When East Lothian-based J. Haig Hamilton & Sons, decided to upgrade their potato grading operations to ensure the most advanced handling of the company’s valuable 550-acre crop, they chose long-standing manufacturing partner Tong Engineering’s flagship Caretaker mobile grader to increase capacity and capability. Based near the beautiful North Berwick coastline, Haig Hamilton farms a total of 3,500 acres of land, including a high-quality crop of potatoes.
News September 2021
Market and consumer data analytics company A-INSIGHTS has published its latest monthly MarketMonitor report on trends in the Frozen Potato Products industry, titled “June Insights“. Analysts at the company conclude that global trade volume is up 0.5%YTD compared to 2019. Aside from the U.S., France, and New Zealand, all major exporters saw volumes increase compared to 2019. With a monthly import volume of 107.9 thousand tonnes in June, U.S. imports are up 26.2% compared to 2019. Despite a minor decline in exports to Europe, Belgium has surpassed its 2019 export volume by 3.6% in 2021, whilst Dutch exports remain 8.3% than pre-COVID levels.
Scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in Pakistan have found that dried potato powder can successfully be used as a cheaper energy source in animal feed and can be added up to 30 percent in ruminant concentrates without any negative effect. Due to the high cost of yellow corn, dried potato concentrate had been identified as a low cost alternative and it can easily replace maize.
PepsiCo UK recently announced it is investing £24 million (about US$33 million) in their Lincoln snack factory to upgrade their facilities, meet the growing consumer demand, and secure the building’s future. The investment will see existing machinery at their long-standing city center site replaced by new equipment – including a compact packaging machine – creating training opportunities for employees including their apprentices, some of whom will be upskilled in using the state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
The 11th World Potato Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland from 30 May to 2 June, 2022. The call for abstract submission for WPC 2022 is now open and authors are encouraged to submit their abstract online for consideration. A very limited number of submissions will be selected for oral presentation and authors will be notified if their abstract has been accepted for an oral presentation on 20th January 2022.
Google is going all out to advertise its next flagship phone around the world. In Japan, it offered “Google Original (Potato) Chips” to highlight the new Tensor SoC in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The chips feature a bag design that matches the rear of the phones. There are five color designs available, though all come in “Googley Salty Flavor”.
A group of leading potato industry stakeholders has drawn up tentative proposals for a new representative body, provisionally called GB Potatoes. They have distanced themselves from the Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG), and say their approach is to bring all sectors together via voluntary subscription and membership. A paper on provisional ideas is currently being circulated to stakeholders.
Kevin MacIsaac, who has been General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada since October 1, 2011 announced he will be retiring this fall. MacIsaac’s diversified career over a 42 year timespan includes dedicated service as an extension agronomist, farmer, industry organizer and a knowledgeable and eloquent advocate. UPGC hopes to have a replacement for the position by this fall and is actively seeking applications for the GM position at this time.
As MountainKing readies for its fall harvest, early tests from its fields in Colorado’s San Luis Valley offer encouraging signs for several of the brand’s gourmet varieties including its yellow-flesh varietals. “The 2021 crop outlook is very bright,” says Andreas Trettin, director of marketing for MountainKing Potatoes. “The quality is extraordinary,” he says.
Monkton Court Farms in the UK has become the latest potato grower to receive Haith’s next-generation mobile grading system. Philip Smith, who grows Desiree and King Edward potatoes across 60 hectares in East Kent, took delivery of the state-of-the-art grader this month. “The Haith box fillers have never let me down, and I was really impressed with the way the company handled my order and has supported me ever since,” says Philip.
Mary Brown’s is showing it’s buds with those who make spuds, with a new campaign that champions Manitoba farmers. The QSR’s campaign draws attention to a fourth generation potato farmer – and Mary Brown’s supplier – Lyndon Thiessen and the love and care he puts into his crops.
BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions has received registration from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for Veltyma Fungicide. Veltyma contains the unique active ingredient Revysol that provides broader, stronger, and longer control against various diseases. Veltyma is registered for use on multiple crops including potatoes, corn, wheat and soybeans.
“Plant cures” are the key to world-first research by a team of scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), led by Professor David Craik. “We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines,” Professor Craik said. “So we want to put molecules into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”
Research scientist Dr Barbara dos Santos Correia, with support of B-hive Innovations, has been successful in her application for a Future Leaders Fellowship and will receive nearly £675,000 to support her TuberSense project – a four-year research programme that aims to detect diseases and defects in potato crops, using volatile biomarkers and innovative gas sensors to reduce food waste across the supply chain.
