New Zealand, Australia

Elders Ltd celebrates 185 years with landmark sponsorship of World Potato Congress in Adelaide

Elders Ltd, an Australian agricultural services company and certified seed potato supplier, has announced its major sponsorship of the 2024 World Potato Congress in Adelaide. Celebrating 185 years, Elders aims to foster innovation and sustainable practices through support of this key industry event. The Congress will focus on global industry trends, including changing markets and customer preferences. Elders invites industry stakeholders to participate in the event for valuable knowledge sharing and networking.

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New Zealand mourns the loss of ‘Spud King’ Allan Pye at 83

New Zealand’s ‘Spud King’, Allan Pye, has died at 83, leaving a legacy in potato farming. Rising from a modest start, he transformed national agricultural practices, introducing center-pivot irrigation and building businesses in various industries worth about $1 billion. Despite massive success, he found joy in daily farming. Pye is remembered by his family, including 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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A green leap forward: Australian company’s sustainable potato bag wins top packaging award

Australian company Detpak has received the APPMA Packaging Design Innovation Award for their Kerbside Recyclable Paper Bag for Fresh Potatoes. In partnership with Mitolo Family Farms and Coles, they developed the recyclable bag, significantly cutting plastic use and fitting the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s sustainability criteria. Detpak celebrates this eco-friendly achievement as a step towards more sustainable grocery packaging solutions.

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‘Trailblazers in the Field’: The female forces shaping New Zealand’s potato industry

On International Women’s Day, Potatoes New Zealand highlighted the pivotal roles of women in the potato sector. Paula Lleras, Emma Lees, and Kate Trufitt were featured for their unique expertise and impacts on the industry, from database management and inspection to HR and leadership roles. These stories showcase the crucial contributions and inspirational effect women have in agriculture, promoting diversity and innovation.

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Celebrating women in the potato industry: The inspirational stories of New Zealand’s Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay

On International Women’s Day on March 8, we honor Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay for their leadership in New Zealand’s potato industry. Pye excels in multifaceted roles, including directorships and council positions, prioritizing inclusivity and diversity. McKay, co-owner of Alps Seeds Ltd, innovates in seed potato production. Both faced challenges but persevere, inspiring women to engage in agriculture’s diverse opportunities. Their stories embody the empowerment of women and their critical influence in shaping the future of the global potato industry.

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Empowering international delegates: World Potato Congress 2024 offers support for attendees from Asia, South America, and Africa

The World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) is dedicated to supporting FAO Sustainability Goals through its “Declaration of Dublin,” enhancing global potato industry collaboration. To facilitate this, the WPC, with its partners, is sponsoring 20 delegates from diverse regions to attend its Congress in Australia, offering financial support for attendance, lodging, and travel. This initiative underlines the WPC’s commitment to creating a global platform for sustainable agricultural progress and food security.

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Australia’s potato industry surpasses $1 billion in production value for the first time

Australia’s potato industry has exceeded a $1 billion production value, marking a 24% increase from the previous year. This milestone is attributed to investments in automation and innovation. Annual production remains steady at 1.4 million tonnes. The significant growth, as detailed by ABC Landline, suggests strong and sustained demand, echoed by the experiences of growers like Michael Smith.

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Leading the charge: Ms. Robbie Davis announced as Ambassador for the 2024 World Potato Congress

Potatoes Australia Ltd. has named Ms. Robbie Davis as the official Ambassador for the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide, 2024. Ms. Davis, with her extensive industry background, including a previous CEO role and board directorships, will leverage her expertise to promote the event. Her responsibilities include advocacy, industry engagement, and media relations. Her aim is to foster unity and innovation within the international potato community at the Congress.

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The fragile fate of Aussie spuds: Battling climate and another threat of shortage

Australia faces another potential potato shortage, just a year after the last crisis. Potato grower Terry Buckley highlights the industry’s susceptibility to extreme weather, with optimal growing temperatures between 20-30°C. Climatologists predict more heatwaves, intensifying the challenge. The industry, constrained by strict cultivation contracts and high production costs, considers exports as a buffer against domestic volatility, highlighting the precarious nature of agricultural sustainability amidst climate change.

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World Potato Congress Inc. calls for nominations for prestigious Industry Awards

Dr. Peter VanderZaag of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) has announced the opening of nominations for the 2024 Industry Awards, recognizing lifetime achievements in the potato sector. Nominations require a 250-word justification and contact details, submitted by March 27, 2024, to the WPC Executive Director. Nomination submissions is set for the close of business on March 27, 2024. Recipients will be announced at the upcoming World Potato Congress in Australia in June 2024.

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McCain Foods donates 100,000 meals to Foodbank Australia

In a gesture of community aid amidst rising food insecurity McCain Foods partnered with nonprofit Foodbank Australia to donate around 100,000 meals. The meals were prepared at the company’s Wendouree-based factory, dedicating its full production line to the effort for a day. Ross Fallon, McCain Foods’ supply chain director, highlighted the growing need for such support, while Foodbank Victoria’s CEO, Dave McNamara, urged other food manufacturers to follow suit.

