Production/Agronomy

Multimillion dollar programme in New Zealand aims to provide growers with a nitrogen management tool

Sustainable Vegetable Systems (SVS) is a $7.5 million dollar multi-tiered research programme, funded by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, led and co-funded by Potatoes New Zealand in collaboration with the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board and Horticulture NZ. SVS provides the data and subsequent modelling of vegetable nutrient uptake and nitrogen leaching. Potatoes New Zealand recently uploaded three videos on its YouTube channel to explain the SVS programme goals and activities.

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Study in Canada’s Alberta province looking at rapid detection and early diagnosis of potato diseases

Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) recently announced a project to establish a system for early and rapid diagnosis of all potato diseases, and provide Alberta potato growers a proactive surveillance platform. The outcomes from this project will benefit all Alberta’s potato producers and plant disease researchers. All results of this study will be publicly available for adoption and utilization by other commercial and research labs in the province.

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‘Our second-worst year in 80 years’, says Canadian potato farmer

Variable precipitation had an impact on this year’s potato crop in southwestern Ontario province in Canada, especially if the operator didn’t have irrigation. At Brenn-B Farms in Waterdown, co-owner Shawn Brenn reported that his 750-acre potato crop yield plummeted to about 9 tonnes per acre, down from the usual 15-17 tonnes, as Nelson Zandbergen reports for Farmers Forum.

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Sustainability: Nitrogen management in the spotlight for New Zealand’s potato and vegetable sectors

The so-called Sustainable Vegetable Systems Programme (SVS) in New Zealand is in its third year and is making great progress towards improving tools and guidelines for the country’s potato and vegetable sectors’ nitrogen management. Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes NZ says the organization is excited to enable a more sustainable approach to vegetable growing with positive impacts on environmental, economic and social outcomes.

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NEPG: Total 2022 production down 6%, planted acreage expected to go down in 2023

Production in the North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) member countries is said to be down by 6% this year compared to last year. Planted acreage is expected to go down in 2023 because of rising production and storage costs in the four member countries – Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands (EU-4). On average in the NEPG zone, between October 2021 and October this year, electricity prices have gone up on average by 280% (ranging from 50 to 500% increase).

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Australia ‘very likely’ to face potato shortage in coming months

It’s “very likely” Australia will face a potato shortage in coming months, the vice-president of horticulture at the Victorian Farmers’ Federation has warned. Kathryn Myers from the Victorian Farmers’ Federation says recent wet weather means farmers haven’t been able to plant potato crops. “It’s just not been possible to get tractors on the ground to work up our paddocks to put potatoes in,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell in an interview.

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A ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes: Can McCain’s hi-tech farm in Canada save french fries from the climate crisis?

Researchers are reportedly flocking to Canada’s New Brunswick province to test both cutting-edge and bygone methods of spud cultivation to meet a challenging future. McCain’s “Farm of the Future” in the province is one of a series of laboratories the company plans to roll out across the world as it tests what practices are best suited to saving potatoes, while cutting the company’s carbon emissions. The model farm feels like a little like ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes.

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Boost to organic production: USDA to invest $300 million in new Organic Transition Initiative

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment in a new Organic Transition Initiative that will help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. USDA says organic production allows producers to hold a unique position in the marketplace and thus take home a greater share of the food dollar.

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New Univ of Idaho Extension bulletin focuses on devastating potato disease – bacterial ring rot

University of Idaho Extension has published a new bulletin to help potato farmers recognize the symptoms of bacterial ring rot (BRR) and protect their operations from the devastating crop disease. UI Extension Seed Potato Specialist Kasia Duellman hopes the bulletin will remind commercial and seed potato farmers to maintain good sanitation practices and remain vigilant for symptoms. She warns ring rot “can be an existential crisis for a seed potato grower’s business”.

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Managing PCN: 6 key actions for success

Bayer Crop Science in the UK recently published an insightful article on its website, providing potato growers with advice on the management of potato cyst nematodes (PCN). According to information published in the article, the first step to effectively managing potato-cyst nematodes is to sample soils to identify the species present and the population density. This is best done after the potato crop is harvested when test results will be most accurate. Testing pre-planting is also a useful management tool.

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PepsiCo Chairman on Positive Agriculture strategy: ‘An incredible start to our transformation journey’

“I’m excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of pep+,” says Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief CEO at PepsiCo in a LinkedIn post earlier today. “It’s been an incredible start to our transformation journey,” Laguarta posts. PepsiCo Positive (pep+) launched just over one year ago. PepsiCo’s sustainability leaders across the globe share what they learned during the first year of the company’s end-to-end transformation in a news article published on the PepsiCo website earlier today.

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INTERPOM 2022 to feature innovations in the potato industry, seminars on climate change, crop protection and sustainability

INTERPOM 2022 will take place on 27, 28 & 29 of November and will once again be the ultimate international meeting place in Kortrijk Xpo (Belgium) for all professionals involved in the potato sector, according to the organizers. The event theme, ‘Towards healthy growth’, is all about cultivation methods, land use, growing in a socially responsible way, but also about sustainable transport and processing, autonomous energy use and sustainable water management.

