Pressreleases

What lies beneath: WSU team studies three-way interaction between potatoes, powdery scab, and mop top virus

A team of Washington State University scientists are taking on a destructive complex of diseases affecting valuable potato crops. Over the last few years Washington’s potato industry has encountered a new threat: Potato mop top virus, a pathogen that lives in soil and attacks the tuber, darkening the flesh and making potatoes unsellable. Mop top is spread by a protist, a fungus-like microorganism, that causes a disease called powdery scab which blemishes valuable tubers as it infects neighboring plants.

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Potatoes USA: Total retail dollar sales increased by 15.5% in third marketing quarter

IRI data for the third quarter of the marketing year (January – March 2020) showed growth in both dollars and volume for total potato sales at retail, Potatoes USA says. Total dollar sales increased by 15.5% and volume increased by 15%. Every category increased in both dollar and volume sales except for deli-prepared sides. Fresh potato sales also increased in dollar and volume sales by 19.2% and 15%, respectively, with all potato types increasing in volume sales.

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AHDB Analysis: An in-depth look at the British potato processing market

The following in-depth analysis of the British potato processing market was prepared by Alex Cook at AHDB Potatoes. Over the course of the lockdown so far, processors have reportedly operated a lower output with reduced labour in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Many have opted to close certain product lines to reduce workloads. A continued loss in foodservice through to the end of the season is expected.

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Spudly Words: Quotes worth remembering from recent potato news reports

Dear PNT readers: During my daily (and often nightly) online searches to find sensible breaking news items to share with you here, I oftentimes come across sayings and words of such sheer eloquence and relevance to a specific topic at hand, that I believe these should be highlighted or underscored and repeated in some way or another. This article lists a handful of these quotations – and is my humble effort in doing just that. And since the COVID-19 crisis overshadows the news media at this time, all of the quotes below will be related to this reality that all of us are confronted with currently.

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‘The European potato world is upside down’: NEPG paints a dark picture of the current and future European situation

The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says that the foodservice demand for potato products in Europe has dropped by 50 to 60%, and the export markets have lost its potential as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It says the global potato processing industry has reduced production capacity everywhere. More than 2 million tons of raw product will most likely not be processed in Europe. This is the first time in recent history that processors have to back down on contracts. The world is upside down, the NEPG says in its press release

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PlanetPotato podcast: Celebrity encounters and news of a global competition

The second episode of PlanetPotato, the new podcast from the team that brings you World Potato Markets, has just dropped and is now available to download via Buzzsprout, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Listeners can be beguiled by tales of showbiz connections facilitated by potatoes (including Lauren Bacall), and hear how they can enter the Potato Photographer of the Year competition. Plus we pay a visit to the USA, as Red River Farm Network’s Carah Hart paints a picture of the current potato situation in North Dakota.

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McDonald’s Canada launches ‘Fries For Good’ initiative for COVID-19 relief and other efforts

McDonald’s Canada today announced Fries For Good, a nationwide initiative to support COVID-19 relief efforts and other recent Canadian tragedies. From May 8-21, 2020, McDonald’s Canada will donate a portion of the proceeds from all fries sold in Canada to the Canadian Red Cross, supporting the Canadian Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund, the Nova Scotia Stronger Together Fund, and disaster response and preparedness work across Canada. Fries For Good is also a way for McDonald’s Canada to continue its unwavering support for Canadian farmers.

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Potato power: Potatoes serve high quality plant protein that helps to maintain women’s muscles

Researchers from McMaster University have found that the potato, primarily known as a starchy vegetable, can be a source of high-quality protein that helps to maintain muscle. The findings, reported in the journal Nutrients, highlight the potential benefits of what is considered a non-traditional source of protein, particularly as dietary trends change and worldwide demand has increased for plant-based alternatives to animal-derived sources. This study provides evidence that the quality of proteins from plants can support muscle.

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Britain’s AHDB announces extended marketing campaign and trade portal to help shift spuds

AHDB released plans for an extended consumer marketing campaign, and a portal to help put the growers and buyers of potatoes in touch. AHDB says it is increasing consumer marketing activity for the year ahead, with a lockdown boost through social media, advertising, promotion via catch-up TV and activity within retail outlets. A trade portal will be launched this week where wholesale potato buyers and merchants can post requirements for potatoes, and growers can post available stocks.

