News April 2024

Haith expands machinery lineup with new box filling and handling solutions to boost potato processing efficiency

Haith has enhanced its agricultural machinery range with the Quanta Fill box filler and the RotaTip PRO, which feature a novel potato layering system and an all-electric box clamping system, respectively. These innovations are designed to improve efficiency in potato handling by reducing forklift use and optimizing box filling and stacking processes. The technologies were well-received at the Potato Expo and are anticipated to set new industry standards.

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Strategic investment in UK potato industry: AHDB proposes funding for key projects using residual levy funds

The AHDB plans to invest £1.8 million in leftover levy funds into seven projects to advance the UK potato industry, emphasizing disease management, crisis response, and sector challenges. The projects will address blight, aphids, viruses, public reputation, data transparency, CIPC residue, and nutrient management. With industry support and awaiting ministerial approval, the funding distribution is set for three to five years, aiming to boost potato farming’s future.

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International Potato Center launches ambitious survey to revolutionize potato varieties in the Global South

The International Potato Center, backed by CGIAR, launched a survey to improve food security in the Global South by developing resilient potato varieties. It seeks data from various agricultural stakeholders to tailor breeding programs to regional needs, thus enhancing yield and sustainability. This effort combines market needs analysis, sustainable practice evaluation, and understanding farmer and consumer preferences to address climate impact on food systems.

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The subtle science of potassium application: Enhancing potato quality without compromising yield

Sarah Light and her team studied how potassium chloride application timing affects potatoes, finding that fall applications don’t increase plant chloride and may reduce chloride accumulation since it leaches below the root zone. Their research indicates no significant impact on nitrogen levels, yield, or tuber specific gravity, regardless of fertilizer timing. The study, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, contributes to optimizing fertilizer use in agriculture.

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Unveiling the layers of regenerative agriculture: Promises and challenges

Regenerative agriculture, focusing on soil health and reduced synthetic input reliance through diverse cover crops, is gaining attention. Andrew McGuire of CSANR critically analyzes its principles and claims in his article, distinguishing it from sustainable agriculture. Its promise and practicality are debated, with success stories tempered by research on widespread implementability. McGuire is inspired by Gabe Brown, a prominent figure in the movement.

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Breaking ground in biofumigation: A new mustard hybrid offers natural disease control hope to potato growers

The potato industry in Canada could majorly benefit from AAC Guard, a new mustard hybrid acting as an effective biofumigant against verticillium wilt and nematodes. As chemical pesticides face deregistration, this natural solution, born of conventional breeding by Mustard 21 Canada and partners, offers an alternative. Its high glucosinolate levels are key in suppressing various pathogens. Though limited in 2024, increased seed availability is anticipated for 2025, promising a sustainable disease management strategy.

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Unlocking the potential of the humble spud: Scientists explore ways to climate-proof potatoes

Potatoes, the world’s fourth most important crop, are under threat from climate change, with rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and extreme weather challenging production. This article by Lukie Pieterse reviews strategies for enhancing potato resilience, such as breeding climate-tolerant varieties and adopting biotechnology and sustainable practices. Collaborative efforts are vital to secure this staple food’s future, ensuring global food security amidst a changing climate.

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Europatat and coalition call for reevaluation of Plant Reproductive Material legislation due to concerns over disease spread

Europatat and key agricultural bodies expressed alarm over changes to the EU’s Plant Reproductive Material legislation up for a vote in April’s final week. The coalition opposes AGRI Committee’s amendments which may allow unchecked seed movement, raising the risk of disease and damaging sustainability efforts. They advocate for the European Parliament to maintain the Commission’s original balance to prevent a sector crisis.

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Europatat unveils final program and speakers for 2024 Congress

Europatat is set to host its annual Congress in Brussels on 24 May 2024, focused on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition”. The event will gather industry stakeholders to discuss the future environmental, economic, and social challenges of the potato sector. Renowned speakers, including legislators and experts, will provide insights and discuss solutions. Events include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and a presentation by the Platinum Sponsor, highlighting innovative strategies and the sector’s trajectory.

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‘A fry above the rest’: McCain Foods celebrated as McDonald’s Top Global Supplier of 2024

At the 2024 Worldwide Convention, McCain Foods was awarded McDonald’s Global Supplier of the Year out of over 3,000 suppliers for outstanding food safety, quality, sustainability, and supply chain innovation. Celebrating a partnership since 1977, this accolade commends their shared standards in global food service and commitment to excellence. McCain’s dedication to sustainable potato supply and enhancing McDonald’s offerings is recognized, promising future innovations in the fast-food sector.

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What are the benefits of foliar nitrogen application in potato production?

Foliar nitrogen application enables farmers to increase nutrient use efficiency often to 90%, cut nitrogen use by 8-35%, and reduce environmental losses. This method, requiring less nitrogen, achieves immediate nutrient uptake through leaves, particularly under adverse soil conditions. Helen Holman of Emerald Research suggests this can lead to improved yield quality and quantity without additional tractor passes, contributing to agricultural sustainability.

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Why industry-wide effort is needed to tackle potato virus threat in the UK

Europe’s seed potato crops are increasingly affected by viruses, necessitating immediate adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Data from Scotland shows a worrying trend in crop downgrades due to viruses, with a rise to 15.4% downgraded and 1.8% failed crops. Milder winters and hotter summers expedite pest survival and breeding, exacerbating the issue. Experts underscore the need for prevention and management, while maintaining the high health of Scottish potato seeds.