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Cost of farm inputs in Britain soars ‘eye-watering’ 34% in a year

Farm input inflation has reached unprecedented levels in Great Britain, with seven out of nine categories seeing double-digit cost increases in the past year, threatening the viability of many farm businesses. As Philip Clarke reports for Farmers Weekly, latest figures from the country’s largest buying group, AF, show that, in the 12 months to September 2022, the cost of farm inputs went up by an “eye-watering” 34%.

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PepsiCo launches new online video series, showcasing regenerative agriculture initiatives

PepsiCo last week announced the continuation of its global agriculture accelerator, the Positive Agriculture Outcomes (PAO) Fund, by granting 14 business projects across 11 countries funding to address some of the most intractable challenges facing agriculture today. Projects from the PAO Fund’s inaugural investment are the focus of PepsiCo’s latest, four-part digital video series, “Growing Our Future.”

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High-cost Idaho potato harvest is a wrap, french fry processors to pay farmers 20% more

The end of the Idaho potato harvest was in view when DTN/Progressive Farmer visited Russell Paterson’s farm not far from Burley, Idaho, a community on the Snake River in south-central Idaho and about 40 miles east of Twin Falls. The Idaho native has been in the potato business for 55 years, growing the crop and leasing land to other growers. Dan Miller, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor reports in this news article.

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Canadian crop update: Harvest wrapping up with variable yields reported across the country

Potato harvest is in the final stages across Canada, according to United Potato Growers of Canada’s final Crop Update for the season. Most provinces have enjoyed excellent harvest conditions without the high temperatures experienced in early September nor the wet conditions of early spring. Yields have been variable across the country, and even between regions within provinces, with overall production estimated to be slightly lower than 2021.

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Potato yields declined by 15 percent in Ireland

Potato yields have declined year on year by approximately 10 to 15% in 2022, Teagasc has confirmed. “In some areas the fall-off in yield has been significantly greater than 15%,” said Shay Phelan, Teagasc potato specialist. “In these cases, the combined impact of the dry weather, lighter soils and little or no access to irrigation systems have all come into play.”

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Idaho potatoes, hurt by smoky skies in wildfire season, give researchers clues to crops’ climate future

As increasing heat makes fire seasons longer and more intense, a team of scientists is looking to this U.S. state to see what might happen to potato yields – and their findings could have huge implications for North America’s food supply. The research group is midway through a two-year study designed to tease out how smoke affects everything from the size of a potato tuber to its chemical composition, from its durability in storage to the colour of the French fries it yields.

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Hot potato! Canadian research into heat-tolerant potatoes builds on award-winning study

Helping producers find potato varieties that are more resistant to the potential disruption to growth caused by extreme heat is critical for ensuring the sustainability and profitability of potato production in Canada. Recognizing this need, Dr. Xiu-Qing Li, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist has been studying heat-stress in potatoes for years, leading to a number of breakthroughs in recent years.

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Targeted fertiliser application: Stocks AG’s rotor meter saves Jersey Royal Company £300,000

In the last six years, one of the UK’s leading potato growers has saved over £300,000 through an unconventional but highly effective use of Stocks AG’s Rotor Meter. In 2020 Stocks AG developed the i-CON system to control and maintain pre-set application rates and subsequently fitted it to The Jersey Royal Company’s machines. Further reductions in fertiliser use followed.

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Largest grant in Univ of Idaho history to incentivize climate-smart agriculture

University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is set to receive up to $55 million — the largest award in the university’s history — to help Idaho farmers and ranchers combat climate change through agricultural practices. U of I’s grant will directly benefit more than 100 Idaho farmers and ranchers. Research will focus on the state’s staple commodities, such as potatoes, beef, sugar, wheat, barley, hops and chickpeas. The grant will drive climate-smart practices on about 10% of Idaho’s active cropland.

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Microbiome project: Tools to optimize potato microbiome could reduce the use of agrochemicals

A project aimed at developing new tools to predict and optimize potato plant growth by mapping the microorganisms living on seed potatoes has been awarded 940.000 Euro in funding. A promising strategy to reduce the use of these agrochemicals, is to optimize the composition of beneficial microorganisms living on the plant. These microorganisms support growth and strength, creating a natural defense mechanism for potato plants.

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Idaho potato acreage and yields down for 2022-2023 crop

Potato acreage is down and yields are relatively low in Idaho. “Growers aren’t feeling very positive about their yields – they’re looking to be lower,” Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato told FreshPlaza’s Astrid Van Den Broek. Wahlen says there’s no doubt that the market on average this year will be higher than last year. “And potentially we could see the peak season pricing be higher than last year,” he says.

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Royal Avebe’s fertilisation strategy said to help potato growers achieve ‘significantly higher starch yields’

Due to the current scarcity of fertilizers, the ‘red areas’ and the increasing production costs, efficient nitrogen fertilization is becoming increasingly important. Patrick Riek, account manager at Royal Avebe, has full confidence in a nitrogen-reduced fertilization strategy for good cultivation and fertilization advice, as the company notes in a recent news release.

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Idaho potato crop showing ‘high quality but smaller sizing’

Eagle Eye Produce, based in Idaho, had been harvesting new crop potatoes for several weeks before beginning harvest for its storage supplies the week after Labor Day. While it is still too early to know the overall projection for the crop, early indications are for high-quality spuds with smaller overall sizing and a bit lower yield

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