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‘Sorry, but not all hash browns are created equal’: The Australian frozen hash brown showdown

The Guardian’s Nicholas Jordan taste tested Australian frozen hash browns. He crowned Birds Eye Potato Gems as the top choice for their ideal crunch and flavor. Birds Eye also offered the best value, while McCain’s Quick Cook impressed with speed. Variations in crunchiness and flavor, like the farm-scented Seasons Pride and the inedible Strong Roots, highlighted the importance of texture in frozen potato products. This taste test revealed that not all hash browns are created equal…

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Chemotherapy, thermotherapy and cryotherapy: New Zealand scientists unveil innovative methods to eradicate PVS, PVA, and PVM viruses

New Zealand scientists have developed a groundbreaking method to eradicate Potato Virus S (PVS), Potato Virus A (PVA), and Potato Virus M (PVM) from in vitro-grown potato shoots. The study, published in “Frontiers in Plant Science,” revealed that combining chemotherapy and cryotherapy was highly effective in producing virus-free potato plants. This advancement is vital for the potato industry, ensuring a supply of healthy planting material. The findings address New Zealand’s plant biosecurity concerns and have global implications for potato farming.

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New Zealand’s seed potato revolution: Ensuring top-tier quality for growers

The New Zealand Seed Potato Certification Scheme, established in 1948, ensures high-quality seed potatoes for growers. Managed by Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ), the scheme underwent significant enhancements in 2021 to improve seed traceability and quality. While 95% of seed production is in Canterbury, the scheme’s success is attributed to rigorous inspections and a dedicated PNZ team. Despite challenges, the industry’s commitment ensures New Zealand’s prominence in the global potato market.

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‘The Big Spud has fallen’: Tasmanian tourist potato icon felled by high winds

Tasmania’s iconic “Kenny” the Kennebec potato, a fixture on the Bass Highway for 40 years, has fallen due to a truck collision and strong winds. Creator Rick Rockliff assured the damage is fixable and revealed plans for a restoration. While bureaucratic challenges loom for Kenny’s reinstallation, the incident has sparked humorous memes on Tasmanian social media. The community eagerly anticipates Kenny’s triumphant return.

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TNA implements potato production lines for the Egyptian army

TNA Solutions, a food processing and packaging firm, completed a significant project for the Egyptian Army. Commissioned by the Egyptian NSPO in 2020, TNA introduced two advanced potato product production lines. The first line, for Hash Browns and Rosti, produces two metric tonnes hourly, while the second, for French Fries and other items, yields 10 metric tonnes. TNA oversees the entire process, including advanced distribution and packaging. Collaborating with Optima Solutions, TNA aids the Egyptian Ministry of Defence in self-sufficiency. The project’s June 2023 completion signifies a new era, with plans for further expansion.

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SwarmFarm Robotics launches ‘dock and refill’: Ushering in the next era of agricultural autonomy

SwarmFarm Robotics, an Australian based pioneer in Integrated Autonomy, has introduced its innovative “dock and refill” feature, allowing robots to autonomously refuel and restock. This development decouples equipment size from efficiency. Historically, larger farm tools have overshadowed smaller ones in productivity. However, larger equipment has caused soil compaction, reducing yields. SwarmFarm’s new capability ensures continuous operation without manual intervention, promoting sustainable farming and tailored solutions.

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Strengthening Aussie potato market: Lamb Weston Australia acquires Crackerjack Foods

Lamb Weston, a global supplier of frozen potato products, has acquired Victorian-based Crackerjack Foods, known for its frozen potato-based items in the Australian food services sector. The acquisition includes two Crackerjack processing facilities and will see Crackerjack’s employees join Lamb Weston. The move aims to expand Lamb Weston’s product range, enhance processing capabilities, and strengthen its presence in Australia.

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Potatoes New Zealand appoints new CEO

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed Kate Trufitt as its new chief executive. A director of Horticulture NZ, she has held many roles in the horticulture sector. According to the Potatoes NZ website, Trufitt has a great breadth of experience from plant nursery, growing, postharvest and processing through to the market – both domestic and export.

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Agronico joins Simplot: A milestone deal in Australia’s agricultural landscape

In a landmark deal, Simplot is set to acquire Agronico, Tasmania’s leading seed potato producer. The acquisition, pending regulatory approvals, promises to reshape Tasmania’s agricultural sector. Judith Shaw, Agronico’s owner, expressed confidence in Simplot’s ability to continue the company’s 35-year legacy. Agronico, known for its innovative use of hydroponics, produces 8,000 tonnes of seed potatoes and 25,000 tons of minitubers annually.

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Wyma Solutions became part of the MHM Automation group of companies

MHM Automation Limited, a global Agritech organization headquartered in New Zealand, has joined forces with Wyma, a similar-sized company. MHM specializes in supplying products and services to agricultural customers in the meat, dairy, grain, and horticulture sectors, particularly excelling in automated reverse packaging for dairy and plate freezer technology for meat. Additionally, MHM offers automation and robotics solutions, from palletizing to AGVs and automated warehousing.

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TNA Solutions helps Mister Bee Potato Chips increase production capacity by 400%

TNA Solutions partnered with Mister Bee Potato Chips to revolutionize snack production, achieving a 400% capacity increase. The partnership involved a comprehensive upgrade of the manufacturing site, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and installing TNA’s state-of-the-art packaging system. The result was a significant boost in output, meeting increasing demand without compromising quality.

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From waste to wrap: An Australian company transforms potato scraps into eco-friendly cling wrap

In a massive warehouse in Melbourne’s west, a gleaming new machine hums and purrs around the clock, extruding large rolls of clear plastic wrap. It is not the petroleum-based product so ubiquitous in everyday life — from wrapping factory goods on pallets to keeping food fresh in the fridge. This wrap is made from potato starch and polymers, a high-tech process that utilises potato waste from food products such as french fries and potato chips.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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