Pressreleases

CIP scientists developing digital tools to optimize irrigation water use in potato production

Potato has good potential to help the world meet that challenge, since it produces more calories per liter of water than other major staple crops. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are trying to enhance that potential through the development of digital tools to optimize the use of water in irrigation. A team of researchers led by crop ecophysiologist David Ramírez has used a combination of conventional and thermal cameras to study how potato plants react to water stress. They also developed open-access software called Thermal Image Processor (TIPCIP) to analyze those images.

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Fairfields Farm to supply global meal kit player HelloFresh with its low carbon footprint potatoes

UK based potato grower, Fairfields Farm in Essex, recently announced that it will be supplying HelloFresh with its low carbon footprint potatoes from October. HelloFresh is the leading global meal kit player, operating in 14 countries, it has delivered 149 million meals worldwide in Q2 2020 alone. Fairfields Farm will be supplying HelloFresh in the UK with fresh potatoes from its family farm in Colchester, Essex, and helping the recipe box delivery service in its quest to become carbon neutral.

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McCain Foods US to support 750,000 meals for No Kid Hungry campaign

Following the announcement of McCain Foods US partnership with the No Kid Hungry organization, the company says on its LinkedIn channel that it is delighted to share that its financial donation will provide the equivalent of 750,000 meals. This donation is part of the No Kid Hungry ’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts that will help provide children with the most important school supply: Food.

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.

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Haith bags global enquiries after Facebook video goes viral

Haith Group has seen a resurgence of interest in its innovative bag filling machine after a video posted on social media was viewed more than one million times. The twenty second video which shows the Haith Supa-Bag 10 mobile bagging trailer filling ten one-ton jumbo bags was posted by the company last month. One week later, video views had exceeded 100,000, and the company had received seven sales enquiries from people in the UK, New Zealand, North America, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The already popular video was later posted by Pro Horizon and viewings rocketed to over one million.

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BOULDER CANYON debuts new thin and crispy potato chips made with avocado oil

BOULDER CANYON® brings adventurous, flavorful snack food innovation to those seeking a better-for-you experience with their new Thin & Crispy potato chips. BOULDER CANYON continues its impressive track record of providing simple and healthier snack foods options. BOULDER CANYON has risen to be a fast-growing salty snack brand with the number one potato chip SKU in the natural channel, BOULDER CANYON Avocado Oil Sea Salt Potato Chip.

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Ireland: Potato growers supplying food service having ‘one of the worst years on record’

According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.

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Project to develop new potato varieties will benefit breeders, growers and consumers

Potatoes are a widely-loved vegetable. Baked, mashed, fried or chipped, they are a tasty treat. But they aren’t perfect. Potatoes present a big challenge for the plant breeders who work on the crop, trying to develop new varieties that are more savory, sustainable, storable or growable. “Potato is the world’s leading vegetable crop, but it hasn’t realized the genetic gains needed to keep pace with industry and consumer demands,” says Jeff Endelman, UW–Madison associate professor in the horticulture department.

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PotatoEurope 2021: Pre-registration opens, and participants are enthusiastically signing up

Last week the organizers of the PotatoEurope 2021 event opened pre-registration for participants interested in taking part in the coming event, and they report that a great number of participants have opted to sign up for the upcoming edition. PotatoEurope takes place each year in one of four partnering countries, namely Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. Next year PotatoEurope 2021 will be hosted in The Netherlands on 1 and 2 September at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Field crops in Lelystad. The event is expected to feature more than 275 exhibitors from all over the world, welcoming more than 16.000 visitors in the two days during which it will take place.

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Russian potato exports on the up, but imports still exceed exports

Roman Nekrasov, director of the crop production department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Russia reportedly said that in the first nine months of 2020, Russia exported 254,800 tons of potatoes (both table and seed), which is almost 36% more than in the same period last year. Nevertheless. while potato imports are declining, they still exceed Russian potato exports. Over the first nine months of 2020, 293,400 tons were imported into Russia (in 2019 the official figure provided is 298,300 tons). This means that it is necessary to develop the storage capacity of potatoes in Russia.

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British potato packer boosts output with new equipment

One of the UK’s leading potato packers has seen a dramatic increase in productivity after investing in new machinery. Over the last six months, IPL, which is part of the ASDA family, has seen throughput increase by 25%. In February, the company doubled the number of GIC machines operating at its Scottish factory and has since seen productivity increase by 15% and mechanical downtime reduce by 2%. Kirsty Reid, Factory Manager at IPL Inchture, says: “Introducing the two new GIC machines to our line at IPL Inchture in February has been incredibly successful. We now operate four GIC8000s and as a result, the tonnage we can handle each hour has increased.

