North America

Survival test: Gardeners in Newfoundland enlisted to put Chilean potato varieties through the hoops

E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. in St Johns Newfoundland and Phytocultures Ltd. based in Prince Edward Island are working together to bring new types of potatoes to Newfoundland and Labrador from Chile in South America. E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. specializes in selling “high-quality vegetable and flower seeds,” according to the company’s website. Recently the store started giving away free samples of Chilean[Read More…]

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US and Indonesia sign market access agreement for US fresh potatoes

On June 5, the United States and Indonesia reached a market access agreement that will allow U.S. fresh potatoes to be exported to Indonesia under a defined set of phytosanitary requirements. The agreement comes after four years of discussions and will include both U.S. chipping potatoes for further processing and table-stock potatoes for direct consumption. Potatoes produced in all U.S. states[Read More…]

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‘Pretty, unique and tasty’: In northern Maine, a new spud rises

One thing you should know about Dr. Gregory Porter — the man behind the University of Maine’s well-regarded potato-breeding program — is that he is not just a researcher of potatoes, he is also a fan. “Oh, I love ’em,” Porter said last week, during a break from working the 35 acres of potato fields he oversees at the Aroostook Research[Read More…]

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Fries, mash, hash browns, chips, vodka, and now… The art show that’s all potatoes

Consider the humble potato. Linguistically, it’s often used to denigrate. Unimportant things are “small potatoes,” and we all try not to be “couch potatoes.” Nearly alone among vegetables, its nutritional value is questioned by some, making mashed potatoes and french fries something of a guilty pleasure. But to artist and professor Jeffrey Allen Price, potatoes transcend their homely image. Potatoes remain “humble,[Read More…]

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Luther Burbank: A tribute to America’s greatest horticulturist

Luther Burbank was America’s most legendary horticulturist. At the turn of the 20th century, he developed hundreds of new fruit, vegetable, and flower varieties, creating marvels such as the Shasta daisy and the Santa Rosa plum. If America had a national plant, it might be his russet Burbank potato, which alleviated the lingering effects of the Irish famine and makes up[Read More…]

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Allies in the skies: Drone industry launches into specialty agriculture market

In this well researched, in depth article on the current application of drones in agriculture, Stephen Kloosterman, Assistant Editor at Vegetable Growers News writes that drone scouts are poised to make precision agriculture even more exact as drone technology advances. Seventeen percent of all commercial registered drones in 2017 in the US were used for agriculture, making it the third-highest use for[Read More…]

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Breath of Life: How to optimize ventilation in potato storage facilities

“Potatoes in storage are living. It is the job of the storage manager to ensure the crop sustains that life,” writes storage specialist Duane Gorman in the Potatoes in Canada magazine. He points out that after a final holding temperature is achieved in storage, it is important to ventilate properly in order to manage the byproducts of respiration, ensure a[Read More…]

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Pick-a-choose your Big Mac: Burger and fry chain to add more customer choice and variety

As McDonald’s seeks to modernize its business, the company is placing a big bet on mobile and other tech platforms, including mobile phones. McDonald’s has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to stores as it works to “build a better McDonald’s.” “What we’re finding is when people dwell more, they select more,” CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC on “Squawk on the Street” on[Read More…]

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Tit-for-tat: Mexico slaps 20 percent tax on US potatoes

In response to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico, the nation has slapped tariffs on several types of American produce, including a 20 percent tax on potatoes. But the head of the Idaho Potato Commission and the spokeswoman for a new Meridian-based dairy-marketing group say they aren’t worried. “We are going to weather this storm,” said Frank Muir, president and CEO[Read More…]

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Canada’s Alberta province home to a vibrant potato industry

Most people don’t know it, but Alberta is the third-largest producer of potatoes in Canada, after Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. “Currently we grow about 53,500 acres,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta. The association’s 150 members have a big economic impact. The farm gate value of their potatoes is about $225 million — and that figure[Read More…]

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A matter of trust: US potato industry supports national standard for accurate product labeling

The National Potato Council (NPC) in the US joined more than 60 organizations, representing farmers, manufacturers, small businesses and retailers in supporting the Accurate Labels Act, introduced today. “The potato industry strongly supports this common-sense legislation. Consumers should be provided with information they can trust about the products they purchase. Verifiable science based information should be the foundation of these disclosures,” said John Keeling,[Read More…]

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Bayer completes $63-billion Monsanto takeover; name to disappear forever

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said Thursday its two-year pursuit of US-based Monsanto over, as the two firms signed off a $63-billion merger deal. “Shares in the US company will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with Bayer now the sole owner of Monsanto Company,” the German firm said in a statement. In an industry preparing for[Read More…]

