Pressreleases

Scottish based Caithness potato variety company demerge to become ‘Caledonia Potatoes’

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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Agrico East Africa goes digital – and Kenyan potato farmers love it…

The Agrico East Africa team was working hard the past few months to produce video tutorials on ‘Profitable Potato Farming in Kenya’. They did this in a well-rewarded effort to continue their work of rendering agronomic support to smallholder farmers in Kenya, despite the debilitating COVID-19 restrictions that was imposed on Kenyan citizens during the pandemic. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed. Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of – Kenyan produced – certified potato seed.

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Global potato statistics: An overview

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains a databasis on many different crops, named FAOSTAT. It provides a powerful search facility that users can employ and manipulate to obtain data about a chosen crop. I extracted data for the potato crop related to “production” and “area harvested”, and present the results in the tables below (for 130 countries where potatoes are cultivated). The latest FAOSTAT data available is for 2018.

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Czech potato farmer develops one-of-a-kind vending machine

One local potato producing company in the south of the Czech Republic is taking advantage of tourism to the area and developed and then installed a one-of-a-kind potato vending machine in the barn door on its property, reports Samantha Tatro for expats-cz. The vending machine lets people insert coins and to buy fresh potatoes, according to Viktor Kopa?ka, the company’s director. The varieties of potatoes available at the vending machine will change over time, depending on what’s in season. Right now, the machine sells the Suzan variety of potatoes.

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Upcoming webinar: Desiccation – how to apply diquat alternatives to potato crops

Next Wednesday, 19 August 2020, AHDB in the UK will host a webinar focused on potato desiccation. During this online event, participants will get an in-field view of this year’s SPot Farm desiccation trials, as AHDB continues to provide independent data on how best to replace diquat as a desiccant. Observations from this year’s crop will be discussed, as well as a look at completed trial results from previous seasons and an interview with lead trials researcher Mark Stalham, before an online Q&A.

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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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UK late blight fungicide trials: ‘No significant decline in sensitivity found’

Results from blight fungicide testing show no significant decline in sensitivity according to research supported by AHDB. Data taken from trials carried out throughout 2019 means no changes in recommendations for blight control issued by the Fungicide Resistance Action Group (FRAG). Research leader David Cooke said: “…this data does not show any immediate cause for concern for potato growers that newer blight genotypes are causing problems for fungicide programmes.

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New herbicide approved for control of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops in New Zealand

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority for use in New Zealand, subject to certain conditions. Boxer Gold is intended to be used as a herbicide for the treatment of broadleaf and grass weeds in potato crops. Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers.

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Australian family farm has three generations of history with McCain

Callum Murphy is a Ballarat potato grower whose family’s relationship with McCain Foods Ballarat spans three generations. Callum, his father, and his grandfather have worked with McCain for 40 years to streamline production and create a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Callum Murphy of AP Murphy and Sons in Dunstown is proud to uphold his family’s relationship with McCain Ballarat for the third consecutive generation. “The relationship has been solid and it’s reliable to work with McCain. We work with them each year to improve output,” Callum says.

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AVR’s foldable ridger meets demand for mechanical weed control

Mechanical weed control is more and more becoming an essential part of farmers cultivation practices, and is no longer limited to biological cultivation only. For years now, AVR has been successfully designing and selling its combination ridging machine, which consists of a base chassis with a characteristic ‘weight transfer’ system, to which different elements can be added. This way the machine can be used as a speed ridger, hoe-rake ridger or an ‘eco ridger’. AVR introduces a foldable version to be able to remove weeds from even more ridges in one working pass

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World Potato Congress Inc Industry Award Nominations now open

President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), Mr. Romain Cools, Belgium and the Chairman of the WPC Industry Awards Committee, Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin, USA are pleased to announce that nominations are now being called for the 2021 World Potato Congress Industry Awards. The World Potato Congress Industry Awards is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. Prominent past Industry Award recipients include: Mr. J.R. Simplot and Mr. Harrison McCain.

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Improved market access for Aussie potatoes in Thailand

Australian potato farmers are enjoying improved access to the Thai market with two key commitments now realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and the removal of tariff rate quotas that limited the volume that could access the lower TAFTA tariff rate for Australian seed and processing potatoes. Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the removal of limits was a boost for potato farmers.