Double L, a prominent manufacturer of farm equipment in the Intermountain West, announced late last week that it has formally concluded its ownership and relationship with the company’s prior management team and Board of Directors. SRM Holding has completed the buyout. The Board of Directors has appointed Grant R. Flaharty as CEO, and he has already installed a new management team in Idaho.
The team behind Scotland’s seed potato monitor farm near St Cyrus is undeterred by the lights going out at AHDB Potatoes. The four-year SPot Farm project may have been blighted by the imminent demise of the principal funder and the difficulty of industry engagement due to the pandemic, but the partners involved are upbeat and determined to plough on with field-scale trials and research for the original four-year term.
Sizing looks to be an issue in new crop potatoes from Idaho this season. Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID says it’s been in new crop now for just under three weeks. “We started about a week later than normal,” he told Astrid Van Den Broek of FreshPlaza. “The heat we experienced this summer just delayed things. We were hoping to get a little bit more size out of the potatoes so we waited a week. But even with that, the size and the yields weren’t there.”
The UK hospitality sector has been fully open for a few months now. Although not quite back to full capacity, people are enjoying being able to eat out again.“We have seen a massive demand for our brand both in fresh potatoes and frozen chips,” explains Simon Martin from Koffmann’s. “We have put a huge amount of work into this brand and promoting it. We have started supplying the Gordon Ramsey chain of restaurants and have had good support from him and other top chefs through social media.”
Corteva Agriscience signs agreement with Gaïago to develop and distribute biofungicide solutions globally
Corteva, Inc. and Gaïago, a biotechnology company, announced earlier this week a multi-year agreement to validate, develop and commercialize biofungicides for farmers worldwide. Through the agreement, Corteva Agriscience receives an exclusive, global testing license and associated optional commercial rights for a novel biofungicide technology that can help protect potatoes, grapevines, vegetables, and stone and pome fruits against pathogens such as downy mildew, late blight, powdery mildew and botrytis.
The beginning of 2021 has been an unusual time for Scotts Precision Manufacturing Ltd, reports Derek Scott, Managing Director. “We are already into double figures of Evolution upgrades ranging from 3ft wide machines approaching 30 years old, to very modern high capacity 8ft mobile graders. We offer a price point to suit most pockets – but really its all about the performance,” he says.
The fight to get U.S. fresh potatoes into all of Mexico continues amid signs that the Mexican potato industry is shifting tactics to deflect imports, Kam Quarles told attendees at the Idaho Grower Shippers Association 93rd annual convention on Sept. 3. Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, also updated attendees on immigration reform, infrastructure legislation, and possible strategies by Democrats to get beyond a very narrow majority in Congress to advance their agenda.
Producers across Western Canada are optimistic they can still produce a good crop this fall if the weather co-operates, reports Alex McCuaig for The Western Producer. It’s been a reversal of fortunes for Canada’s potato growers this year as last year’s dry season in the East moves west. Not all Manitoba growers have escaped the heat that has plagued producers across the West, especially those farming on dryland.
Tasteful Selections recently announced the limited launch of its new 100-percent plastic-free, recyclable and compostable packaging in the US. “This new paper packaging with PaperLock™ technology is a major step forward in sustainable packaging. It offers light protection and natural absorption characteristics that protect our potatoes and help keep plastic out of the waste stream,” said Tim Huffcutt, vice-president, sales and marketing operations.
A restaurant in the United Kingdom is hiring experts to review their roasted potatoes. The restaurant, named The Botanist, recently took to its Instagram to make an announcement regarding the job profile, writes Somdatta Saha in an article for Food NDTV. According to the post, the food chain is looking for experts to sample their Sunday lunch to ensure its quality.
Agricultural specialists and growers in Maine are predicting a higher quantity and quality of potato crop than was produced in 2020, due to the less severe weather this summer. As Melissa Lizotte reports for Bangor Daily News, last year, severe drought conditions throughout Aroostook County resulted in yields of 20 percent less than the 2019 crop. But despite days of record heat this summer, the overall weather pattern has been much more ideal for the growing season.
RMA-Techniek acquired the product SolEye on 1 September. SolEye is a product by Solentum B.V. (a former subsidiary of HZPC Holdings). Herman Verveld, Commercial Director at HZPC said: “Here at HZPC we are pleased with this agreement. We could not have found a better company to take over than RMA-Techniek. The company is familiar with the potato business and well known to existing and potential new customers worldwide. Moreover, the use and development of the SolEye will be further expanded”.