French fries are one of the world’s favorite foods, with global consumption in the 10s of billions of pounds annually. Join the team at Farther Farms for a live Clubhouse chat on June 17 with industry experts to learn how the product we love is made, how it makes it to your plate, and areas of opportunity they see for growth in French fries globally.
At the sharp end of the season, potato maincrops might be increasing or decreasing in value by as much as £100/ha/day as yields increase and segment proportions change, writes Mike Abram in this article published by Farmers Weekly in the UK. Harvest too early and yields are unlikely to be maximised; harvest too late and a higher proportion of the crop might be oversized and subject to a lower price.
Webinar: How to use artificial intelligence to quickly analyze data related to potato bruising and browning
During an upcoming webinar a team of researchers at JADBio will demonstrate how they applied the company’s Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) solution to quickly analyze a complex set of data during a recent project with different potato varieties. The researchers were able to successfully predict potatoes’ susceptibility to bruising as well as the potato samples’ potential for coloration during chip/crisp processing. The webinar will be presented by experts at JADBio, in partnership with Potato News Today. It is titled: “How to employ Automated Machine Learning to Predict the Best Quality Potato Chip/Crisp”.
In a first for Soil Scout in the UK, the company reports that Meijer Potato have recently installed Soil Scout sensors in various key locations around the country. This is the first growing season that Meijer will be monitoring underground soil conditions in their fields and Soil Scout is extremely proud that they have chosen the Soil Scout solution to provide this highly beneficial data.
In an effort to increase agricultural productivity and limit waste, a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment developed a method to detect signs of stress before potato plants are damaged. By employing genetic engineering, the team introduced a new gene coded to a fluorescent protein that reports the level of reactive ‘oxygen specieses’ – highly reactive molecules whose accumulation signifies stress responses.
Over three decades, Tasmanian-based business Agronico has shifted its focus from an agriculture consultancy business to all things mini tubers and seed potatoes. The business is always aiming to improve and is currently working on a five-year plan to enhance customer experience, while offering world-class procedures and facilities for seed potato storage.
Syngenta in the UK recently published its annual agronomy advice guide with tips and recommendations suited for potato growers in the UK. Some of the topics discussed in the guide include: Soil pest management, nematicide stewardship, seed and soil pathogens, maintaining blight protection, biostimulant benefit from Syngenta science research, and more.
A Lincolnshire farmer believes many in the industry are ignoring valuable research into how best to protect crops from extreme weather conditions and are losing millions of pounds as a result. Marcus Palmer is the sole UK distributor of Algifol, a seaweed-based biostimulant. Marcus says recent unexpected frosts, combined with almost no rainfall in April, will have had a drastic effect on many growers, who rely solely on chemical fertilisers.
Omya UK Ltd has launched InCa Plus, an advanced foliar treatment for brassicas, leafy greens and root vegetables, which delivers higher marketable yield for farmers. It has been proven in multiple independent trials to optimise calcium mobility in crops, including potatoes. In over 200 trials on potatoes globally, Inca Plus delivered an average 1.5 t/ha increase in marketable yields.
Rising temperatures resulting from climate change is exposing more potato crops to the damaging extremes of heat stress more frequently. A study of trends has shown it is temperate climates, including the UK, that are bearing the brunt of some of the extremes in weather changes. However, analysing weather data on a more local level can indicate crops that are most at risk of heat stress, and how to adapt agronomy to cope, advocates Syngenta Head of Technical, Dave King.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the levy board which represents farmers, growers and others in the supply chain in the UK announced yesterday it is winding down significant activities on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors. AHDB says it wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors. The board says in a statement it is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain.
The Rhizoctonia threat: British potato growers advised on control measures after cold and dry spring
During April 2021 the UK experienced cold and dry conditions which haven’t been seen in some years. Moving into May, much of the country has received – or is about to receive – some much needed rain, together with an increase in temperatures. Earlier-planted crops may now be ready to crack above the soil surface. Rhizoctonia solani will be a threat to watch out for especially early in the season.
A new report indicates the pyrethroid sensitivity of two important aphid virus vectors. Sue Cowgill, AHDB Crop Protection Senior Scientist (Pests) in the UK looks at what the results mean for potato growers. Sue writes that these days, growers have access to fewer modes of action to control insect pests. Concerns that this encourages the emergence of resistance are recognised in the Draft National Action Plan for the sustainable use of pesticides. While this may eventually deliver a comprehensive strategy for insecticide resistance management; in the short term, we have to use the information and insecticides that are available now.
Canadian potato growers and scouts can now find three online scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields throughout this season. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada magazine hosted a webinar series with Dr. Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Dr. Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.
