Breeding

Potato LEAF awards Texas A&M’s Jeewan Pandey for research to speed up the development of new varieties

The Potato Leadership, Education and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) is pleased to announce Jeewan Pandey, a third-year graduate student Texas A&M University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences, as the recipient of its 2020-21 Academic Scholarship. Pandey’s research involves the application of DNA-based markers in potato breeding to speed up the development of new varieties that would require fewer pesticide applications.

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EU ‘ADAPT’ Project: Searching for stress-resistant potatoes

The ADAPT project aims at identifying new breeding targets and matching potato varieties to specific challenging environmental growth conditions of the future, according to a press release issued by the University of Vienna. The ADAPT consortium has successfully launched the project “Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”, which aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. It will take place over the next four years with a total budget of 5 million Euro from the EU Horizon 2020 program.

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‘It’s all in the name’: Potato variety company C. Meijer BV became ‘Meijer Potato’

It was announced earlier this week that renowned Dutch-based potato variety and seed company C. Meijer BV has re-branded its identity and will from now on be known as ‘Meijer Potato’. The new name is said to do justice to the company’s international scope and stature. Almost 90% of the company’s turnover is generated outside of the Netherlands. The company’s mission, “Everyone deserves to enjoy food”, reflects Meijer Potato’s ambition. The company says on its website it’s mission is to provide more people with the opportunity to enjoy food.

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Hot potatoes: Potato varieties suited for climate change

With climate change heating up Canada’s crop land, identifying or developing new potato varieties that can grow in warmer temperatures is on the radar of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers. Xiu-Qing Li of AAFC in Fredericton noticed that warmer summers are creating heat stress in Canadian potato crops. He began studying Canada’s current varieties to see which are the most heat-tolerant. He also hopes to identify the genes responsible for heat tolerance and to incorporate them into future varieties, either through genetic crosses or directional mutation.

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RPE to bring the new Golden Red premium potato variety to consumers this fall

Wisconsin-based RPE, Inc. — a full service grower, shipper, marketer of fresh potatoes — announced today that it is bringing a new, premium red potato variety to potato consumers this fall. “RPE Golden Red™ premium potatoes are the new gold standard in red potatoes,” said Tim Huffcutt, Vice President Sales and Marketing Operations for RPE. “Compared to common red potatoes, these superior stunners have a vibrant red skin with a rich, yellow interior and a sweet, creamy taste.”

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New study on measuring efficiency in potato landraces: How far are we from the optimum?

A new publication by scientists from the International Potato Center (CIP) highlights the usefulness of combining crop growth model, remote sensing, and plant ecophysiological tools to assess genetic efficiencies in potato landraces. In order to improve potato yield and yield prediction, a better understanding of potato physiology and modeling is needed, especially for the Andean region where climate change is affecting traditional farming practices and where potato is a staple food.

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Some potato stories: A multiple tale of “anti-GMO” detrimental nonsense

The expression “genetically modified organisms” (“GMOs”) is not only void of scientific value, but has negative effects on agricultural progress and food policy, writes Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue in this article published by European Scientist. According to Tagliabue, “Anti-GMOers” show a “peculiar, recurrent absence of logic when they demonize “GMOs” as a supposed whole… Tagliabue then cite examples from the US, the UK and the European Union to back up his argument, saying that “These stories have surely shown that “GMO(s)” is a misleading notion, a damaging meme that should dissolve: in time, it will be considered a subject as interesting as the sex of angels used to be.”

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‘All hail the rise of the climate-smart potato’

The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized, writes
Sandra Cordon in this article published by Landscape News. Some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food. And this is a minimum threshold – potato production is expanding across parts of Africa and Asia.

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Propagating potato via True Seed: NAPB Borlaug scholar Natalie Kaiser

The 2020 meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) continues! Borlaug Scholar Natalie Kaiser is a Ph.D candidate in the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program at Michigan State University. Kaiser is employing molecular and genomic tools to understand the genetic architecture of host plant insect resistance and to develop Colorado potato beetle (CPB) resistant diploid potato breeding lines.

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Agrico UK steps up technical support for seed growers

With the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) having to cut back its inspection programme in the midst of continued COVID pressures, alongside increasing aphid issues, Agrico has upped the level of technical support offered to seed potato growers. For growers in England and Wales, the cutting back of APHA’s inspection programme and restriction of the number of inspections for basic seeds (field generations 3-5) presented problems.

