Post-emergence herbicide faces de-regulation if British growers don’t act

Commonly used on potatoes, beans, peas, linseed, and alliums, the chemistry of BASF’s bentazone post-emergence herbicide is absorbed through the leaves of target plants, disrupting the photosynthesis and causing a reduction in the carbohydrate reserves. However, it is highly soluble in water and mobile in soil. As such, bentazone has been detected in both ground and surface water for many years and whilst BASF and the wider agricultural industry has had a stewardship programme in place from 2014, records show no serious decline in the levels detected.

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Early disease detection company now hiring

Spornado is a Canadian based company with clients across North America, specializing in the early detection of diseases such as late blight, sclerotinia, fusarium head blight, powdery and downy mildews. The company’s Spornado Sampler is an innovative, easy-to-use and low-cost tool that helps growers detect harmful airborne diseases long before they impact the crop. The company is now looking for a Sales Leader to join the Spornado team.

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Tong introduces updates to its range of vegetable polishing equipment

As part of the company’s ongoing development programme, Tong Engineering has unveiled several updates to its range of vegetable polishing equipment. “As a supplier to the food industry we have been fortunate that demand for advanced and automated vegetable handling equipment has continued to strengthen,” explains Simon Lee, Sales Manager at Tong Engineering. “With this in mind, our product development team not only focus on designing and introducing new equipment to the market, but they are also committed to developing our existing machinery.

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GRIMME’s EVO 280 harvester underwent major upgrade

GRIMME’s EVO 280 harvester was first launched in 2018. This two-row bunker harvester with its three large separators and an intake for various crops, such as potatoes, onions and carrots, underwent a major upgrade. The EVO 280 has been upgraded and is now equipped with a completely redesigned version of the NonstopBunker, with a capacity of up to 6 tonnes, in addition to the 8 tonnes standard bunker. Several other upgrades were made to the machine as well.

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Gene-Altered Attitudes: The gene revolution turns 25

Roger Beachy still remembers the excitement of planting the first genetically altered food crop into United States soils. It was the summer of 1987 when he, along with a team of Monsanto scientists, transplanted tomatoes modified to resist a virus at the company’s research farm, near Jerseyville, Illinois. It would take almost a full decade before transgenic plants gained a serious foothold in U.S. soils, and they would not be those the idealistic young scientist envisioned.

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Mindful Snacker: ‘Ground-breaking technology’ to produce all-natural novel crisp brand

Challenger brand Mindful Snacker is promising to make 2021 ‘the year of healthy snacking’ and ‘clean comfort food’. Its crisps will be made with ‘ground-breaking technology’, the company says. The company is led by an all-female team with more than 20 years of experience in the snacking category. It vows it will ‘change the way we talk about and consume crisps forever’.

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New test installation said to help ‘make Belgian fries even better’ in future

Belgian processors that produce fries will soon be able to try out new production methods in a test installation in Kortrijk. In a building at Ghent University, 700,000 euros will be invested to install a real ‘frying line’ for testing novel products before commercialisation. “The intention is to make the step from lab research to an industrial scale easier,” according to Flanders’ FOOD. “The new pilot-scale frying line will make Belgian fries and croquettes even tastier and healthier in the future,” says Romain Cools, consultant at Belgapom.

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Novel sensor measures soil and crop conditions in near real time, provides actionable data

The Soiltech Sensor precisely records and transmits data for soil moisture, temperature, humidity, location and impacts that may create bruising while crops are being grown, transported, and stored – all enabled by AT&T’s nationwide, highly secure LTE-M cellular network. A potato case study highlights both environmental and business benefits of the sensor across the crop life cycle.

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Research: AI model successfully predicts potato susceptibility to bruising and acrylamide formation

JADBio is an information technology company based in the US and Greece, focused on BioMed and Multi-omics. In a recent experiment, researchers at JADBio collected data from 478 potato samples from potatoes grown in Germany (including climate, soil, and metabolic profiles) in order to create a model capable of differentiating potatoes that resist bruising from those that don’t, and also to predict the potatoes’ susceptibility to acrylamide formation during chip/crisp processing.

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Research: ‘Tunable crops are just a spray away’

The genetic control of crop growth and behaviour can be modified through traditional plant breeding or genetic engineering, but is fixed once a variety is sown. New spray-on viral transfection technology can transiently alter gene expression to “fine-tune” agronomic traits within the season while avoiding modifications to the genome according to recent research.

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Expert opinion: Wyma engineer on potato bruising, storage temperature

Following on from its guide How to reduce the impact of potato bruising on your profitability, Wyma caught up with Leighton Hill, Solution Engineer, to answer some questions about gentle handling, why some fertilizers increase the likelihood of bruising, and the perfect temperature for potato processing.

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Soil health, rotation and planting best practices on the agenda of webinar

This is the third AHDB hosted webinar in what the industry body in the UK saying to be a very popular series of potato themed webinars based around soil health, rotation, machinery practices and new approaches to improving and maintain the health of soil which is used for growing potatoes. AHDB says its primary aim is to encourage uptake of soil health and encourage new supportive practices for potato growers.

