While shoppers’ smiles are currently hidden behind their masks, they’ll soon spot plenty of friendly faces in the snack aisle thanks to Lay’s, which is converting millions of potato chip bags to feature the real smiles of 30 “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things in their communities. During a time when joy is needed more than ever, the new Lay’s bags continue the brand’s mission to inspire even more smiles in 2020, with up to $1 million in proceeds benefitting Operation Smile.
According to the latest Potato Weekly report published by AHDB in the UK on Friday, the past week has seen free-buy trade fall once again. AHDB Analyst Alex Cook reports that movement of supplies on contract continues to hold the majority in potato markets. Repeat orders, in some cases with lower volumes, form the common comments this week rather than fresh demand. Anticipation and uncertainty surrounding a potential re-imposing of stricter lockdown measures has seen some purchasers await further information before placing orders, meaning demand has subdued.
The latest Spud Scoop newsletter for the week ending on September 12, 2020 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. Contributors are Andy Robinson, Gary Secor, Ian MacRae and Julie Pasche. According to information contained in the newsletter, no late blight has been reported in potato fields in ND, MN and MB.
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting the UK domestic potato trade, we have estimated a 1% drop year-on-year in the GB potato area for 2020/21, with the provisional area standing at 119Kha. AHDB market analysts (Potatoes and Cereals) Alex Cook and Anthony Speight prepared a report in which they take a closer look at how things are stacking up for the British chipping market at this time. In the report they forecast Britain’s potential chipping area for the 2020/21 marketing year; review pricing of chipping potatoes since covid-19, and forecast demand going forward and how this could affect the ex-farm price of chipping potatoes.
A University of Idaho-led team will tackle a pair of viruses that cause major losses to the potato industry. In a press release issued by the University, it is said that U of I researcher and potato virus expert Alex Karasev will lead the project funded by a $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The team of two dozen scientists will target potato virus Y (PVY) and potato mop top virus (PMTV) in seed potatoes, the first level of commercial potato production, and in potatoes grown for market.
Kiremko proudly announced today that the 30th STRATA Invicta® steam peeler was bought by Aviko Belgium. The manufacturer and distributor of specialized processing equipment unveils that this milestone was reached in precisely 30 months after the steam peeler was first launched commercially. “We didn’t know of this anniversary of the Kiremko STRATA Invicta® steam peeler at the moment we bought it”, Aviko Belgium Project Manager Cor Koole admits. “We just bought it because it offers us the highest reliability.
In a recently released YouTube video, GRIMME showcases the development of its Ventor 4150 potato harvester – from design to the final commercial end product. According to GRIMME, the VENTOR 4150 is the first 4-row self-propelled harvester based on the SE-principle (sieving, conveying and haulm separation). The powerful 530 HP machine with its 15 tonne unloading bunker is the first harvester to be fitted with the SE system, which increases productivity significantly when compared to a 2 row harvester.
Researchers in Canada’s Alberta province are studying how potato farmers and their crops could benefit from new irrigation technology. The industry and government supported project “Towards Climate-Robust Irrigation Water Management for Potato Production” is now in the second year of its 4-year run. The project is investigating if precision irrigation can help increase water use efficiency and potato crop yields in Alberta.
Kent based Provenance Potatoeshttp://www.provenance-potatoes.co.uk/ is launching a 2kg retail pack, brilliantly sized for store shelves in farm shops and independent retailers across the South of the UK. The new retail pack is the perfect size for families, with the added bonus that the potatoes are locally grown and packed and support British farmers. All Provenance Potatoes are washed, graded and packed using only the finest potatoes from the heart of Kent.
A new strategy and improved communication with levy payers on how their money is spent are just two of the significant changes AHDB has pledged to make. This follows the Government’s response to the Request for Views, published earlier this year. “We have listened carefully to the views expressed by levy payers in response to the Government-led Request for Views, and we are now committed to some key reforms to ensure we are fit for purpose in the changing times British agriculture is facing,” said AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir.
NEPG urges growers to reduce planted area in 2021, although current harvest total expected to be average
The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total and final potato harvest for its members for the 2020 season will be on par with the 5 year average total. NEPG says the total planted area has increased with 1,4 % in 2020 compared to last year’s planted area. It estimates the total harvest to be 27,9 million tons, compared with 26,9 million last year. NEPG is advising its growers in member countries to “take control and be masters of their own destiny”. Growers are urged to reduce next year’s planted area.