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Changes announced at Scottish based Caithness potato variety company

The Caithness Group of Companies successfully completed a demerger on 30th June 2020. From 1st July 2020, a new Company, Caledonia Potatoes Ltd, has been created by former Caithness contributors Alistair Melrose, Mike McDiarmid and Robert Doig. The prior Caithness team says they will continuously work in the many areas and with several of the varieties that growers will recognise as having been associated with Caithness previously. “For many of you the change will be seamless, apparent in name only,” they say.

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Research discovery could provide strategy to increase potato yields

James Hutton Institute plant scientists in the UK have discovered that a specific protein encoded by the potato genome is a key component of tuberisation, the process by which the potato plant initiates and develops tubers,. The research findings have been unveiled in the latest issue of The Plant Journal, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Scottish Government’s RESAS Strategic Research Programme. It is hoped that the genetic discovery will enable potato breeders to develop fast-maturing, more resilient potato varieties that will safeguard production during climate change.

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New ACC Canada Gold-Dorée ‘could soon outstrip Yukon Gold’

There’s a new potato in town and its name is AAC Canada Gold-Dorée. The new spud is yellow-skinned, pleasantly round, and, some say, even tastier than Yukon Gold. AAC Canada Gold-Dorée may just be setting the new gold standard for the fresh potato market in the country, reports Emily Leeson in Farm Focus. She writes that the new variety is licensed by New Brunswick-based and family-owned Canadian Eastern Growers Inc., which acquired the North American rights for 20 years back in 2017.

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‘Unsung potato heroes’: Indigenous peoples hold the past and future of food in their hands

August 9 is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. For centuries, crop diversity has enriched the world, but has been taken out of the hands of Indigenous people in doing so. That story is only beginning to shift as the rest of the world starts to give Indigenous farmers the respect they are due.

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‘Game changer’: New potato variety on track to achieve 2 million tubers/ha

A next generation salad potato variety is on track to achieve 2 million tubers per hectare, bringing with it the potential to become a new market leader. according to a report by FarmingUK. The variety Jacky. developed by Agrico, is said to be on target to produce 2 million tubers per hectare with 65% sized 25-35mm yielding 50tonne/hectare overall. Jacky is a high-yielding second early potato variety. Bred to consistently produce round tubers below 45mm with pale yellow flesh, it is seen as ideal for the UK’s salad market.

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Hi-tech potato industry boosts poverty alleviation in China

The potato industry in Ulanqab, dubbed the “potato city” of China, has become one of the main industries to help farmers shake off poverty. Located in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ulanqab is an important national production hub for commercial potatoes and special potatoes for processing. The potatoes here originate from petri dishes in a laboratory. The laboratory can breed 150 million virus-free seedlings every year.

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Postdoc development of a decision-support system for potato production

Are you that enthusiastic researcher that likes to work on modelling and programming, and apply it to improve processes in crop production? ‘Yield gap analysis for sustainable potato production’ (Potato Gap NL) is a project funded by NWO and Holland Innovative Potato (HIP), an initiative of 10 companies active in the potato value chain and prominent global players in the fields of potato breeding and processing. Increases in potato yields in the Netherlands have been relatively small compared to other crops.

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British potato enthusiast sows seeds for more heritage varieties

A potato enthusiast from Hampshire in the UK has produced six more heritage varieties. Among those being produced by Alan Wilson, who lives in Fleet, Hampshire, is a potato called Fortyfold, thought to be the oldest variety grown in Britain, having been introduced in 1836. Mr Wilson said: “I am delighted that I will be able to offer more choice from these outstanding varieties. This will be another step in my long-held ambition to put more rare potatoes on plates.”

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Research breakthrough: Fast-maturing, resilient potatoes in Hutton researchers’ sights

New research by James Hutton Institute plant scientists has found that a specific protein encoded by the potato genome is a key component of tuberisation – the process by which the potato plant initiates and develops tubers. It is hoped that the genetic discovery will be harnessed by potato breeders to develop fast-maturing, more resilient potato varieties that will safeguard production in an era of climate change, work that is being taken forward with industry partners.

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.

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Breeders Trust invests in potato variety recognition using Geo4A satellite technology

The Brussels-based Breeders Trust today signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille. GeoVille specialises in the data processing of satellite images and is a leader in the field within Western Europe. The idea behind Breeders Trust is that together breeders can act more forcefully against unfair production and commercial practices adopted by the often globally operating rogue companies that discredit the entire sector.

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Simplot requests extension of deregulation of GMO potato: APHIS invites public comment

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6. The request was made today. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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