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A changing market landscape in the British potato industry: What behavioural changes has Coronavirus driven?

Following an extraordinary few months for the industry, join the AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight team during a series of webinars, focused on reviewing how the market and consumers have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, and what opportunities and threats this now presents for AHDB sectors. Grace Randall joins Kim Malley for this webinar focused on potatoes, discussing how purchasing and consumption has been impacted by coronavirus, pulling out the opportunities and threats for the category in the future.

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NPC CEO on accessing COVID relief aid; Potato Expo 2021 update

In the latest Eye on Potatoes podcast, NPC CEO Kam Quarles calls in to discuss how potato growers are accessing $14 billion in aid available through USDA’s new CFAP 2 program and the latest Congressional efforts to fund the government until early December. Kam also provides an update on Potato Expo 2021, currently scheduled for January 6-7 as an in-person and online hybrid event and NPC’s Annual Meeting, moved to coincide with February’s Potato D.C. Fly-In.

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Upcoming event: HZPC Potato Days 2020 Live

Potato Days in the Netherlands is an internationally known event on the annual potato industry event schedule. Every year in November, the event is organized by several companies, including potato breeder HZPC. This year the event will be hosted as a virtual event on Wednesday, November 4th. The theme is “Let’s connect!” Professionals from across the potato chain will come together from all corners of the world virtually to experience the latest potato varieties and to network. The digital domain offers potato breeder HZPC many opportunities to help even participants to connect in creative ways.

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British planted potato area one of the lowest on record

According to AHDB figures released yesterday, the 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. In a news report, AHDB says the total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2016 and 2017. The driving force behind the drop is mainly the processing sector, but also the fresh bags sector with a combined reduction of 4.1Kha.

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Potato tuber treatment – specialist advice

Appropriate tuber treatment is an essential step in developing healthy and abundant harvests, according to potato specialists at AHDB in the UK. In a recent news article, AHDB says the cost of growing potatoes is likely to increase in the following years as a result of replacing lost chemicals; potential losses due to diseases must be avoided whenever possible through application of the correct treatment, starting with the seed. As this is a complex process, AHDB says potato seed producers, traders and end users are encouraged to seek information regarding the correct treatment procedure, such as the best time to apply the chemicals or the stage of the skin set.

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HZPC potato breeding company says it ‘closes eventful year with a healthy result’

The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.

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Upcoming WPC webinar: Prof Jacquie Van Der Waals on diseases threatening sustainable potato production

The World Potato Congress is pleased to be beginning its Fall webinar series on November 12, 2020 with Professor Jacquie van der Waals from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Professor van der Waals will present – “Above and Below Ground: Diseases threatening sustainable potato production”. This presentation will discuss three important disease complexes in potatoes, namely Rhizoctoniasis, soft rot and blackleg, early blight and brown spot. For each of these disease complexes, Prof van der Waals will introduce the pathogen, give a description of symptoms, discuss the disease cycle and touch on basic management principles.

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Ireland: Potato crop yields well below average

According to this week’s Potato Market Update from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), although weather conditions have improved, growers are facing additional setbacks due to reduced yields and skin set issues. Reports from growers suggest that main-crop yields are well below average this year. Poor skin set appears to be a problem for a lot of growers and some growers have halted liftings due to this problem.

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Idaho Potato Commission’s “Ask Dr. Potato” fast becoming the most referenced online resource

Forgot how long it takes to bake a potato or if spuds should be stored in the refrigerator? Answers to these questions and hundreds more can easily be found at Dr. Potato on the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) website. “Dr. Potato was born because we were receiving hundreds of questions about potatoes from consumers and foodservice operators. Since many of the questions were recurring, we thought it would be most efficient to post them online so folks could access them immediately and at any time of day,” explained Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC.

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Postponed: World Potato Congress and Europatat events in Ireland postponed to 2022 due to pandemic crisis

Due to the pandemic and for the safety of participants, it is with great reluctance that the three organisations World Potato Congress Inc., Europatat and the Irish Potato Federation, jointly announce today the postponement of the World Potato Congress (WPC) and the Europatat Congress planned for May/June in Dublin in 2021. Originally scheduled for 31st May – 3rd June 2021, the WPC will now take place on 30th May – 2nd June 2022. As previously planned, the WPC will be preceded by the Europatat Congress – which will take place from 29th- 30th May 2022.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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