushing up on your spud art. In addition to being an affordable, nutritious pantry staple, potatoes are an excellent canvas for family activities.
Dutch processing potato usage highest in recent years
The February 2023 processing potato usage figures released by Vavi, the Dutch potato processors union, pegged February potato usage at 334 thousand tonnes, the highest figure for the month since 2017. The prices for processing potatoes continue to trend at multi-year highs, with the Mintec Benchmark Prices for processing potatoes EXW Netherlands assessed at €30/100kg on 21st March 2023, an increase of 53% compared to the same point last season.
‘Pick-ups for Peace’: Scottish potato farmers take convoy to Ukraine on aid mission
A group of Scottish potato farmers have sprouted a huge aid mission for Ukraine. The ‘Pick-ups for Peace’ initiative has already driven one convoy of 22 vehicles to the war torn country, where they were sprayed military green and sent to the front line. Organisers hope the initiative could end up supplying 1,000 vehicles.
Canadian research solidifies enhanced efficiency fertilizer as a win-win for farmers and the environment
Precision agriculture is helping farmers be more exact with inputs, like fertilizer, to help reduce excess nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing yields. Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems recently wrapped up a precision agriculture research project with support from Prince Edward Island (PEI) farmers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and researchers from Dalhousie University and the PEI Department of Agriculture and Land.
HZPC Americas welcomes Dustin Wageman as Product Manager
Dustin Wageman brings with him over 10 years of experience of chemical sales and business management in the Pacific Northwest. “I’m happy to have Dustin join our team. His natural ability to understand the needs of farmers combined with his entrepreneurial approach and passion for potatoes will complement our growing team of seed potato professionals.”, says Jeff Scramlin, President of HZPC Americas Corp.
Vanmark announces new in-plant vine remover machine for potato processors
Vanmark, an industrial potato and produce processing equipment manufacturer, today announced the launch of its vine remover machine. The new machine removes vines from potatoes as they come in from the field. Potato vines often get caught in receiving and transferring equipment, plugging it up and causing costly downtime for processors.
Nematicides know-how: Ways to help rid your potato crops of nematodes
Many potato growers rely on nematicides to protect their crops. Following is information you should know about both fumigant and non-fumigant methods. Nematodes absorb fumigant nematicides through their body cavities, so ingestion isn’t necessary. Fumigant nematicides work best when nematodes are exposed to a lethal dose for as long as possible. The efficacy of non-fumigant nematicides largely depends on their solubility in water and persistence in the soil.
Free potato seed distributed to boost Philippines’ potato production
In an effort to increase potato production in the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 2 (DA-RFO 2) has distributed free potato seed tubers to farmers in Nueva Vizcaya. The seed tubers were imported from Canada and have been certified disease-free. This initiative is expected to improve the livelihoods of local farmers and enhance the region’s potato industry.
Cracking the ‘dust dilemma’: Unraveling the causes and solutions for ‘dust formation’ in frozen fries production
If you’re involved in the potato processing industry, you might be familiar with the issue of “dusting” during the final frying of par-fried and frozen French fries. Recognized as a major quality concern, the industry is actively seeking solutions by adjusting processing parameters. A recent research program was developed to investigate this problem. R.G.M. van der Sman and Bjorn van den Oudenhoven examined dust formation by altering the standard processing of French fries and assessing the physical properties of the samples.
Smoke exposure linked to smaller, misshapen potatoes, according to Univ of Idaho, BSU study
Potato plants exposed to extreme smoke produced lower marketable yields than smoke-free plants, according to preliminary data from a joint University of Idaho and Boise State University study. Results differed based on variety, with heavy wildfire smoke exposure being linked to smaller Clearwater Russets and causing more unusable and misshapen Russet Burbanks. The project involved pumping artificially emulated wildfire smoke onto potato plots covered by plastic.