Many growers in the UK experienced an April to rival one of the driest on record (1938 and 1974 both saw less than 15mm of rain on average in the UK). Potato growers have been planting into dry and also colder soil conditions than what is ideally preferred for this time of year. The dry cold soil will add to the pressures of timely weed control add another dimension to the challenges of good crop establishment this season.
Proper crop nutrition, taking into consideration the critical demand timings of the essential nutrients and proper application mechanics, can help to ensure the high yielding high quality potatoes that growers are looking for and the high quality that processors and consumers are demanding. This webinar on Tuesday May 11, will offer physiologically based suggestions on the best crop nutrition applications for the best potato crop. The webinar will be moderated by Spudman managing editor Zeke Jennings, and is sponsored by YARA North America.
A two-year project funded through the University of Wisconsin-Water Resources Institute is investigating an interseeding cultivation method for potato cropping that shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching. Researcher Kevin Masarik from UW-Stevens Point is pursuing what he termed an outside-the-box idea – interseeding rye, oat and millet between the rows of potatoes to create biomass to take up excess nitrates.
Valmont to acquire Prospera, creating world’s largest vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture
US-based Valmont Industries, known for its irrigation equipment solutions, including Valley Irrigation, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prospera Technologies Inc. an Israeli-based AI company. The transaction will create the largest global, vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture. Using the pivot as the digital data hub, this solution brings demonstrated, advanced agronomy to the field enabling the grower to take immediate action to remediate issues.
AHDB’s Fight Against Blight programme started in 2004 and since then ‘blight scouts’ have sent in over 10,000 samples of potentially blight infested potato plants for genotyping. Each year the results are published because knowing the location of outbreaks and the dominant genotypes, allows for better prevention of the disease. This has been particularly valuable when genotypes behave differently to the norm, for example if they are insensitive to a certain treatment, or if they aggressively reproduce more quickly than typical spray cycles.
BlightSpy is a tool for British growers and agronomists that can be used in their fight against late blight – it offers an eight-day blight forecast and more detail than its predecessor Blightwatch. Anne Stone, AHDB Knowledge Transfer Manager, Potatoes reports that the new tool allows users to monitor weather forecasts for the predicted occurrence of Hutton Criteria at over 669 carefully selected location points in Britain.
Agri-chemical company BASF has launched a new initiative to help UK growers unlock the potential – and the profits – of their potato crop. Titled, ‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’, the initiative provides a platform on which the potato industry can come together to share experience, know-how and passion for developing and perfecting healthy potato crops.
Plant scientists at the James Hutton Institute are studying the evolution of late blight in potato by working with industry and research partners to track the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in Europe in 2020, and have also contributed to a review into the development of the disease in Asia in the last 150 years, as part of global efforts to improve the sustainable production of healthy potato crops.
Yara has extensive crop nutrition knowledge created from more than 100 years of research and development in more than 150 countries around the world. To support the potato production industry in Eastern Canada, Yara’s expertise and findings of more than 40 local field trials done in 2020 have been brought together in one document: The Nutrition of Potatoes in Eastern Canada – 2021.
“Biologicals are tools for the sustainable agriculture of the future… Biologicals are a class of agricultural products that include biopesticides, biofertilizers, and biostimulants that are derived from natural materials, such as animals, plants, bacteria, or minerals,” writes Claude Flueckiger in this article published by AgoPages.
Seed potato producers are leaving no stone unturned to slow the proliferation of virus in British stocks, with straw mulches and mineral oils set to compliment systemic insecticides as part of a robust integrated pest management (IPM) strategy this year, write Rob Jones and Lucy de la Pasture in this in-depth article, published by crop production magazine (CPM).
Agronomy expert: ‘Doing nothing is not an option – whole systems approach needed to reduce potato virus’
Writes Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist at Scottish Agronomy: “We have sprayed ourselves into resistance, and we need to be bolder in adopting natural measures into pest management if we’re to secure the health and quality of seed potatoes in Great Britain. The prevalence of virus in seed stocks is challenging the industry and we are at a tipping point. It’s clear that insecticides are not doing the job on their own anymore and that we need to do something differently.”
Dewulf and Agrointelli have announced that they will be working together to explore the benefits of using autonomous machines in potato cultivation. This joint effort is triggered by a shared vision of broadening the possibilities for potato growers to implement new solutions for more sustainable, efficient, and robust production methods and technologies.
As the potato season edges closer, growers will be pondering herbicide programmes and asking which strategy is likely to deliver the greatest bang for their buck. Ken Fletcher, Editor of The Scottish Farmer writes that the first decision confronting growers will be whether to use metribuzin, or not? With it, weed control is almost always easier and less expensive, but the long list of varieties sensitive to this substance means many growers have to consider the alternatives.