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All about biostimulants: Prestigious event to focus on trends and developments in the biostimulant industry

ACI’s US Biostimulants Summit 2018 will be taking place in Chicago, IL, USA, on 27th — 28th June 2018. The conference will bring together the leading executives and experts from across the entire value chain (producers of biostimulant and plant nutrient products, farmers and agriculture suppliers, technology providers, research institutes & government representatives) for two days of informative presentations, interactive discussion &[Read More…]

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Your potato crop’s nutritional status: Remove the guesswork

In sporting events, there’s an old saying “it’s hard to know the players without a scorecard.” That’s also true with growing a potato crop. Your crop’s nutritional status is dynamic and requires constant monitoring to ensure the production of high yielding, high quality potatoes that are demanded in today’s market. Many misapplications occur every season when crop advisors and farmers look[Read More…]

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US: Northern Plains Potato Growers Association hires new President

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA) based in East Grand Forks, Minnesota has hired Donavon Johnson to be its new President. Johnson started on June 4th and will be replacing Chuck Gunnerson who is retiring after leading the organization for the past ten years. Johnson brings an extensive background in leading successful businesses and non-profit organizations across the US and[Read More…]

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Misplaced blame: In defense of the potato and other starchy vegetables

Potatoes have a bad reputation in our carb-fearing world, but that’s unnecessary, says Central Texas Food Bank dietitian Mary Agnew. Carbohydrates (which of course is found in potatoes) often get blamed for weight gain, she writes. But most people have a fairly vague understanding of the different types of carbohydrates, she writes. Agnew reviews the facts related to carbohydrates, saying[Read More…]

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Little golden nugget: Univ of Maine releases new gourmet potato variety

Sporting a unique and striking skin pattern, the newly released Pinto Gold potato has been in development for twelve years. Out of 50,000 individual varieties tested at Univ of Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm, the Pinto Gold was selected as the most promising. The potato isn’t destined for large scale chip or french fry manufacturing, but for local gardeners, restaurants, and home cooking. Gregory[Read More…]

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US: WSU releases 2018 growing season potato pest alert, probability of late blight relatively high

Washington State University has released their third potato pest alert which included an insect monitoring report and a potato disease report for the 2018 growing season. WSU Potato alerts come in part from the Washington Potato Commission based out of the Columbia Basin. According to the report, beet leafhoppers (BLH) are a continuingly increasing pest in the across the Columbia Basin. Beet[Read More…]

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Lamb Weston saves energy with installation of modern refrigeration equipment

Potato processor Lamb Weston recently implemented new refrigeration equipment in its Hermiston plant in the US, which company executives said will save 12 million kilowatt hours annually. Project manager Brian Jackson said the new equipment has been operational for about a year, and similar technology will be implemented at the new facility, currently being built in Hermiston. According to Project Manager, Brian[Read More…]

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Biological fungicide targets powdery mildew, fusarium and phytophthora

BioSafe Systems in the US has released PVent Biological Fungicide through a partnership between BioSafe and Lallemand Plant Care. Due to its active ingredient, a 93 percent Gliocladium catenulam strain J1446, BioSafe said the fungicide  has unique adaption traits, meaning that it can thrive across broad ranges of temperature and humidity, both in the soil and on leaf and stem tissue.[Read More…]

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New test kit for the detection of bacterial ring rot in potatoes

Agdia has commercialized a rapid and user-friendly DNA test kit based on its AmplifyRP XRT+ platform, for detection of the causal agent of bacterial ring rot (BRR) in potato. Clavibacter ichiganensis subsp. sepedonicus (Cms) is primarily spread through infected seed stock and/or through contaminated farm equipment. Cms is a zero-tolerance pathogen in U.S. seed potato certification programs and can have substantial financial implications for a grower if[Read More…]

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Idaho Potato Commission prepares for international sales push

The Idaho Potato Commission has hired Ross Johnson as international marketing director, preparing for an expanded sales push in the U.S. and export markets. Johnson, most recently global marketing manager for retail at Potatoes USA, has also had management positions at Kraft and ConAgra, according to a news release. With consumer research experience from those positions, Johnson will focus on data and category management. “We[Read More…]

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Packaging supplier Volm expands to Colorado potato area with Atech purchase

Packaging and equipment supplier Volm Cos. Inc. has acquired Atech Inc., Monte Vista Colo., focused on serving San Luis Valley potato grower-shippers. Atech has worked with Volm in the past, with the Colorado company representing the Volmpack line of equipment in a local sales and service role and distributing packaging for Volm in the area, Atech’s 7,200-square-foot warehouse will be occupied by Volm, and will serve[Read More…]

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