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A world-only? Mr Potato Head in Rhode Island now “COVID-correct” with face mask and all…

If there is something that can be said for certain about potato lovers around the world, it is that they all passionately care not only about their favourite veggie, but most often about each other’s welfare. This simple truth can be seen when you look at the loving care bestowed on the Mr Potato Head statue at the Clements’ Marketplace in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He now (dutifully) wears a face mask – signifying the realities of the times we live in today.

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Focus on biostimulants: Keep potato crops stress free with ‘Bridgeway’

Keeping potato crops stress free is not an easy job for growers, particularly when one considers the key growth periods of June through to August are also potentially some of the most stressful for the crop, with temperature and drought stress being particularly prevalent. Interagro’s Bridgeway biostimulant product is said to offer the possibility of reducing stress by improving root health and by increasing the rate of photosynthesis.

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NPC CEO on COVID-19 and its impact on the potato industry

The Eye on Potatoes Podcast is brought to you by the National Potato Council. This is the place to tune in for conversations with growers and thought leaders on advocacy, production and all things potatoes. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles and Eye on Potatoes host Lane Nordlund sat down during this podcast to discuss the latest on COVID-19, its impact on the potato industry, the government response, and how NPC and its state partners are supporting growers in this unprecedented time.

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Medius Ag announces expanded agricultural data management services, new Director of Business Development

Agricultural data management company Medius Ag is announcing the expansion of its software solutions to a broader range of commodities around the globe through the launch of its new platform, Medius.Re. Medius Ag is also announcing the addition of Ryan Krabill as the company’s Director of Business Development. Mr. Krabill, a 15-year veteran of U.S. agriculture and early collaborator with Medius Ag, will manage outreach to other commodities around the globe from his office in Denver, Colorado.

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Breakthrough: US potato industry welcomes $50 million USDA purchase of potatoes

The National Potato Council today welcomed USDA’s announcement of a $50 million surplus potato purchase to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The potato purchase, the largest of all the specialty crop purchases, was part of a $470 million Section 32 food purchase announced by USDA. This purchase is in addition to those previously announced by USDA.

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Support for British potato growers: Tesco commits to now sell chipping varieties as part of its ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range

More potatoes will hit shelves from this week to meet soaring demand. UK potato growers who have been left with surplus stock because of the closure of restaurants and fast food outlets are being given a helping hand by Tesco. The closure of restaurants, pubs and many fast food outlets has left a major surplus of particular varieties that are made into chips, which potato growers cannot now easily sell on. Now Tesco has teamed up with potato supplier Branston to take these potatoes that were previously destined for the catering trade.

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WPC: COVID-19 pandemic halts global trade of rice and cereals, creating a food security challenge

“COVID-19 has shaken the whole world impacting society and the global economy. The frozen potato products value chain has been confronted with a true drama, says the President and CEO of World Potato Congress Inc, Romain Cools. The socio-economic problems created by this in Western Europe and parts of North America will be minor compared to the likelihood of food insecurity and famine in many developing countries, Mr Cools says. The major suppliers of the global staples of rice and cereals, China, Vietnam and Russia, have stopped exports. Many poorer parts of the world that depend on imports of rice and cereals, will be confronted with food shortages and rising prices.

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‘A season when dreams die’ – Coronavirus cuts into global french fry demand

For farmer Mike Pink, spring is supposed to be a time of hope, when he can survey a green field of young potato plants and anticipate the bounty to be pulled from the sandy soils of the Columbia Basin. Hal Bernton, Associated Press reports. This year, this is a season when dreams die. Due to an epic potato glut that imploded his market, he has decided to do what was once unthinkable — destroy part of his crop rather than sink more dollars into cultivation. By early April, potato processors had decided to reduce their contracted acreage by about 20 percent, according to Chris Voigt of the Washington Potato Commission.

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US: AgweekTV – Planting progress, coronavirus and custom combiners, potato donation, ag recovery outlook

In this week’s on AgweekTV full show for May 2 – 3, 2020: Planting is progressing better than expected and better than last year here in the Western Corn Belt. The coronavirus crisis is causing big challenges for custom combiners. Lamb Weston, RDO Frozen donate potatoes to the Great Plains Food Bank – which were meant originally for area restaurants. And ag economist Dr. David Kohl discusses how agriculture will recover from COVID-19.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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