Canada: Prince Edward Island Potato Board says it’s filed for judicial review of seed potato ban
A P.E.I. Potato Board application for a judicial review of federal government restrictions prohibiting the export of seed potatoes is scheduled to be heard in Federal Court later this week, as Arturo Chang reports for CBC News. The application asks the court to set aside several ongoing government decisions prohibiting the movement of P.E.I. seed potatoes to other markets since late 2021.
European associations express concern over proposed packaging waste regulation and its impact on fresh produce sector
Copa-Cogeca, Freshfel Europe and Europatat responded in a joint statement to the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste that was published on 30 November 2022. They strongly call for a revision of certain provisions, which would ban packaging for fruit and vegetables under 1.5kg.
Ireland: Intervention needed to prevent ‘mass exodus’ of Donegal potato farmers
Urgent intervention is needed in the farming sector to prevent a ‘max exodus’ of potato farmers, that’s according to Donegal’s IFA Potato Chairman, Donald Logue. Speaking on Highland Radio’s Nine ’til Noon Show yesterday, he said while the cost of production continues to rise, this is not reflected in the marketed prices of potatoes and called for Government to take action.
‘Sometimes soils need doctors too’: FAO’s Global Soil Doctors Programme trains farmers to diagnose and heal soils
To guarantee healthy soils for sustainable agriculture and food production, you first need to know their condition. FAO’s Global Soil Doctors Programme started to do just that —assessing the condition of soils and guiding farmers in remedying soil problems. The educational material and training modules from this programme help farmers to stay vigilant and responsive to soil health, a vital component of their livelihoods.
FAO: Strong international demand for Bangladeshi potatoes
Potato exports from Bangladeshi farmers supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) continue to grow, as producers came together recently to celebrate another year of success, the FAO says in a news release. Potatoes are an important cash crop with the potential to transform the lives of those who produce them. For the last four years, potato producer organizations in Rangpur have been producing export-quality potatoes by employing ‘good agricultural practices’.
Optimizing fertilizer timing: The key to healthier potatoes and crispier french fries
For farmers and researchers, a field is often like a giant chemistry set. The timing and amounts of different fertilizers to supply nutrients can interact with each other, the soil, and crops. For example, potassium, an essential macronutrient for crops, is often applied to a field in the form of potassium chloride. Sarah Light, an agronomy farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, led a study on the timing of potassium chloride in potato fields.
NEPG: An uncertain future for the potato industry in western Europe?
Potato growers in the north western European region face several challenges in the upcoming months, according to a news release issued by the North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) today. Certain developments in the current season have led to a seemingly uncertain future for the potato industry in western Europe, according to the NEPG. The industry organization represents Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
UN climate report: Scientists release ‘survival guide’ to avert climate disaster
UN chief Antonio Guterres says a major new report on climate change is a “survival guide for humanity”. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” the report states. Governments had previously agreed to act to avoid global temperature rise going above 1.5C. But the world has already warmed by 1.1C and now experts say that it is likely to breach 1.5C in the 2030s.
Israeli company secures funding for technology to express egg protein in potatoes
The funding will support PoLoPo’s technology platform, starting with replicating ovalbumin, the protein found in egg white. The company says it expects to have prototypes in the coming 18 months, including protein-rich potato tubers and ovalbumin functional samples. PoLoPo says its ovalbumin will be identical to chicken egg ovalbumin in terms of functionality, nutritional value, and protein sequence.
Australia: Hot chips set to return to menus as potato harvest gets underway
Consumers in Australia should see more potato products in supermarket freezers in the coming weeks as chip factories operate at capacity to meet demand, but the industry warns another shortage could be on the horizon. Potato harvests are underway in Tasmania and Victoria, Australia’s largest production areas for french fries.
UK: East Anglia drought risk forces farmers to switch crops
East Anglian farmers are cutting back on “high-risk” irrigated crops like potatoes, onions and carrots this year in response to the growing threat of a second summer drought. The region is one of only two in the country still officially in drought – six months after last summer’s heatwave left farmers struggling to grow crops in parched fields.