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Soaring spuds: Prices at record highs in the UK as supply tightens and imports increase

The price of English white potatoes reached a record £570/MT with a 90% increase y-o-y. Maris Piper potatoes are at £610/MT, a 144% rise, yet trade is low. Prices could climb before 2024 as stocks are withheld. UK imports continue, priced £520-£600/MT. England has begun planting, but Scotland faces planting delays, potentially affecting the 2024 harvest. (Credit: Mintec)

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Senators want more access to Japan for U.S. fresh potatoes

During Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to the U.S., a bipartisan group of senators urged President Biden to pressure Japan for U.S. fresh potato market access. National Potato Council’s CEO noted a heightened push over the past five years, despite Japan’s inaction. Senators saw the visit as a chance to intensify negotiations, a goal pursued for over three decades.

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European potato sector sounds alarm over new seed marketing rules ahead of Parliament vote

The EU Parliament’s proposal to relax seed marketing rules, including for seed potatoes, has raised alarms in the potato industry due to increased disease transmission risks. The new regulation, which supersedes ten previous directives and includes exemptions overshooting what the European Commission suggested, might lead to a shadow market of seeds, jeopardizing production as pests like wireworms thrive, partly due to climate change.

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Study predicts significant future decline in potato yields on Prince Edward Island due to climate change

Researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island predict significant declines in potato yields due to climate change. Published in the journal Foods, the study forecasts a 6-10% decrease in yields under low-emission scenarios, and up to a 60% drop by the 2070s under high emissions, possibly reaching an 80% reduction by the 2090s. The study underlines temperature increases and variable precipitation as major factors affecting growth and urges the implementation of adaptation strategies.

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Indian agricultural scientists develop innovative, eco-friendly wind operated insect trap to enhance pest control

Scientists at ICAR-CPRI in Shimla, led by Dr. Kapil Kumar Sharma, have developed an innovative wind-operated aerial insect trap, which has the potential to revolutionize pest management in agriculture worldwide. This versatile and eco-friendly device addresses gaps in Integrated Pest Management by providing real-time, accurate data on insect populations. With the ability to function without electricity and collect diverse insect samples for analysis, the invention has secured a patent in India and looks to foster global collaborative research and commercial production through partnerships.

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The role of potatoes in food security and nutrition worldwide: An in-depth analysis

Lukie Pieterse of Potato News Today highlights the potato’s vital role in global food security and nutrition. Rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, potatoes yield more food per area than wheat and rice, thrive in diverse environments, and have a long shelf life, bolstering food availability. Accessible and affordable, they support vulnerable populations’ caloric needs and overall health. Despite challenges like post-harvest losses, promoting diverse preparation methods and sustainable practices can enhance potatoes’ role in a balanced diet and help combat global hunger.

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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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German potato industry champions sustainability and reduced bureaucracy ahead of EU elections

At the German Potato Trade Association’s 18th annual meeting in Regensburg, key discussions led by President Thomas Herkenrath focused on shaping EU policies to benefit the potato sector. The DKHV called for reduced bureaucracy, increased research support, eased trade barriers, and sustainable practices before the 2024 EU elections. Honorary board appointments celebrated industry contributions, underscoring the need for innovation-driven agricultural leadership.

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Win big this spring: The Little Potato Company debuts first-ever in-store and online sweepstakes

The Little Potato Company launches “The Little Springtime Campaign and Sweepstakes” with a chance to win $1,000 in groceries until May 15, 2024. Open to consumers in the U.S. and Canada, the campaign aims to promote its convenient, no-prep-required Little Potatoes. Supported by in-store, social media, and paid online ads, the initiative seeks to enhance family meals and highlight spring recipes.

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Soil health and potato yield: Cultivating a sustainable future from the ground up

Lukie Pieterse highlights the critical role of soil health in sustainable potato cultivation. Beyond its nutritional value, the versatile potato thrives with nutrient-rich, structured, and disease-suppressing soil, which also aids in water management and carbon sequestration. Incorporating practices like cover cropping, crop rotation, reduced tillage, organic amendments, integrated pest management, and precision agriculture ensures robust yields. These methods, combined with traditional wisdom and modern technology, promise a productive and sustainable future for global agriculture.

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HyFun Foods appoints industry veteran to spearhead sustainable fresh produce initiative, HyFarm

HyFun Foods appoints Soundararadjane S as CEO of HyFarm, an initiative focusing on sustainable agriculture and empowering Indian farmers. Soundararadjane’s 30 years of experience and strategic vision for scaling sustainable practices aim to revamp the fresh produce sector. HyFarm will innovate the supply chain, use regenerative agriculture, and expand to 30,000 farmers by 2030. Leveraging partnerships and connecting with global markets, HyFun Foods also plans to diversify beyond potatoes into other vegetable exports.

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From field to storage: GB Potatoes leads the way in refining potato storage practices with innovative project

GB Potatoes, with Potato Storage Insight and SDF Agriculture, is leading the Strategic SPot storage project to improve potato storage methods for better cost efficiency and product quality. Their approach includes hands-on research and demonstrations. An important event on May 14th at Winters Lane Storage Ltd. will offer expert advice and insights on storage optimizations, cold storage strategies, design improvements, and variety performance. Attendees can also enjoy a showcase of partners and visit a processing store.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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