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: NPC’s Federal Agency Farm Tour goes virtual

In the latest edition of Eye on Potatoes: More than 160 participants from EPA, USDA, and throughout the potato industry joined NPC’s virtual Agency Tour in July, gaining a better understanding of the pest challenges faced by potato growers across the nation in growing and delivering potatoes to market. NPC COO Mike Wenkel calls in to discuss the importance of the annual tour. Jim Ehrlich, Executive Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee also joins the podcast to talk about potato production and crop protection tools utilized in the San Luis Valley.

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Spud Scoop: No late blight reported, PVY Risk Index values less than half of last year

The latest Spud Scoop newsletter was published yesterday. Spud Scoop is a growing season publication compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. Potato Extension Agronomist Dr Andy Robinson writes that no late blight has been reported in potato fields, however weather conditions are favorable for late blight. Early blight is becoming more prevalent. Aphid numbers have doubled over last week, causing the PVY Vector Risk Index to more than double this week. The good news is PVY Risk Index values are less than half what they were at this time last year.

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Potato Weekly: Will the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme energise potato trade?

In the August 7 issue of Potato Weekly, AHDB Analyst Anthony Speight writes that once again trade across the week can been described as relatively subdued in the UK. The Government’s new “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme started this week. The scheme is designed to encourage people to visit restaurants, cafes and pubs, which have been badly hit by the lockdown. Diners across the UK will be able to enjoy half-price meals at eat-in food and drink venues on Monday to Wednesdays at more than 72,000 venues. Speight writes that it’s still quite early to see if this will re-energise potato trade.

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Tong opens new manufacturing facility after 90 years in business

Tong Engineering is pleased to announce the completion and operation of its new manufacturing facility in Spilsby in the UK. The £3.6 million first phase building is part of a two-phase project on the seven-acre site and marks a new milestone in the company’s continuing growth and development programme. “At the beginning of the year, we knew that 2020 was set to be a landmark year for Tong. Opening a new factory after 90 years of business and what seems like 90 extensions to our existing factory, was always going to be very exciting,” says Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering.

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Market for food service remains flat in Ireland; low tuber numbers in early harvested crops

In the latest IFA potato market report published today, it is said that the market for the food service sector remains very flat as pubs and restaurants are slow to get going again. Retail demand has leveled off but remains positive. The early market is holding quite well and lifting continues along the east coast, however, there are more reports this week that tuber numbers are down. The NEPG expect the EU crop to be slightly higher this year. Plantings have increased by around 0.5%.

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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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Idaho Farm Bureau Federation: Revisions to farm relief program could help some potato growers

The recent revisions that USDA made to its coronavirus farm relief program are expected to provide some relief to potato farmers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Sean Ellis reports for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. The federal CFAP program, which was announced April 17, will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID. The initial parameters of the program meant Idaho spud farmers, as well as most wheat and barley growers, would have received little if any of the funds.

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McCain kept Smithton plant in Tasmania running – and commissioned and delivered plant upgrade

In a press release issued today, the company says completing construction and commissioning a $37 million plant upgrade, managing staff to continue operations in the middle of Tasmania’s COVID-19 hotspot, and navigating ever-changing shift profiles – it’s been a challenging six months for McCain Foods’ Smithton plant. As one of the region’s largest employers, McCain Foods has officially “come out on the other side” with the site’s production recently returning to a full seven-day roster.

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Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko: Three identities, one brand

Three well-known companies in the potato industry, three identities, one brand. Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko have been strategic partners for decades. In a press release, the companies say: “We believe in the success of partnerships, with our combined teams we share our know-how. This collaboration is unique and ensures that we can serve the entire world market with state-of-the-art potato processing lines. With production facilities in the Netherlands and the US, we are able to deliver the same quality of innovative equipment to virtually any location.

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McCain supports Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic to help families with sick children

In a Twitter tweet today, the Ronald McDonald House Charities says: “We are truly grateful for the support of McCain, an @RMHCCanada National Partner, and an incredible supporter of our mission to help keep families with a sick or injured child together and near the medical care their child needs. When families learn their child is sick and must be hospitalized, life as they know it changes overnight. Families embark on what is an often unexpected and difficult journey full of uncertainty, worry, fear and hope RMHC says on its website.

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Jersey potato season survives twin threats of weather and Covid

A leading exporter of Jersey Royals and one of the Island’s major growers have spoken of their pride in keeping the potato industry going through a difficult 2020 season. Adverse weather and the Covid-19 pandemic have both contributed to a challenging year for farmers in Jersey. Christine Hellio, from Manor Farm in St Ouen, said the Island had responded well after facing the initial crisis presented by Coronavirus in March.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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