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AVR’s Ceres 440 planter ‘opens next chapter in advanced precision farming technology’

AVR recently introduced its latest and most advanced planter, the AVR Ceres 440. The absolute highlight of the Ceres 440 is undoubtedly its AVR Connect system, which unites all planting information and remote parameters in one synchronized digital platform for planting and harvesting, since the system is also featured in the AVR Puma 4.0 harvester. With the Ceres 440, AVR invites potato growers to “get ready for the next chapter in AVR’s precision farming story”.

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Latest innovations to spark agricultural revolution

“Innovations are popping up left, right, and centre. I am amazed by the sheer amount of new technology that emerges these days – let me mention a few examples which were highlighted in Future Farming in 2020,” writes Geert Hekkert, Chief editor of Future Farming, in a recent article published in the magazine. Hekkert mentions that a new molecule which increases the temperature of plants has been found, and this molecular heating effect allows crops to grow in winter as well, for example.

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Grimme’s Ventor 4150 harvester now comes with haulm topper and other new features

Grimme announces that its four-row self-propelled potato harvester, the VENTOR 4150, will be equipped with a number of new practical features for the 2021 harvesting season. The VENTOR 4150 can now be optionally equipped with the HT 400 haulm topper, which is especially suitable for extremely high quantities of long, tough potato haulms. In addition to a significant increase in throughput, haulm topping prior to the harvesting process reduces the risk of losses.

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TOMRA Food launches Packhouse Academy, the fresh produce industry’s most comprehensive online learning resource

TOMRA Food has launched the most comprehensive online learning resource for packhouse professionals in the fresh produce industry. Packhouse Academy, powered by TOMRA Academy, offers a wide range of on-demand videos, live interactive webinars, and user-driven training modules. Packhouse Academy will empower individuals to increase their industry- critical knowledge and skills, in turn helping packhouses improve their pack-out, productivity, and quality.

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Our digital world: New innovative feature from KisanHub – Paperless Load Passports

KisanHub recently launched an innovative, game-changing new feature – Paperless Load Passports. This feature was designed to transform how products move through the fresh produce supply chain, and further to allow people to manage this process all on their mobile devices. This saves time and minimises errors with the added bonus of traceability from the farm to the factory gate. Moving to a digital, integrated system can signi?cantly reduce the carbon footprint, the company says.

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British potato growers can now compare varieties with new online tool

British potato growers can now benefit from a new AHDB variety tool, offering an interactive way to select cultivars based on varietal pest and disease-resistance ratings. Picking which variety to plant next spring can be time-consuming, with 249 listed on the AHDB’s potato variety database. Information includes detailed varietal characteristics including pest and disease resistance and is a tool in the IPM armoury of growers.

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Syngenta to use artificial intelligence to invent and develop new, more sustainable products

Syngenta Crop Protection is collaborating with artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning company Insilico Medicine to accelerate the invention and development of new, more effective crop protection solutions that protect crops from diseases, weeds and pests, while also protecting ecosystems. By bringing new solutions to farmers faster and more efficiently through innovation, Syngenta will help them meet the ongoing challenges they face, in order to enhance productivity and meet global demand for affordable, quality food.

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Idaho potato expert advises growers on minimizing tuber bruising

Nora Olsen, Professor and Extension Potato Specialist at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Idaho, presented on the factors that impact development of bruises during the online annual Idaho Potato Conference last month. Prof Olsen started out by saying that her and her colleagues’ experience evaluating quality losses over the past several years, points to the primary association with either a direct impact, blackspot bruise or shadow bruise, or an indirect impact.

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Continued growth at Crop Systems

“We are investing in strengthening our team, providing further expertise, knowledge, and experience to our customers, backed up by investing in our workshop and warehouse facilities at the Works Happisburgh, Norfolk,” says Ray Andrews, Managing Director of Crop Systems Ltd. Andrews says his company recently appointed Tony Barnes as Sales Manager as part of continued expansion plans of Crop Systems. Tony has been involved with the potato industry for the last 25 years.

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Canadian government to support McCain Foods’ modern high-speed manufacturing line

The food manufacturing industry is one of the largest economic drivers in Atlantic Canada and one that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovation and the integration of new technologies are proving to be key assets to enable businesses in this industry remain competitive. The Canadian government yesterday announced announced $5 million to support the implementation of a high-speed potato specialty line at the McCain’s Grand Falls facility.

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Weird news: Scientists have taught spinach plants to send emails, and it could warn us about climate change

It may sound like something out of a futuristic science fiction film, but scientists have managed to engineer spinach plants which are capable of sending emails. Through nanotechnology, engineers at MIT in the US have transformed spinach into sensors capable of detecting explosive materials. These plants are then able to wirelessly relay this information back to the scientists.

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Webinar: Fertiliser calibration – the practice

AHDB and Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) in the UK have joined up to look at how you can get the best out of your nitrogen use and fertiliser application through calibration, with a focus on the principles and the practice. This webinar session is focussing on fertiliser calibration in-field and is a practical session for farmers and operators run with Trevor Johnson, Acare Services Ltd, who operates fertiliser calibration and NSTS tests across East Anglia.

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Ethylene gaining ground as a safe and cost efficient sprout inhibitor

The corona crisis is causing a decrease in the demand for potatoes for the processing industry. As a result, sprout inhibitors for good safe storage are in the spotlight again. One of the most used sprout inhibitors at the moment is ethylene. What explains its popularity? And what do you need to take into account if you are considering a switch? Fernando Rubio Lòpez, ethylene expert and technical manager at Restrain, explains.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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