British fans of ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg urged to test soil for safety before eating lockdown harvest
Britain’s legions of ‘grow your own’ gardeners are being urged to ensure their soil is safe before they consume their hard-earned harvest. The UK’s love affair with gardening has flourished amid lockdown as more people took up the hobby and began to grow their own fruit and vegetables. But a firm set up to test domestic soil quality has urged caution before garden enthusiasts enjoy their first crops. A spokesman for SafeSoil UK said in a recent press release: “With the UK’s proud industrial heritage the reality is that many of the plots of land that gardeners are using to grow their crops have a back-story that can mean contamination in the soil.
MountainKing has added Cindy Adkins, a former owner and operator of the nation’s largest certified organic packer of fingerling potatoes, to its team of sales representatives. Based in Colorado, where she started growing and harvesting fingerlings back in 1997, Adkins will be responsible for helping MountainKing’s retail partners increase sales of the company’s small round varieties and fingerlings. “As a vertically integrated company, MountainKing can compete with any major producer and packing house.” Cindy says.
Wageningen UR in the Netherlands is now offering a PhD research opportunity – in principle a 4-year PhD position – for the study of potato sustainability. This project is said to be about understanding the effects of extreme weather events on potato development and on the yield and quality of the tubers. These effects can be viewed in relation to soil quality management and its implications for crop climate resistance and nutrient-use efficiency.
Plant protein discovery could reduce need for fertilizer and improve the tolerance of crops to climate change
Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK have discovered how a protein in plant roots controls the uptake of minerals and water, a finding which could improve the tolerance of agricultural crops to climate change and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers. The research shows that members of the blue copper proteins family, the Uclacyanins are vital in the formation of Casparian strips. These strips are essential structures that control mineral nutrient and water use efficiencies by forming tight seals between cells in plants, blocking nutrients and water leaking between.
According to AHDB in the UK, the 2020/21 potato storage season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet for the British potato industry. With storage season fast approaching, harvest provides the best opportunity to familiarise yourself with your crop and refine your storage plans accordingly. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Unit are providing the key aspects that growers and storage operators should focus on during the onset on the 2020/21 storage season.
Processing potatoes supply is still outweighing the reduced demand on the domestic market. Given that most planting decisions had been made this year when the pandemic hit, this demand erosion has had minimal impact on the GB potato area. Indeed, the current estimate of 119Kha is only 1% back on 2019. In recent years, the processing area has been increasing steadily, standing at 37.5Kha last year. Using the proportion the processing area made up of the total GB area last year (31%), we could estimate 2020 area to stand around 37Kha.
Potato LEAF awards Texas A&M’s Jeewan Pandey for research to speed up the development of new varieties
The Potato Leadership, Education and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) is pleased to announce Jeewan Pandey, a third-year graduate student Texas A&M University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences, as the recipient of its 2020-21 Academic Scholarship. Pandey’s research involves the application of DNA-based markers in potato breeding to speed up the development of new varieties that would require fewer pesticide applications.
The ADAPT project aims at identifying new breeding targets and matching potato varieties to specific challenging environmental growth conditions of the future, according to a press release issued by the University of Vienna. The ADAPT consortium has successfully launched the project “Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”, which aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. It will take place over the next four years with a total budget of 5 million Euro from the EU Horizon 2020 program.
LOCKWOOD Manufacturing has expanded its sales and service reach for customers in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Collaborating with Double L, Larry Benzel will represent both companies as the area’s regional salesman. “LOCKWOOD and Double L enjoy a great working relationship and we are proud to work with Double L to better serve the potato growers of the Columbia Basin,” said Dan Birrenkott, president of Crary Industries and LOCKWOOD Manufacturing.
The Board of Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, is pleased to announce the appointment of Berta Redondo Benito as the new Secretary General of the association, with effect as of 1st of September 2020. She will succeed Raquel Izquierdo de Santiago who has successfully led the association for the last 6 years. The Board and the whole membership of Europatat warmly thank Raquel for her excellent work during these years.
A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has exported its largest-ever order. Scotts Precision Manufacturing sent 14 Evolution Separators to Allan Potato Equipment Manufacturing Ltd., Canada’s largest designer and manufacturer of potato harvesting equipment. Before this shipment, the most Evolutions Scotts had supplied in one order was seven.